from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
October 3, 1999
How many hurt people does it take to make environmentalists happy?
What kind of question is that, you may ask. Don’t environmentalists want to save human life and make it better? Actually, no. At least based on environmental policies, which today are driven by the extremist fringe, one would have to conclude that the ultimate goal of eco-radicals is to cause as much human misery, injury, and yes, even death, as possible.
Consider that scourge of environmental extremists, the chemical DDT.
Environmental hysteria has already convinced most of the world to abandon the use of DDT, and the United Nations is currently considering a formal worldwide ban, all because the eco-radicals claimed that DDT was killing off some birds. In point of fact, what DDT killed most of was mosquitoes. And it did that job very well indeed.
So what? Well, mosquitoes are notorious disease carriers, their bite spreading malaria and encephalitis. With the reduction of DDT use worldwide, there has been a corresponding upsurge in the worldwide cases of malaria. Malaria was once on the verge of being eradicated, until the environmentalists forced the abandonment of DDT. Now, malaria kills some 2.7 million people worldwide every year, and leaves another half billion chronically ill. A mosquito-borne virus causing encephalitis is now gripping the New York City area, where it is considered very unusual, and is spreading throughout the north and southeast.
Mosquitoes are thriving, thanks to environmentalists, but people are sick and dying. And to help the mosquitoes do their dirty work, eco-radicals have gone one step further. Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant pools of water such as swamps.
Before our nation became infected with environmental insanity, we used to drain swamps to minimize breeding grounds, in order to protect public health.
But now with the simple subterfuge of a name change, we no longer call them "swamps". They are now "wetlands", and we are told that we must save them. And in the process, we give disease carrying mosquitoes perfect homes in which to breed. Such obvious foolishness should be enough to show that a much more serious danger to human life comes, not from DDT, but from radical environmentalists. But there is more.
Extremist environmentalists’ chemical phobia isn’t limited to DDT. Consider pesticides.
American farmers have for decades been able to increasingly grow more food on less acreage, producing food surpluses which help feed the hungry of the world. They have been able to do so, at least in part, through the miracle of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. But the eco-radicals are working to limit the use of such pesticides and fertilizers. "Organic farming", that’s their battle cry. Except that with organic farming, the loss rate of crops destroyed by insects and disease approaches fully one-third of the crops planted. That is certainly no way to feed a hungry world.
But science has another answer: genetically engineered crops which are naturally resistant to infestation and which therefore reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the need for pesticides. Environmentalists should be pleased with that. Are they? Of course not. Rather than celebrate the human ingenuity which reduces the need for chemical pesticides, they concoct a new danger. Painting hysterical scenarios of "killer genes" contaminating our planetary gene pool, they wage an unending assault against genetic engineering.
In the ideal world of the eco-radical, there would be no genetic engineering, no chemical pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, just a massively reduced food supply. Resulting in massive starvation. But probably not affecting this country, of course, and elitist environmentalists would run no risk of going hungry themselves. Such starvation would occur primarily in the poorer regions of the Third World. As long as the environmental elitists have their soy-burgers and organic tomatoes, what do they care how many people in the Third World starve to death?
Then consider the environmental campaign to "save the rainforest". Here again, through subtle manipulation of the language, another politically correct cause was born. What we now call "rainforests" had always been known by another name: "jungles". And what a negative connotation that word bore! "It’s a jungle out there", commented many a person overwhelmed by the stress of modern life. "Jungle" conjures up the image of intrepid explorers with rifles at the ready, prepared to do battle with savage beasts and savage natives.
Picture a "rainforest", on the other hand, and one can almost see Bambi frolicking in a woodland glade. How could the environmentalists generate any sympathy for a campaign to "save the jungle"? They couldn’t, obviously, so they had to change the wording.
Just as a campaign to "save the swamp" would have made them sound ridiculous, but "save the wetlands" works just fine; so now we aren’t told to "save the jungle", we have to "save the rainforests".
But what do we "save the rainforests" from? From those people who are cutting them down, of course, who are mostly local indigenous people clearing the land so they can grow food to feed their families. The soil in which "rainforests" grow is rather thin and poorly endowed with nutrients, so farming that type of soil requires a constant supply of new land for crops (or the use of chemical fertilizers…sorry, forget that), which means more trees cleared. So in their campaign to "save the rainforests", the eco-radicals are essentially telling those poor farmers to just let their families starve. And that still isn’t all there is.
We constantly hear from the ever-so-compassionate left that many people are denied adequate health care.
