Two startling new reports illustrate how policies advanced by radical environmentalists have resulted in the deaths of tens of millions, and may yet result in the deaths of millions more.
A recent article by blogger Doctor Zero, titled "The Green Death," opens with a very bold statement: "Who is the worst killer in the long, ugly history of war and extermination? Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Not even close. A single book called Silent Spring killed far more people than all those fiends put together."
For those not familiar, Silent Spring was written in 1962 by Rachel Carson, a biologist and writer who worked for many years at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Her book is now widely recognized as a major catalyst for today's environmental movement. It railed against the widespread usage of DDT, a chemical agent used commonly and in great overkill quantities against malarial mosquitoes back then.
In great part due to Ms. Carson's book, in which she pushed for a worldwide ban on DDT over the damage it could cause to the environment, it was eventually banned in the US and then worldwide after some questionable political maneuvering in Washington. The EPA held numerous hearings on DDT after the uproar caused by Silent Spring, yet eventually ruled that the substance should not be banned. In what he later labeled a political decision, then-EPA Administrator William Ruckleshaus overruled his own agency and implemented a complete ban of DDT. Other nations were then pressured by Washington to follow suit by way of threats of the withholding of American foreign aid to those nations which refused to comply. The worldwide ban has been in effect ever since.
As Doctor Zero explains at length in his article, the malaria death rates in Africa skyrocketed after the ban, claiming over sixty million lives since. Three thousand men, women and children die each day in Africa from malaria, over a million each year. In the decades since Silent Spring, the resultant public uproar and eventual DDT ban by the EPA, many scientists, public health authorities and international agencies have been revisiting the subject of DDT given its effectiveness. DDT remains even today the world's most effective anti-malarial agent. Decades of scientific research since the ban have established that low quantities of DDT, applied sparingly to mosquito breeding grounds, poses minimal health risks and represents the most effective means of combating the intractable and fatal pandemic of malaria in Africa. Yet European Union authorities have threatened Uganda that if it uses DDT in their country in any quantity to combat malaria, the EU will impose crippling sanctions on the impoverished African nation.
Why? When so many in science and public health are saying that minimal usage of DDT would pose small risk and reap great rewards in saved lives? According to this report from IPN, the answer is as simple as it is disturbing. Environmental groups with significant political power in Europe are pressuring EU politicians to keep the DDT ban alive. So despite what we now know about DDT nearly fifty years post-ban as to the risk/benefit factor, radical environmentalists still oppose DDT usage under any and all circumstances. But why? What is the basis in reason, logic, science and basic humanity to condemn millions more African men, women and children to agonizing deaths by malaria? Why the unreasonable and stubborn resistance to DDT by environmentalist groups, given all the updated scientific evidence on its safety and efficacy?
Our next subject on potentially self-destructive environmentalist policies involves biofuels. A new Big Journalism report, "Unintended Consequences: Battling Climate Change Creates Famine" by Rich Trzupek, a chemist and environmental advocate who helped craft USEPA test methods and regulations, describes how the biofuel industry has caused the world's Food Price Index to double between 2000 and 2010, and its potentially catastrophic effect on poorer nations that can't afford the increases:
While Americans and citizens of other industrialized nations may be able to absorb that kind of price increase, the poor living in the Third World cannot. Tragic cases of starvation like the ones Monckton witnessed in pre-earthquake Haiti are hardly unique. Dwindling, more expensive food supplies have led to an increasing number of food riots around the world. More and more people are dying, simply because they can not afford basic sustenance. How could this happen?
Mr. Trzupek goes on to describe how farmers are growing fewer crops for food and more to supply the biofuel industry. Since 1999, the amount of United States cropland used to grow basic food commodities, other than corn and soybeans used in biofuels, has decreased by over 22 million acres. Currently, over ten percent of all world grain production, equivalent to 100 million metric tons, now goes to biofuel production. That number is expected to double by 2018. Ironically, the rush to biofuel production has not only resulted in the displacement of millions, but extreme damage to ecosystems that such policies were designed to preserve. Also, a great deal of conventional fossil fuels are required to produce biofuels. Even the reduced emissions biofuels are professed to result in through conventional usage have also come into question.
