Bang Bang Bang........Back to Work, Bill!

"Silent Spring" was my wakeup call those many years ago. Lost my copy at school and scarce remember the content, but she was the one who started it for me....she and John & Jane with TMEN.
Care Ya'll Charlie
"One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener's own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race." Wendell Berry
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Rachel Carson’s Alarm Still Echoes by Rebecca Clarren
Today marks Rachel Carson’s 100th birthday.
She has been dead for more than 40 years, but the environmental movement she gave life to with her seminal book “Silent Spring” has evolved from the grass-roots movement to a politically expedient force embraced by mainstream Americans.
More than a movement, though, Carson inspired real change.
In my own backyard in Northeast Portland, I wonder how my narrow slice of the ecosystem would be different if not for Carson. Here, as late afternoon sunlight threads the tall grass and spring flowers, bugs dive and weave, bird songs pierce the din of a distant lawnmower. Without Carson, the world in my own backyard would look and sound far different.
Carson, concerned about indiscriminate use of the pesticide DDT, worried about a silent world. In the first chapter of “Silent Spring,” published in 1962, she imagined an entire community destroyed by “a white granular powder.” Her best-selling book challenged the mid-century assumption that pesticide use was for the greater good. A shy biologist, unmarried and in her mid-50s, Carson created a public outcry with her thorough research and lyrical prose.
Change happened fast. President Kennedy appointed a science advisory committee to examine the book’s conclusions. Congress debated legislation to require pesticide labels on how to avoid damage to fish and wildlife. In less than a decade, we celebrated the first Earth Day, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the National Environmental Policy Act as well as a host of the nation’s bulwark environmental laws.
Here in Oregon, where the economy has forever been intertwined with the health of natural resources, the environmental movement quickly flared. We passed the nation’s first bottle bill in 1971. Looking south to California’s suburban sprawl, former Gov. Tom McCall created landmark land-use planning laws. The fight about the spotted owl and logging in the late 1980s and early ’90s made Oregon a flash point for a national tension that pitted urban environmentalists against the rural working class.
Clearly, debate about environmental issues isn’t done: We’re still grappling with land development and Measure 37, and how to protect endangered species without hurting local economies. There are fringe eco-saboteurs, some convicted just this past week in Eugene, who committed arson to raise public awareness about threats to animals and the environment.
Yet on a larger scale, caring about the environment has become the accepted norm.
Wal-Mart stocks organic produce and uses compact fluorescent lights. Energy companies accept the science about global warming and hawk green energies. Last month at least four glossy magazines, including Vanity Fair, Fortune and Elle, had “Green Issues.” Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming is the third-highest-grossing documentary film ever in the United States. The City of Portland’s Water Bureau trucks run on biodiesel. Recycling bins are as ubiquitous as rain puddles. Hunters, farmers, corporations, schoolkids and simplicity advocates all say they care about nature.
That’s a good thing because critical environmental concerns remain. When “Silent Spring” was published, Carson reported that 200 basic chemicals were created for use in killing pests, insects and weeds, sold under thousands of brand names. Today, in Oregon alone, there are 10,480 registered pesticide products with more than 500 pesticide ingredients. When we use these pesticides on our agricultural land and urban lawns and golf courses, rain and runoff carries them into our rivers. Twenty-seven pesticides have been detected in the Clackamas River Basin, and 36 pesticides appear in the Willamette River Basin, a recent U.S. Geological Survey reports. However, the USGS only tested for the presence of 86 pesticides, meaning that far more could exist in the rivers. Furthermore, the EPA hasn’t established maximum contaminant standards for the vast majority of chemicals to protect fish and other aquatic life or humans who drink the water.
This failure to know all the effects of chemicals on our environment before their application is exactly what troubled Carson nearly a half-century ago. Her birthday should inspire us to question the status quo. We can begin with issues right here in our Oregon backyards. It was, of course, such a close-to-home concern that motivated Carson.
While Carson was visiting two friends, Stuart and Olga Huckins, at their two-acre private bird sanctuary in coastal Massachusetts, a plane spraying DDT to control mosquitoes flew overhead. The next morning she and her friends paddled through the estuary and saw dead and dying fish everywhere. Crayfish and crabs staggered, their nervous systems destroyed. This captured Carson’s curiosity and sparked more than four years of research, which resulted in “Silent Spring.”
