Friday, December 14, 2007

What Does It Mean To Be Green?

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Potter once said that the greatest challenge of the 21st century for the pest control industry will be the control of bedbugs. While controlling bedbugs may be our greatest pest control challenge, the real challenge for the pesticide application, manufacturing and distribution industries will be to define what it means to be “green”.

The people in pest control have a rational concern for the environment. We are trained to do good things for people while not harming the environment. Furthermore we actually believe that we do good things for people while not harming the environment, and we do. We believe that we are part of that thin gray line that is the first line of defense in the war for public health, and we are. We are the “hunters” that keep the tribe healthy. However, being concerned about the environment along with good health and being green are two entirely different things.

I firmly believe that in order to understand any issue you must understand the history of that issue. Therefore, In order to determine what it means to be green we need to see what those who profess to be green are for and what they are against. There are a host of issues that could be discussed, but for the sake of space let’s take just two; genetically modified foods and pesticides.

Genetically modified foods are anathema to those who are green. They consistently make all sorts of claims which have no basis in science. Some of these claims being outright lies about the effect of genetically modified organism’s on the environment and the impact on people’s health.

Vitamin A is a nutrient that is lacking in the diets of peoples living in Southeast Asia. As a result of intensive research scientists have found a way to add a molecule from a flower that would produce beta-carotene in rice. In turn the body would turn that into vitamin A. It was called by the trade name “Golden Rice” and developed specifically to address this deficiency. A deficiency “which kills at least 6,000 children every day” from malnutrition and “leads to irreversible blindness in 500,000 people each year”. The “green” activists, who claim to be so concerned about human health, especially children’s health, continue to stand against the use of these products. At one point they threw up so many barriers to this product that it was estimated that it would take five years before it could be made available. That means that 2,190,000 children would unnecessarily die and 2,500,000 people would go blind before this product could be available to work its healing properties. This is what it means to be green!

Pesticides are and have always been the great boogeyman of those who are green, especially after Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. In fact, everything that the public believes about DDT is a lie. Carson was a wonderful writer, but she was wrong on almost everything she claimed, including her predictions. Furthermore, in one case she deliberately misrepresented the facts. Her evidence was largely anecdotal and if it had been peer reviewed it never would have been published. It did not appear in a peer reviewed science journal, where scientists could take a long hard look at her “science”. It appeared as excerpted installments in New Yorker magazine and did exactly what it was intended to do; grab a hold of the public’s fears and emotions through scare mongering. The result was the ban on DDT and the death of millions. Yet, that hasn’t stopped those who are green from demanding more and more bans on pesticides. These demands are supported by equally outrageous unscientific statements about cancer, asthma, endocrine disruption and a host of other hypothetical unwarranted fears about pesticides.

We are removing life saving products from the market at a record pace. Although new products become available, they also come under attack. Colony Collapse Disorder impacted the honey bee populations around the world. The first thing that came out of the environmental movement was that this was caused by genetically modified foods. Then neonicotinoids were blamed and one European country even banned (at least temporarily) the use of these products because of these claims, but to no avail. This was then followed by cell phone radiation. Although the overwhelming evidence was that this was a cyclical phenomenon probably caused by disease or fungus, in short it is “natural”. This irrationality is what it means to be green.

We are told that we should view becoming green in pest control as merely a marketing tool. However, when we start doing this, aren’t we in reality telling the public that we need to change what we are doing because what we are currently doing is wrong and what we have been doing it wrong for over sixty years? Are we not in fact saying that the environmental activists have been right all along and we may have been responsible for the death or infirmity of untold thousands because of our use of pesticides? Is this not a tacit approval of the greens and their accusations against us? Do we really believe that? This is what it means to be green.

Alan Caruba, of the National Anxiety Center, made this observation. Greens always have and always will oppose anything that benefits human beings. They will save the whales, the wolves and the grizzly bears.....They will seek to ban every pesticide and herbicide needed to protect against disease and the growing of crops, but the one thing they will NOT do is anything that will improve and protect the lives of human beings!”

We have discussed what greens are against; let us look at what they are for. Actually that isn’t as easy as it would seem. First, we have to understand that the environmental movement isn’t monolithic. When an activist group takes a stand that some members disagree with, they simply form another activist group with those who share their views and stand against those positions taken by other activists groups. This is why the greens are really good at finding fault while being very poor at finding solutions. They simply can’t find any solutions that they all agree on. There is however four areas in which they are in almost total harmony. First; there are too many people in the world. Second; the world’s wealth and resources need to be redistributed equitably, with them as the final arbiters as to how this is to be done. Third; we all need to return to nature and become one with the biosphere. Fourth; all chemicals are evil.

In April of 2007 Cheetah the chimpanzee of Tarzan movies fame turned 75. How long do you think he would have lasted if he had been living “back to nature”? How many people would survive one year by going “back to nature”? No modern conveniences, no electricity, no running water, no supermarkets, no public sanitation, no mechanized transportation, no central heating or air conditioning and no pesticides, no vaccinations and only organically grown foods. Not very many I would guess. Yet we keep hearing how people “have” to return to nature.

Earth First founder Dave Foreman was overheard saying, "Ours is an ecological perspective that views Earth as a community and recognizes such apparent enemies as 'disease' (e.g., malaria) and 'pests' (e.g., mosquitoes) not as manifestations of evil to be overcome but rather as vital and necessary components of a complex and vibrant biosphere." That is what it means to be green.

In the real world how long do you think “Jane” would have lasted in a real jungle in real life? Millions have contracted malaria and died in that area of the world and yet Tarzan and Jane never seemed to get sick? Why? Because it was a fantasy.

Hollywood presented their fictional life as happy and healthy, even healthier than those living in the modern world. In fact, the only real problems they ever encountered were when people from the modern world intruded on them. Occasionally one of these outsiders would be bitten by a poisonous spider or come down with some other malady, but never fear, they had a secret herbal “jungle” remedy, giving the impression that nothing else was needed. Jane would send Tarzan swinging out into the jungle to get some “natural” miracle cure. After returning Jane would smugly and confidently pronounce how there was nothing to worry about as they had their own pharmacopeia. The inference was obvious. Naturally occurring products were better than anything produced by man and we clearly needed to become one with nature. Perhaps this was the real beginning of the modern environmental movement. I wonder; is it possible that Rachel Carson liked the Tarzan movies? Makes sense, after all, Hollywood fiction is usually very well written smoke, mirrors, fantasy and make believe history! Just like Silent Spring.

In the real world it is quite different. Paul Dreissen points out that “Two billion people rarely or never have electricity – for lights, refrigeration and cooking, water treatment plants, hospitals, schools, offices, shops and factories. Women and children are plagued with lung infections caused by wood and dung fires, and by acute intestinal diseases caused by tainted water and spoiled food. Up to ten million die from these causes every year.” The fact of the matter is that where ever green policies have been strictly adhered to dystopia has followed. We must ask ourselves; if the green activists are so concerned about the health of those in the developed world, why do they show such distain for the health and lives of those living in the less developed parts of the world?

What does it mean to be Green? To be green is to be irrational and misanthropic.

What Does It Mean To Be Green?
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part II
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part III
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part IV

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