How much health care could be provided, how many human lives could be saved, with $4 million? Quite a few. A hospital in California, however, has been forced by eco-radicals to spend $4 million, but not saving human lives. Saving flies. Construction of a new hospital was delayed, and changes were forced to be made which cost $4 million, because someone found a few Delhi Sand Flies on the construction site. And because our Environmental Protection Agency decided that the flies were an endangered species (not endangered enough, if you ask most normal people routinely bothered by the pesky critters during a hot summer), the hospital had to redesign their plans to allow for a fly fly-way for the flies to get to their preferred fly habitat. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Environmentalists have stopped or delayed construction of highway improvements designed to make the roads safer for human travel, stopped or delayed the building of schools and flood control projects, among other construction projects designed to make human life safer or more convenient. Even the repair of existing dams and flood control levees has been blocked by eco-radicals invoking the Endangered Species Act. All in the cause of protecting some creature which most people would probably swat or step on if given the chance.
The irony of it all is that most scientists agree, a million years after the human race is dead and gone, the one species of life which will still be around are the insects, because of their amazing ability to adapt to hostile and ever-changing environments. Insects, which environmentalists consider to be so fragile that they are willing to sacrifice human lives in order to save them. And if this sort of insanity still isn’t enough, there’s more.
For centuries, humans living on the edges of civilization have battled against predatory animals such as wolves and mountain lions. Through heroic efforts, ranchers in our own west pushed back the wilderness and brought wild lands under control for the growing of crops and the raising of cattle to satisfy the world’s growing demand for food.
Eco-radicals are not happy. Their solution? Where native wolf populations have been reduced, they demand – and our politically correct government provides – the introduction of new wolf populations, which have become the bane of ranchers and farmers trying to protect their livestock from attack. And livestock isn’t the only thing at risk from environmental extremists who regard human life as worthless when compared to animals.
In New York State, a mining company erected a fence to protect its workers from a nest of rattlesnakes. They didn’t kill the snakes, you understand, just put up a fence to keep them away from people. Take down that fence, ordered a court at the urging of eco-radicals. The fence might induce "psychological stress" in the snake population. No mention of the "psychological stress" induced in the human population from getting bitten by a rattlesnake, and one has to wonder what method of psychoanalysis was used to determine the mental state of those snakes. The local eco-radicals were reported to be "pleased as punch" with the ruling. No doubt. Dead humans is a small price to pay.
In Montana one winter night, a rancher heard sounds of animals ravaging his sheep. He fired a shot into the air to scare away what turned out to be three grizzly bears. Didn’t shoot the bears, just tried to scare them away. Then one massive grizzly bear turned and attacked the rancher, at which point he shot the bear to save his own life. He was charged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with violating the Endangered Species Act. And convicted.
It took nine years of appeals to get his conviction and fines overturned. If faced with the same situation, those government bureaucrats and eastern city dwellers who laud the ESA might be surprised to learn that an enraged grizzly bear in the wild at night is not quite the cute and cuddly teddy-bear type of animal often pictured when the Endangered Species Act is invoked in government propaganda literature.
Mountain lions have reappeared, even in urban areas, because trapping and killing is no longer permitted in many areas. In California, a woman jogger, mother of two small children, was attacked and killed by a mountain lion. Authorities have had to remove mountain lions from downtown Missoula, Montana. A wild coyote was killed by a car in downtown Boston, and packs of coyotes ruin crops in Georgia. Wild boars have become a menace in southern Texas. Wandering herds of wild deer are spreading ticks carrying lyme disease in Connecticut. Alligators are spreading in Florida, and not long ago a four year old child was eaten by one.
In California, homes are destroyed and human lives endangered by wildfires, because the homeowners are prohibited from clearing away the dry brush nearby in which a species of rat makes its home. Trapping of beavers has been severely restricted in Massachusetts, now beaver dams and beaver feces are flooding and contaminating many drinking water wells. In Alaska, eleven people have died in plane crashes during medical evacuations from an isolated town, and a proposed road, which would give the town its only safe access to medical care during the long, cold winter, was opposed by eco-radicals because 10 miles of the road, occupying a mere 85 acres, would cross a 300,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge.
So how many people in misery does it take to make eco-radicals happy? Environmentalists are always whining about overpopulation, so if their policies can help to depopulate the planet, how upset would they really be?
Anyone who thinks that the preceding characterization is too harsh might consider the following.
Eco-radicals simply want a whole lot fewer humans around.
Our elite media constantly whines about the danger and the alleged power of the "gun lobby" in our politics. But the people they complain about are just private individuals exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble, with the goal of protecting their Second Amendment rights against government assault.
The radical environmental lobby, however, has the power of national and international governments, the education establishment brainwashing innocent children, and the media propaganda machine supporting them. And their goal is to destroy the fruits of civilization and drive humanity back into a stone-age lifestyle which, in contrast to how it is often portrayed, was in reality usually nasty, brutish, and short. And that makes the eco-radicals far more dangerous to humanity.
The above article is the property of Kim
Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
6 oct 1999;
23 sep 2003