Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Through The Looking Glass

By Rich Kozlovich

Editor’s note: This article has been hit a great deal lately and so I went back and read it. Since I am a bug man and not a trained writer I find that much of the work I have done in past years could stand improvement, therefore I have reworked this article. I hope it is an improvement. RK - 3/9/11

Heisenberg’s uncertainty Theory – The more closely you study the subject the less clearly defined it becomes. May I be so bold as to entertain the thought that this certainly would apply to those who attempt to define Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or Green for the structural pest control industry? Here is the reality we are faced with; we have agreed to use these terms without agreeing on what they mean. I hear the statement often; “we all know what IPM is or; we all know what Green means”. Really? The reality is that there is “no universally accepted definition of the IPM and Green phenomena; there is no consensus as to their range, their ideological origins, or the modalities of action which characterize them.”*

Yet, the activists wield words and phrases such as, “we must reduce our chemical impact” like a cudgel to browbeat anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their views regarding IPM or Green pest control. They suggest that we are a bunch of evil fascists attempting to pollute the world and kill our children for mere profit.

My questions are always the same;
1. Exactly what chemical impact are they talking about?
2. What are the statistics?
3. Where is the reduction in life expectancy?
4. Where is the massive increase in diseases?
They aren’t in countries that are the heaviest users of pesticides. In fact, it is now reported that the life expectancy is increasing in these countries. However, the opposite is true in countries that use pesticides the least. They answer by making unfounded claims in the press, where they sound like songbirds; however, when you challenge these people face to face they sound more like croaking toads.

It can be clearly shown that while they spew out unproven claims about pesticides and those who use them, the green movement has wreaked havoc on people’s lives all over the world. Children dying by the millions and tens millions suffering from a host of maladies and conditions created by the things that they promote, which could have been easily prevented except for the influence activists have on the decision makers of the world. These are facts and they are part of the public record for those who are willing to look for them. They cannot be disputed! They can be spun, they can be denied, they can be twisted and the can be ignored….but they cannot be disputed!

This brings me to some questions that I would really love an answer to:
1. Why are promoters of these misanthropic concepts given columns that regularly appear in our industries trade journals? All of a sudden these people become teachers and journalists to the structural pest control industry and de facto spokesmen for the industry.
2.  Why is it that those who have different views are not given the same opportunity to refute these activists’ views?
3.  Why do I never see a regular column devoted to defending us as we are! I have said it before and I will say this again. They are not the pest control industry! Consultants and researchers are hired help and it is their job to salute and say; yes sir. We need to start telling them and not the reverse. If they don't like it we need to fire them!
For years the green activists have promoted causes and programs that have resulted in devastation to the poorest and most desperate people of the world. And all the while these activist induced devastations have been going on these people have maintained a steady drumbeat of misinformation, condemning us with their unscientific claims about pesticides and public health. And the media inside and outside of our industry has either been silent or has been party to this campaign of Jabberwocky. What has the application industries done to defend itself from these false charges? Little or nothing! Worse yet, the pesticide manufacturing, distribution and application industries are becoming part and parcel of that package.

How do these ideas take hold in an industry? It is caused by decent, everyday, go to work men who willingly but unknowingly take these concepts seriously. And why are they so 'willing' and 'unknowing'?  Actually it is understandable. It is because there is no one from our industries that is rebutting these claims, or responding to the arbitrary demands from the activists and regulators in our own forums. And apparently, it appears that no one else is permitted to publically rebut them. As a result they have no other touch stone to go by except the propaganda of the greenies and the EPA.

Another point that I think should be obvious to the most casual observer is that we can't get “ahead of this green issue”. How can we get ahead of something that isn’t ours? It is their program and they will adjust it to offset anything we do. If we even appear to be “getting ahead” they will adjust it in such a manner that we will fall behind again. We will never get ahead of this “green” phenomenon; period! You can’t get ahead of an irrational concept that is initiated by those who wish you ill. If it isn’t your program you can’t control it; you can only defeat it!

Green is even less definable than IPM. “We didn’t get ahead of IPM and look where it got us”; I was recently told. We waste energy trying to get ahead of things we cannot get ahead of and cannot control. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be trying to get ahead; we should be working to eliminate them. The reason we have “green” as an issue now is not because we didn’t get ahead of IPM; it’s because we didn’t defeat IPM. This was the next obvious step after IPM. Their goal is to eliminate pesticides, and each time we adopt an attitude of appeasement, they will go to the next level and each level will be more extreme than the last. Make no mistake about it; we didn’t stand up to IPM then, and if we don’t defeat “green” now the next step will be elimination. The European Union has already taken steps to do just that. See EU Ministers Clinch Deal on New Pesticides Law in this week's Green Notes Newsletter.

