Absolutely Disgusting

As I was logging on to Blogger today, something caught my eye: the latest Blogger Buzz (aka “something I usually ignore altogether but caught my eye for some reason).

They are calling it the “Environmental Blog Roundup,” and normally I would just ignore it as yet more global warming propaganda, but one particularly disgusting blog jumped out at me: the Rachel Carson Centennial Blog.

I have major problems with Rachel Carson. For anyone who doesn’t know, Rachel Carson was a marine biologist/environmentalist who is given credit for helping to start the modern enviro-wacko movement.

Carson’s defining work is a book called Silent Spring. In this book, she argues that pesticide use will inevitably lead to the deaths of animals, birds in particular, through a process called “bioaccumulation.” DDT was in widespread use across the United States in an attempt to wipe out malaria. One of the side-effects of DDT was the weakening of the shells of birds’ eggs. Carson argued that through bioaccumulation, birds would build up DDT in their systems, leaving their eggs constantly vulnerable to breakage, which would lead to the extinction of birds (hence the spring is silent).

The problem with Carson’s premise: studies have showed that DDT does not accumulate in birds’ systems. Use of DDT does temporarily weaken the shells of birds’ eggs, but the problem does not persist over the long-term. In response to Carson’s book, however (before these studies were completed), DDT was banned. When it comes to Rachel Carson, the most important question is this: how many people have died from malaria needlessly due to Rachel Carson’s book?

Because of the ban on DDT in the US, the manufacture of DDT came to a screeching halt. US policy has worldwide effects, and the US’s perception of DDT (and refusal to donate money for DDT use for malaria control in African nations…though the US would give money for other, less effective measures) has prevented effective malaria control in third-world nations across the globe. Since the publishing of Silent Spring, millions of people have died needlessly from mosquito-borne malaria.

Yes, we need to be responsible stewards of our environment…but what the enviro-wackos don’t seem to understand (and haven’t since Carson’s day) is that overreacting based on false evidence (aka lies) helps no one.

For more information on this, I recommend the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science.

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3 replies

  1. Carson didn’t actually call for a ban on DDT, she wanted more research to be done before it was sprayed onto farmlands etc because at that time (remember, the book was published in 1962), there wasn’t enough known about its long term effects. Her book called for caution and research. Nothing emotional about that.

  2. I understand that bioaccumulation is a real issue, but the fact that it is real does not justify the kind of knee-jerk reaction that leads to millions of people dying of a preventable disease every year. Pesticides can and should be used responsibly, but the US environmental movement isn’t about acting responsibly, it’s about reacting emotionally.

  3. Have you actually read silent spring? the issues she addresses go far deeper than DDT. The issue is that stronger and stronger chemicals are being released into the environment without proper study into their effects. And toxicologists agree that bioaccumulation in fatty tissues of animals is indeed a real phenomenon. The Inuit people in Northern Canada carry loads of harmful chemicals in the body tissues and even mother’s milk. It comes from the blubber of seals etc that are their primary food source. Those seals eat fish contaminated with smaller amounts of the chemicals. Doesn’t that seem disturbing to you? I’m not saying that reaction with out research is merited, just that you’ve missed the point “Silent Spring”.

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