So we ve gotten through another Earth Day. I meant to write something about this event when it occurred, yesterday, but I was too busy dealing with its proponents fanciful dogmas concerning sustainability and carbon footprints, and never got around to it. Better late than never.
This year, we managed to avoid the devastating effects of some of prior Earth Days more intense proponents those who believe the earth would be a far, far better place if there weren t so many messy people on it. Those folks who call themselves environmentalists want to preserve Mother Earth and protect her (and her consort, Mother Nature) from the ravages of things like pesticides, fossil fuel, nuclear power, DDT, genetically-engineered crops and other suspected dangerous or toxic substances that might do irreparable harm to Her.
Of course, those ostensibly harmful insults happen to be among the benefits of modern civilization that have contributed to our enviable increased longevity and health. Pesticides are key to our agricultural production, and the benefits of GE food production have only begun to be harnessed. Both technologies may allow modern agriculture to hold starvation of the added billions of mouths needed to be fed during this century. Western civilization still relies on fossil fuels, and will continue to do so for decades to come, or longer, despite the anti-technology zealotry of the Earth Day cohort. They oppose nuclear energy sources because ¦well, just because, although it is undeniably clean and safe.
The paradigm achievement of the Earth-ers, however, is one we all can be happy and proud that they have not matched for its sheer toll of human destruction. I refer of course to the Silent Spring-inspired EPA ban of DDT in 1972. Still extolled by fundamentalist Carsonites as the signature moment of the environmental movement, the U.S.-generated ban led to the insecticide s removal from the public health approach to controlling malarial mosquitoes throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America after malaria had been conquered here and in Europe. The mostly unintended consequences were that a million or so impoverished third-world residents died of malaria each year, mainly children under 5. The ban was mandated 41 years ago despite the lack of evidence of DDT s adverse effects on humans and the environment. Diligent research attempting to elucidate its adverse effects since then have continued to come up empty.
So yes!, let us raise a glass to Earth Day: we have escaped again from its worst anti-human ravages, and the earth will keep spinning along. But let us think of it again this Thursday, April 25th: World Malaria Day.