“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?” — Thomas Jefferson letter to James Smith — 1822.
On September 2, 2010 I posted a blog about Environmental Extremists in which I took a very negative view of Rachel Carson. Its rime to update that post in the light of several children’s books that have been released praising the work of this hero of the environmental movement.
The left wants to tell children a story about the founding of modern environmentalism, but their fairy tale version ignores the grim reality.
Storybooks abound about Rachel Carson, the marine biologist who wrote “Silent Spring” nearly 50 years ago. In fact, there are 130 children’s books about her available through Amazon.com that teach children to idolize Carson and how to become liberal activists, but without telling them the lives that could have been saved by DDT. Some of those books even promoted left-wing environmental groups like the George Soros-funded Natural Resources Defense Council.
The books are pro-environmentalist propaganda, sometimes targeted at toddlers and young children who would more typically be looking at books about animals and cars. One such picture book by Laurie Lawlor, called “Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World” tells little ones: “No one had taken a stand against big business, federal agencies that approved chemical use, or universities that performed shoddy research about the effects of chemicals. She knew she was walking into dangerous territory.”
“Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World,” released in February, is just the latest of many books for children of all ages about the lefty environmental “hero.” Left-wing eco-activists laud Carson as the foremother of today’s environmental movement. Former vice president Al Gore even wrote the introduction to a 1994 edition of “Silent Spring,” and credited her as his inspiration to become an environmentalist.
Gore wrote: “Rachel Carson was one of the reasons why I became so conscious of the environment and so involved in environmental issues.” Of course, the environmentalists who idolize Carson and her 1962 book ignore the negative impact it. Without it, DDT could have been used to help prevent millions of people from dying a miserable death from malaria.
From beautifully illustrated picture books to young reader’s books, there is plenty of pro-Carson (anti-chemical) propaganda available to children. Many of these books come complete with sections dedicated to Gore and “An Inconvenient Truth” along with suggestions for how small children can become eco-activists.
“Rachel Carson” by Marie-Therese Miller, part of a book series called: “Conservation Heroes”, is aimed at older grade school children. Gore also has a book in this series. This book outlined the lefts vision of what Rachel Carson accomplished and her history. In the final chapter dedicated to Carson’s supposed legacy, the author failed to mention the real lasting impression of Carson — a continual state of environmental hysteria.
“Who on Earth is Rachel Carson? Mother of the Environmental Movement” by Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletcher, indoctrinates grade school children into thinking that population growth is bad. They wrote, “Rachel also saw what happens to nature when the human population increases rapidly and development takes place with little or no control.”
After sharing one-sided tales of Carson the hero, both “Rachel Carson” and “Who on Earth is Rachel Carson? Mother of the Environmental Movement” teach kids how to become environmentalists like her. Both books end with suggestions on where a child can go to get involved in the environmental movement. A child could visit the website for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a Soros-funded environmental extremist group, or they could get involved at their local Sierra club.
Henry Miller, scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, argued in a Sept. 5th op-ed for Forbes.com called “Rachel Carson’s Deadly Fantasies” that Carson’s real legacy lie in her disingenuous claims that stopped a useful life saver around the world.
“DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans,” Miller wrote.
“We recently passed the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s best-selling book, “Silent Spring.” Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement, it was an emotionally charged but deeply flawed denunciation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects. Today, the book is still revered by many, but its legacy is anything but positive.
As detailed by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet very readable analysis, “Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic,” Carson exploited her reputation as a well-known nature writer to advocate and legitimatize “positions linked to a darker tradition in American environmental thinking.” The book “encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism, technophobia, failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives, and the discounting of human well-being around the world.”
Carson’s proselytizing and advocacy raised substantial anxiety about DDT and led to bans in most of the world and to restrictions on other chemical pesticides. But the fears she raised were based on gross misrepresentations and scholarship so atrocious that, if Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of egregious academic misconduct. Her observations about DDT have been condemned by many scientists. In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”
In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of “Silent Spring.” As he explained in “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans.” He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications.
Consider, for example, this passage from Edwards’ article: “This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that ‘in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.’ The World Health Organization stated that DDT had ‘killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.’”
In addition, DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans. The product was such a boon to public health that in 1948 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Paul Müller for his discovery of the “contact insecticidal action” of DDT.
The legacy of Rachel Carson is that tens of millions of human lives – mostly children in poor, tropical countries – have been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors. This remains one of the monumental human tragedies of the last century. It is shocking that Dunn, an assistant professor of biology, remains ignorant of Carson’s shortcomings, and deplorable that university students are exposed to a scientist who manifests such ignorance and failure to respect the norms of science. Likewise, Nature’s decision to publish Dunn’s commentary reflects either an antiscientific bias or a failure of peer-review.”
Henry I. Miller, a physician, is the Robert Wesson Fellow of Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. Gregory Conko is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
Another expert, Dennis Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute, said Carson is indirectly responsible for millions of preventable deaths noting “The absence of DDT had led to the needless deaths of at least 30 million people from malaria and yellow fever in the tropics — most of them were helpless African children.
On April 13, 2007 Dennis Avery wrote in the Canada Free Press “Rachel Carson and the Malaria Tragedy.” In his article he stated:
“If Rachel Carson were still alive, April 12 would have been her 100th birthday. All over the Western World well-meaning, but misguided, souls marked that day with choruses of praise for the woman who almost singly-handed created the modern environmental movement. Her book, Silent Spring, warned us that man-made pesticides would kill our kids with cancer and eliminate our wild birds.