"Through the Looking Glass" was a book by Lewis Carroll with Alice (As in Alice in Wonderland) as the main character. In the book Alice finally awakens from her irrational and nightmarish dream and promptly blames one of her cats for the whole thing.

Who will we blame when we awaken from this irrational and nightmarish attempt to please the green activists inside and outside of our industry? More importantly; who will take responsibility for the disasters that awaits us when the developed world eliminates pesticides and loses the benefits they impart? I will not! I will not have to!

"The time has come," the Walrus said, to talk of many things: Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax - Of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings."- Lewis Carroll

* Paraphrased statement by Stanley G,. Payne in the book Dictionnaire historique des fascisms et du nazisme as cited and quoted in the book Liberal Fascism.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is Green Another Word For Pagan?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Wendell Krossa

I would like to thank Mr. Krossa for giving me permission to reprint this information. I will be publishing more of his work dealing with this subject in the future. I recommend following the Anne Gardiner link. RK

Anne Gardiner presents a good summary of some of the pagan mythology behind modern environmental thought. Alston Chase similarly traces something of the mythological roots of this movement in his book In A Dark Wood.

Gardiner also expresses the great battle for human minds and freedom that this environmental movement is shaping up to be. It is becoming the defining issue of our time- the environmentalist assault on human freedom. Some have suggested that it could become a totalitarianism that would outdo totalitarianisms of the past because it wants to legislate human behavior in constraining detail that other movements did not engage. And it demands a reversal of the human enterprise (and humanity itself) on a scale that few other movements envisioned.

But I am not sure that Gardiner's alternative is up to the task of countering the core mythology of environmentalism. The Christian story is also one of human sacrifice and this does little to effectively challenge the similar pagan call for human sacrifice. Competing against one form of mythology with a similar story does not really resolve anything fundamental. Also, the Christian belief system assumes a fallen humanity which is little improvement on the devaluation of humanity offered by environmental paganism.

At the root of all this mythology is the valuation or perspective on humanity that people hold. This is a critical issue - how do we view and value humanity? What is our place in the overall scheme of things?

I would argue that with consciousness we hold a unique place in nature and a privileged responsibility to humanize nature and life. With consciousness we have awareness of what truly humane reality is about and we are responsible to bring this awareness to our engagement with the rest of life. Easterbrook (A Moment on the Earth) suggests that nature has waited a long time for us and our endowments of mind and intelligence. We can now help nature out of the dead ends that it has gotten into by its blind, random, and dumb processes (e.g. predation, disease, natural disasters).

A related issue here is how we view nature. Nature is not some pristine or pure reality aside from humanity. It has rightly been called a "wicked old witch" or Dark Nature (Lyall Watson). It is violent, disease ridden, and in need of rescue. While enlightened consciousness leads us to respect the rest of life, we should not apologize for our status and responsibility toward life and the Earth; to humanize nature. In fulfilling our responsibility, we ought to feel no guilt over our engagement of nature and our use of its abundant resources.

So nature has no inherent right to supremacy over humanity. Ideologies/mythologies that place something else above free human persons have always led to the neglect and abuse of real people. Such is the history of religious and ideological movements. Whenever people place something above human persons and their rights and freedom, then they fall prey to totalitarianism. This is equally true of this pagan nature worship. One would think it would be clear to most people that a dumb, blind, and randomly driven environment cannot take precedence over conscious persons.

I would suggest that an effective answer to this environmental mythology lies in the proper valuation of humanity or human persons. Each of us will do this in our own way according to our personal worldviews. Let me just note that helpful alternatives have been offered here by people like Joseph Campbell. Few have expressed the wonder of being human as well he has in his books Myths To Live By, The Power of Myth, and An Open Life. Catholic theologian Thomas Sheehan also offers an interesting valuation of humanity in his essay From Divinity to Infinity. He suggests that humanity is the new "marker" (or stand in) for divinity. Divinity, he says, has disappeared into humanity to explore the infinity of human potential in improving life. Campbell similarly offers the perspective that each of us embodies the great Consciousness or Mind of the universe. From such insight it becomes obvious that we are not just another animal subject to nature and its ecosystems (and after all, the story of humanity is one of freedom from natural constraints and limitations). We are so much more than just the 2 percent difference with apes. Others might prefer more secular perspectives on the wonder of being human such as that offered by Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource.