Only two years after her book’s publication, Carson died of breast cancer at age 56. But her voice continues to inspire. To date, “Silent Spring” has sold more than 250,000 copies in at least 59 countries. Her birthday reminds us of what one individual can accomplish, if she only pays close attention to places she cares about and asks critical questions with a calm clear voice.
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Good on you Chalie, good on you.
- Bill Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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On May 29, 6:00 pm, Charlie wrote:
Taking aim at Rachel Carson Category: DDT Posted on: May 30, 2007 3:13 PM, by Tim Lambert
I've been doing a little research into how the Rachel-killed-millions hoax was spread. In The War Against the Greens (1st edition, published in 1994), the argument appears, but it is confined to the lunatic fringe:
"How many people have died as a result of environmental policies like the banning of DDT?" the Larouchite [Rogelio Maduro] asks rhetorically. "I'd say millions, because it was the most effective weapon against malaria. Right now methyl bromide is supposedly being banned for ozone depletion, but I think this is really an attack on refrigeration, because that's what CFCs and methyl bromides are used for: the storage and transportation of food. If you look at the environmentalists' policies, they say they want to reduce world population to 500 million and 2 billion, and the best way to do that would be to destroy the world food system. That would create mass starvation. That's the way to achieve their aim"
Ron Bailey's 1993 book Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse must have found this too nutty to mention, but in his 2002 book: Global Warming and Other Eco Myths: How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death he has a chapter from Angela Logomasini who states:
Nowhere is this danger more apparent than in the efforts to ban DDT, which has led to millions of deaths every year around the world.
The same year Bailey wrote in Reason:
Carson's disciples have managed to persuade many poor countries to stop using DDT against mosquitoes. The result has been an enormous increase in the number of people dying of malaria each year.
So how did the "Rachel killed millions" claim get from lunatic fringe to mainstream?
Well, in 1998, the new Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland established the Tobacco Free Initiative to reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use. Since it would also reduce tobacco company profits, they used one of their favourite tactics: When an agency plans to take actions against smoking, tobacco companies pay third parties to attack the agency for addressing tobacco instead of some other issue. For example, when the FDA proposed to regulate nicotine, Philip Morris organized and paid for an expensive anti-FDA campaign of radio, television and print ads from think tanks such as the CEI.
So Philip Morris hired Roger Bate to set up a new astroturf group Africa Fighting Malaria and criticize the WHO for not doing enough to fight malaria. The key elements of AFM's strategy:
Simplify our arguments. Pick issues on which we can divide our opponents and win. Make our case on our terms, not on the terms of our opponents - malaria prevention is a good example. ... this will create tensions between LDCs and OECD countries and between public health and environment.
The simple argument they used to drive a wedge between public health and environment was that we had to choose between birds and people. That by banning DDT to protect birds, environmentalists caused many people to die from malaria.
The only problem with the simple argument is that it is contradicted by the story of the fight against malaria. The standard history of this is Gordon Harrison's Mosquitoes, malaria, and man: A history of the hostilities since 1880, and he tells you the real reasons why the plan to eradicate malaria failed. It had nothing to do with Rachel Carson stabbing DDT in the back and more to do with mosquitoes evolving resistance to DDT, just as Carson had warned. You don't have to choose between birds and people -- protecting birds by banning the agricultural use of DDT also protects people by slowing the evolution of resistance.
By using DDT, Sri Lanka had reduced the number of cases to just 17 in 1963. They thought that had won and suspended the spraying program. Harrison writes:
Despite these rumblings of trouble the epidemic that hit the island in 1968-69 was shocking, unexpected and deeply discouraging The few score cases suddenly multiplied into more than half a million. In a single season parasites reestablished themselves almost throughout the areas from which they had been so expensively driven in the course of twenty years. Sri Lanka went back to the spray guns, reducing malaria once more to 150,000 cases in 1972; but there the attack stalled. Anopheles culicifacies, completely susceptible to DDT when the spray stopped in 1964, was now found resistant presumably because of the use of DDT for crop protection in the interim. Within a couple of years, so many culicifacies survived that despite the spraying malaria spread in 1975 to more than 400,000 people.
Sri Lanka was only able to get malaria under control again by switching to malathion instead of DDT.
So what was Bate's plan to deal with this? ... (cont)
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