Thursday, December 15, 2005

Environmental Killers

This column jogged my memory about some research I did for a paper back in college.

This issue is perhaps the prime example of the irresponsibility of the so-called environmental movement. To clarify, I say "so-called" because I am not referring to the majority of people who want to do their part to clean up after themselves, breath clean air, swim in clean rivers, and the like. Instead I am referring to the idiots that simultaneously oppose the use of oil (pollution), coal (pollution), nuclear (dangerous), hydro (fish can't easily get past the dams), and even wind energy (birds get chopped up by the windmills), and then have the nerve to complain about gas or home heating prices.

In reality, if they truly got what they wanted, energy prices would shoot up so high and become such an economic drag on the economy that we would quickly lose our status as the world's largest economy (if you don't think so, consider a hurricane-caused momentary disruption in gasoline and natural gas supplies in the Gulf Coast region, which supplies 25% of those two products, and change momentary to permanent and 25% to 100%).

But I'm getting away from the original story.

The column referred to in the first paragraph of this post was about a life-saving chemical known as DDT. In the early 20th century, malaria took millions of human lives every year. DDT arose as the perfect solution for getting rid of the mosquitoes that carried malaria. Heavy DDT use around the world soon cut down the deaths from malaria each year from the millions to the thousands.

Then the so-called environmentalists showed up. A lady named Rachel Carson wrote a book called "Silent Spring" in 1962 that drummed up fear about the possible effects of DDT. The evidence? Bird eggs near rivers with nearby heavy DDT use were found to have thinner shells, which was having a detrimental effect on the bird population.

Now, a reasonable person would say, "OK, lets see if we can use less DDT so as to have less or no effect on the birds." But environmentalism never does anything half-way.

Soon a Congressional investigation was underway. Despite overwhelming evidence that DDT has absolutely no detrimental effect to humans, Congress banned the production and use of DDT. Some other countries did the same. Soon the poorer countries that needed DDT the most did not have the capabilities to kill the mosquitoes, and malaria deaths skyrocketed again.

Perhaps the most disturbing was some environmentalists, who also feared a population explosion (predictions were made that the world population would max out somewhere like 4 billion because food production would not be able to keep up with population growth), knew the DDT ban was killing millions in third-world countries and yet justified it as de-facto population control.

Since the banning of DDT, over 50 million people world-wide have died of malaria. With effective DDT use, there is no reason that number should be greater than 1 million.

Today, 2-3 million die of malaria each year. USAID (the US Agency for International Development) spend millions each year on mosquito netting and medical care to fight malaria, but will not spend a penny on DDT.

How long will Americans stay either ignorant or unmoved by this unnecessary massacre?

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