I think the author is as guilty of romanticism as the people he criticises. To see technology and industrialisation as altogether benign is to ignore the delterious effects it has had on individuals, societies and the environment over time and to romanticise its benevolent effects. This is not to advocate a retreat from industrialisation but to suggest that a more measured view of industrial progress should be taken,rather than the dewy eyed vesion he promulgates in this short essay.
However having briefly googled the author and his think tank they are a group that delight in throwing cats among pigeons, and that is something I delight in because it leads us to question some of our assumptions and that can only be a good thing.
Rather than a benign view, I felt Lind was holding technology and 'responsible' industrial growth with a clear and robust eye - viewing the necessity of good productivity and economic growth as a means of reducing worldwide poverty. His comment reduce poverty to conserve the environment made sense to me.
Quite how or if that will evolve remains to be seen.
In countries where development has raised the vast majority of people out of extreme poverty (notably, "the west"), people are using technology to repair damage to the environment and putting their ingenuity into finding ways to prevent further damage. In countries where people don't have ready access to water, decent housing, schools, health care, their priorities are, and must be, to reduce poverty by any means possible. I think that's what he's talking about: you need a certain level of development before you can begin to worry about the environment outside of people's basic human needs.
Good, thought-provoking article Bags. There were a few sentences that made for uncomfortable reading, which I'm sure he intended, especially the digs at those of us who romanticise speclalised food production.