Britain’s best-known celebrity gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, has responded angrily to an accusation that he has “his head in the sand” about climate change.
The attack came from gardening writer John Walker in April’s Organic Gardening after he read February’s BBC Gardener’s World magazine.
In Gardener’s World, Titchmarsh said: “In short, climate change
is natural. The real news would
be if our climatic conditions remained static, but that wouldn’t sell newspapers.”
Walker replied: “Gardening, especially organic gardening, has so much to offer in terms of stemming and reversing environmental problems. I found this dismissal from our most high-profile celebrity gardener troubling and verging on reckless.”
In response, Titchmarsh told HW: “I do wish that when people took one to task over what one has said that they’d include the whole of one’s statement instead of just a portion. I’ve stated many times that our responsibility to the planet is paramount, and that we must take every precaution to avoid contributing to global warming with carbon dioxide and other chemical emissions. I have never, and will never, fly in the face of that.
Pointing out that he has been an organic gardener for 15 years, Titchmarsh said the future of the environment is at the core of what he does: “It is, in fact, why I do what I do. But I also listen to the findings of scientists who are by no means convinced that ‘global warming’ is solely due to man. Many warm tropical periods occurred between the ice ages due to our closer proximity to the sun.”
Global warming has occurred before, said Titchmarsh, when the blame could not be laid at the door of man. “Would I be better serving the environment if I did not mention this? I believe that a rational, honest and considered approach is the one most likely to get gardeners and others interested in the environment to respond in a positive and effective way.
“We should be taking measures to reduce our impact on climate but we cannot deny that other agencies outside our control are also involved. Uncomfortable as it might be for us to admit it, our climate has always been unstable. While we must do our best not to contribute to its future instability, some change is inevitable. Like it or not, that is the way of the world.
Adding that organic gardening is the most sensible approach to land management, and those with an environmental conscience should espouse its precepts, Titchmarsh said that to suggest that if we all become organic growers then all of our problems will go away is at best optimistic and at worst misleading.
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