Debate moderated by Grant Runyon

Illustrated by Jamie Leigh O’Neill

Some issues in the world today are so divisive that it’s only fair to present both sides of an argument. This helps the undecided public make up its mind, so as a responsible publisher, Gallery Magazine is obliged to seek out the most educated, reasonable voices to illuminate our readership. Unfortunately those people were busy, so we thought it would still do the job if we commissioned some choice rants from the sort of people who get banned from commenting on news articles.

For the benefit of our readers we wound them up, sat them in an uncomfortable room and gave them 500 words each to convince you that they’re right about everything related to the environment. In the green corner is Rupert Namaste, a vegan juggler and dog psychic who lives in a yurt. He wants to secure a sustainable future for our Island by rejecting modern technology in favour of compost-based medicine and a version of Mouse Trap woven from twigs. His opponent is Toby Gammon-Smythe, Bitcoin investor, professional video game streamer and aspiring cyborg. He believes in free speech for men with neckbeards, subsidised TED talks and vaping as a human right.

Food and agriculture: could Jersey go all-organic?

Rupert: Jersey cannot continue to stuff itself on imported hot dogs from the UK whilst dumping so many chemicals in our soil that the water in St Ouen would get you banned from the Tour de France for drinking it. We urgently need to phase out plastic packaging, soft drinks, Fray Bentos meat pies and slap a 200% tax on imported vegetables. Then, we can plough this money into organic farming instead of ploughing our fields full of genetically-modified organisms designed by evil multinational corporations to block the toilets at Glastonbury. I believe we can feed ourselves without damaging the earth – my children, Mandela and Kumquat, have lived on a kale and hemp seed based diet since 2008 and have survived every winter. There’s no reason we can’t all do the same.

Toby: The idea that we could feed this entire Island through organic farming is a fantasy. We don’t have the space to grow the essentials that modern people like to eat, like avocados, Monster energy drink and crème brûlée. It already infuriates me that the government taxes our food imports, so I’ve been importing a biohacked nutrient slurry from California instead of fresh food. I save hours a day that would otherwise be wasted waiting for pizza deliveries, and meet all my nutritional needs with just six servings of strawberry-flavoured brown paste – with a bare minimum of rectal bleeding. I say we should genetically engineer potatoes, bananas and whatever Quorn is made from, until they grow like nettles across our useless countryside and our biggest danger is eating ourselves to death. I’d also like to see new potatoes that have been engineered to glow in the dark, and a cow with udders that produce artisan gin.

Traffic and travel: can we leave the parish without increasing our carbon footprint?

RupertOur roads are choked with Chelsea tractors and unnecessary Lamborghinis. The only thing stopping more people from being run over is the speed of the traffic. Very soon our air will be no cleaner than the inside of the Mount Bingham tunnel, and Jersey people generate a disproportionate amount of pollution around the world through our addiction to low-cost flights. This could be addressed immediately with an “empty seat tax” on any vehicle larger than a unicycle, which would end both one-person commuter journeys and Jersey Lifts. The “two on a moped rule” would only be the first step to a complete ban on fossil fuel, with cars replaced with bicycles – including a fleet of giant pedal buses to transport the old and infirm. Non-essential flights would be restricted to a two hour airport slot on Tuesday mornings, which would encourage everybody to think twice before booking a ticket. The alternative to jet travel will be Jersey’s first carbon neutral ferry – made possible because each seat comes with an oar and you’re the source of power.

Toby: Public transport is old hat – the only reason we have traffic problems is because the cars are under inefficient human control. A network of driverless Google cars would accelerate Jersey into the 21st Century, and we could eliminate dust and smoke by cutting the red tape that currently prevents the manufacture of Land Rovers with onboard nuclear reactors. Like my opponent I too would reduce the number of aeroplane flights – until teleportation stops blowing up my test subjects it’s more sensible for us to build monorails between here and France, as well as London, Madeira and Amsterdam. The effects of fossil fuel consumption on the planetary environment are no joke – so we should conserve aviation fuel for the rockets needed to transport us to the Mars colony.

Healthcare and medicine: is Jersey too dependent on medical science?

Rupert: I hope to convince the people of the Island that the money earmarked for our new hospital would be better spent on a programme of intravenous juice cleanses and a crystal vibration lodge. We need to understand that every illness is first an illness of the mind, and that it’s possible for us to defeat measles and herpes alike with the power of positive thinking. Jersey shouldn’t be spending money on unproven “vaccines” developed by so-called “doctors” when it’s possible to learn online about making your own remedies from crushed flowers and bees’ dicks. Maybe if there wasn’t a plot by Big Pharma to force their products on us, the kind of medicine I prefer wouldn’t cost $250 to mail order from Hong Kong and Kumquat would still have her own teeth. We should stop supporting these global health monopolists until they agree to come clean and reveal the links between Colgate Toothpaste and the CIA mind control programme. I won’t pay taxes for healthcare until it provides trepanning and past life regression.

Toby: Conventional medicine is yesterday’s news, but alternative medicine isn’t even news, it’s mumbo jumbo. I put my faith in science, and exciting new developments in market-driven disruptive healthcare. I’m passionate about the bleeding edge idea that we’re all more than capable of living to 200 – as long as we receive regular infusions of blood plasma harvested from healthy people in their early 20s. Millennials are always complaining they can’t find reliable work, so I’d put them to work producing the cells that will enable the rest of us to work into our 80s. As well as importing nano-machines that repair our organs and the latest advancements in gene therapy, I would also legalise cryogenic storage and experimental smart drugs that will remove our need to sleep. All of these will enable Jersey people to live more productive lives, and an additional benefit is if you don’t need space for a bed, and can store Grandma in the freezer until you need her at Christmas, our housing problems also solve themselves. Debate over!