In summation, the production of biofuels has to date resulted in displaced millions, destroyed ecosystems and questionable emissions reductions. With rising populations, dwindling food crops and inflationary price jumps, you don't have to be a scientist to see the potential for human calamity. Food riots around the world are already on the rise. Here are some statistics from a 2008 food crisis report in Time magazine that should be surprising to those of us in the West to whom a food budget is minimal compared to other living expenses. Nigerian families spend 73% of their budgets on food. Vietnamese spend 65%. Indonesians half. Aggravating the crop production crisis even further is the complete shutdown of great swaths of San Joaquin Valley farmland, some of the richest in the world, over an environmental lawsuit to protect the delta smelt, a three-inch minnow. Farms are barren and unemployment is at 40% because the feds shut off 95% of the water supply. Even the Green Gov. Schwarzenegger is howling, saying that the feds are "putting the needs of fish over millions of Californians." The Wall Street Journal called the situation "A Man-Made Drought."
So why do radical environmentalist groups continue to pressure governments to advance these nonsensical, self-defeating and even suicidal policies when the dangers are there for all to see? What person of sound mind, reason and logic could consider all of this anything less than insanity? Must we destroy the human race in order to save the environment, which is in fact being ravaged in many places by biofuel production? It is bad enough that the flawed, debunked and increasingly discredited science of Anthropogenic Global Warming theory is being used to advocate the economic and regulatory enslavement of the free world. We can still all survive somehow under the higher taxes and draconian regulations of a Cap-and-Trade bill. It is quite another thing altogether to advocate policies that could not be more self-destructive to the human race, and even to the environment radical Greens so profess they wish to save. The question stands. Why?
The answer is plain to those who choose to see. Increasingly, the worldwide environmental movement is being driven by radicals who deal only in ideological absolutes. Despite new evidence to the contrary, they still oppose DDT usage in any quantity under any circumstances. Millions in Africa may die as a result, but their consciences are clear on the environmental bogeyman of DDT. Biofuels may not resolve emissions issues, and are even creating dire problems where none existed before, but that isn't stopping the UN from ramping up the growing crisis. And if you're a skeptic of Global Warming as I am, you already know of the unscientific response by radical Greens: being called a heretic on the order of a Holocaust denier, being fired from your government job, or being ostracized in the science community by populist radical Greens who now dominate in governments, business and universities. If you've forgotten, just read Tom Friedman's latest oped in the New York Times. You'll remember your place as a skeptic of AGW soon enough.
Even Green technology policies, though not as destructive as those involving DDT and biofuels, are costing us billions in failed and cost-inefficient energy systems and corruption, and may yet cost us trillions more as we race to implement Green technologies that are not fully developed, are vastly inefficient and far more expensive than conventional fossil fuels, while at the same time punishing those who do use conventional fuels through draconian taxes and regulations. The Green model of Spain, which President Obama seeks to emulate here in the US, is an abject failure. 2.2 jobs lost for every Green job created. Yet Obama is still going full Green speed ahead. The only ones that seem to benefit are the Greens and their political cronies.
This is not environmentalism. This is madness. It is also economic, societal and global suicide. So I ask again: why? No sane person, liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat, doesn't believe that we should not be responsible stewards of the earth, or seek to continue to improve Green technologies to minimize our impact on the environment and eventually wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. All of us want the same pristine planet for our descendants. But logic, reason, even science and basic humanity seem to be absent at the highest levels of these debates. The only elements that seem to be present are Green single-mindedness of purpose and vitriolic hostility toward anyone who even raises the subjects in troubling fashion. Why is that?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com