Since Silent Spring was published, of course, massive testing has documented that synthetic pesticides are no cancer threat to humans. Dr. Bruce Ames, who received the National Science Medal from President Clinton, has found that 99.999 percent of the cancer risks in our food supply come from natural pesticides which Nature has put in the fruits and vegetables to ward off the pervasive insects, fungi and diseases. Even so, the one-fourth of our population which eats the most fruits and vegetables has half the cancer risk of those who eat the least produce. So much for the toxicity of pesticide traces.
Rachel Carson's major impact on the planet has been to discourage the use of a safe, cheap pesticide called DDT to suppress disease-bearing mosquitoes. North America and Europe used DDT to eradicate malaria. After our children were safe, we told the Third World not to use it because it might harm their bird populations.
The absence of DDT has led to the needless deaths of at least 30 million people from malaria and yellow fever in the tropics. (Five times as many as Hitler killed in his concentrations death camps, albeit inadvertently). Most of them were helpless African children. In addition, malaria has been allowed to blight the lives of perhaps 1 billion chronic malaria sufferers, who are too often unable to work and further erode economic resources by requiring family nursing care. The millions of malaria cases in the tropics may, just by themselves, explain half of the poverty and human degradation on the planet today.
It's not widely known that Ms. Carson originally had a co-author for Silent Spring. His name was Edwin Diamond, and he had been Science Editor of Newsweek. Early in the drafting of the book, he resigned from the project. He declared later that Silent Spring was an "emotional, alarmist book seeking to cause Americans to mistakenly believe their world is being poisoned."
One of the most effective Third World uses of DDT is to spray the inside of homes. It's the most cost-effective mosquito repellent known. Instead of a mosquito entering the home; biting someone; spreading the disease; and dying hours later, the mosquito never comes in. One application every six months is enough to reduce malaria rates by 60 percent. DDT is the only highly effective strategy we have for suppressing this massive problem. If malaria made a comeback in America, the EPA would have to re-register DDT.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is now offering modest funding for the indoor use of DDT in poor tropical countries--30 years late. Happy Birthday, Ms. Carson.”
Dennis t. Avery was a senior policy analyst for the U.S. State Department, where he won the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He is the co-author, with atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book “Unstoppable Global Warming—Every 1500 Years”, available from Rowman & Littlefield.
In July 2007 National Geographic Magazine published a feature article on the increase of Malaria throughout the world. The article states; “The global eradication effort did achieve some notable successes. Malaria was virtually wiped out in much of the Caribbean and South Pacific, from the Balkans, from Taiwan. In Sri Lanka, there were 2.8 million cases of malaria in 1946, and a total of 17 in 1963. In India, malaria deaths plummeted from 800,000 a year to scarcely any.”
"In several places where malaria had been on the brink of extinction, including both Sri Lanka and India, the disease came roaring back. And in much of sub-Saharan Africa, malaria eradication never really got started. The WHO program largely bypassed the continent, and smaller scale efforts made little headway.”
"The ban on DDT," says Dr. Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, "may have killed 20 million children."
I August, 2006 Brian Handwerk wrote an article for National Geographic News stating that DDT to return as weapon against Malaria:
“DDT, a notorious symbol of environmental degradation, is poised to make a comeback.
International experts are touting the widely banned pesticide as a best bet to save millions of human lives threatened by malaria.
The disease, which kills mostly children and pregnant women, is largely spread by mosquitoes.
The overwhelming majority—90 percent—of malaria victims live in Africa, where the disease plagues both human and economic health (Africa facts, maps, more).
In May the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) endorsed the use of DDT for indoor antimalarial treatment in the developing world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to do the same in short order, according to a comprehensive report published in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
The chemical's return is sure to raise some eyebrows, but people on the front lines of the malaria fight generally support the decision.
"It's about 20 years too late, but it's a good thing," said Don Roberts, a professor of tropical public health at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
"I think it's going to make a huge difference in the health of people at risk of malaria."
I spent over a year working on a World Bank funded project in Sri Lanka, Two of the largest health concerns in that popular tropical island nation were malaria and dengue fever — both caused by virus carried by mosquitos. Dengue fever also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. As there is no vaccine, prevention is sought by reducing the habitat and the number of mosquitoes and limiting exposure to bites.
Treatment of acute dengue is supportive, using either oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate disease, and intravenous fluids and blood transfusion for more severe cases. The incidence of dengue fever has increased dramatically since the 1960s, with around 50–100 million people infected yearly. Early descriptions of the condition date from 1779, and its viral cause and the transmission were elucidated in the early 20th century. Dengue has become a global problem since the Second World War and is endemic in more than 110 countries.
The only sure-file way of eradicating mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever is to kill the carriers. The most effective means of killing mosquitos is with DDT.
So, thanks to the environmental extremism of Rachel Carson and her fellow travelers in the press and the environmental movement millions of people — mainly children — have painful deaths from mosquito-borne diseases. For this reason Rachel Carson was a fraud who should not be eulogized and glamorized to our children. So when your child comes home from school with a book praising Rachel Carson tell him or her the truth.