Mark Lynas Interviewed in Yale 360

October 19, 2011 | Alex Trembath,


Yale 360 published an interview this week with Mark Lynas, environmental journalist and author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, which was released this past summer. Breakthrough's book review of The God Species is available here.

Lynas has become well known for his about-face on certain environmental issues like nuclear power, genetically modified agriculture, and geoengineering. In the interview, Lynas discusses his conversion, and why he feels traditional environmental opposition to these technologies is irrational and dangerous.

Lynas criticizes the anti-nuclear activists that he used to align with, lambasting them for spreading fear and demonizing a technology that can play a significant role in humanity's efforts to mitigate climate change. "Our assessments of risk are way skewed when it comes to nuclear power," says Lynas, lamenting that "we allow irrationality to dictate policymaking."

On GMOs, Lynas recalls his early adherence to environmental dogmas, before he researched the issue and learned that "there hasn't been a single GMO-related health issue over a decade of research and testing, [and] environmentally GMOs have been beneficial."

Lynas praises the work of Stewart Brand and his book Whole Earth Discipline for convincing him to come out of the closet and embrace these technologies that have become pariahs in the environmental community. Brand attended this summer's Breakthrough Dialogue in San Francisco, where he shared similar views on risk exaggeration and rational technology use. 

The research and writing of Lynas and Brand is encouraging. Instead of dogmatically rejecting essential technologies, they look at the issues holistically and rationally, and embrace an agenda that prioritizes human development and dignity on an ecologically vibrant planet.

Click here to read the entire interview with Lynas at Yale 360.