By opposing fossil-fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear power, they help keep a third of the world reliant on wood and animal dung – or if they’re lucky, little solar panels on their huts. Deprived of energy for lights, refrigeration, hospitals, schools, offices, factories and safe water, they remain impoverished, plagued by disease and despondent about their future. Intense environmentalist opposition to biotechnology prevents Third World farmers from planting crops that resist disease and drought, require fewer pesticides, and yield bumper harvests that would reduce malnutrition and put cash in the pockets of destitute families.
The worst cabal of pressure groups remains virulently opposed to spraying tiny amounts of DDT on walls to keep mosquitoes out of houses, and using other insecticides to kill blood-sucking insects that carry malaria, dengue and yellow fever, and a host of other killer diseases. A year ago, the World Health Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development, President’s Malaria Initiative and other agencies again recognized the vital role of these chemicals – and reintroduced them in their comprehensive, integrated disease control programs. But Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Physicians for Social Responsibility demand that the agencies return to the disastrous policies of recent years, when disease and death rates were rising every year.
The activists and foundations had watched the tolls mount, but did nothing. They knew the approach they advocated didn’t work, but did nothing. They could have supported research into alternatives to DDT, or even bought bednets to protect children, but didn’t spend a dime on that. They spend millions to attack insecticides, and truly comprehensive solutions, but nothing to protect parents and children.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Rachel Carson and the abolition of DDT wasn't the only big killer inflicted on the developing world by environmental fundamentalism.