On the primitiveness or paganism of this contemporary environmental mythology I was reminded of a personal experience with a tribal man in Mindanao (Davao Del Norte province, Southern Philippines). He was fishing in a rainforest river. As he stood shivering on the bank holding his fishing spear I noticed that he had placed a piece of bamboo upright in the bank of the river with an egg held in the split top. I knew the mythology behind such sacrifice but I asked him anyway why he had done that. He replied, "So the river spirit will not be angry when I take fish from the river".

Pagan, barbaric, and ignorant? Yes, it's all that. But it is even more unsettling when such primitive thought is promoted by PhDs in our universities. Bill Rees, the father of the ecological footprint concept, had us read The Re-Enchantment of the World and lectured us on Deep Ecology in grad school (Planning) at the University of British Columbia. He had PhD candidates lecture us on nature as Goddess. And he also stated that he would not only halt the human enterprise for taking from nature, but would actually reverse it. Earth can only sustain about one to two billion people, according to him.

You can't discuss science with such people. Once in the grip of a mythology as powerful as this pagan nature worship, you can only let their hysteria run its course. But when that hysteria begins to push its totalitarian solutions on the rest of us, then it is the responsibility of all of us to stand up and refuse to let such insanity undermine human freedom and progress.

Mr. Krossa lives in BC (Maple Ridge), working with the mentally disabled. Trained as an urban planner (UBC), after which he became involved in rural development in the Philippines for some 10 years. Mr. Krossa contributes to several net forums dealing with various issues including environmental. He is especially interested in the foundational ideas behind contemporary environmental ideology. His work can be viewed at

Human Security v. Environmental Activism

I would like to thank Mr. Driessen for giving me permission to reprint his work. I will be adding more of his articles in the future. RK

How environmental policies jeopardize human needs
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
by Paul Driessen

Expanded remarks by Paul Driessen, given in a debate at the International Affairs Symposium held at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon in April, 2008. Does the exporting of our environmental policies to the developing world positively impact human security?

Well, as Institute for Sustainable Development program manager Oli Brown recently pointed out, there are many cases where it undoubtedly does. Some policies. Under certain circumstances. Depending on how you define human security.

Unfortunately, however, there are also numerous cases where such “exports” are anything but helpful. It is those policies that trouble me – for they wreak havoc on human security. In fact, they perpetrate and perpetuate poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and premature death far too often. Those policies need to be re-examined and discontinued.

I’ve been a strong environmentalist and conservationist my entire life – but also a harsh critic of radical environmentalism, which often fails to pay sufficient attention to people, especially in poor nations. That seeming divergence reflects my background and extensive environmental and international experience.

I’m an Eagle Scout, with degrees in geology and ecology, and environment and resource law. I helped organize the very first Earth Day on my college campus, way back in 1970. A former Sierra Club member, I also hike, camp, cross-country ski and canoe. I’ve had government and private industry jobs, and now work for CFACT, the Congress of Racial Equality and other NGOs around the world. I write regularly about climate change, energy, environmental ethics and corporate social responsibility.

I grew up ten miles from the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power. My home was also two blocks from a huge paper mill, and I saw and smelled its pollution firsthand. I joined the nascent environmental movement primarily to clean up our air and water. And we did it.

I’ve seen environmental devastation. But I’ve also seen the devastation of rampant poverty in African, Latin American and Asian communities. I’ve seen companies do horrendous things to habitats – and others do incredibly good things for people, communities and the environment. I’ve seen environmental groups accomplish tremendous good – and others pursue agendas that I can only describe as anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-people. We export those kinds of policies to poor countries at their peril, and to our shame.

As Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg has said: “We have numerous problems, but limited human and financial resources. We have to set priorities. Climate change can wait. Human health can’t.”

Economist Milton Friedman also got it right: “Poor countries,” he said, “should not do what rich countries are doing now that they are rich. They should do what rich countries did to become rich.”

My grandmother offered this advice: “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

If policies reduce or prevent threats to vital elements of human security, we should export them. If other policies would prolong or worsen already horrid situations in developing nations, then exporting them would be counterproductive … or even unconscionable.

So we need to differentiate clearly between real risks and speculative risks … between immediate risks and those that are so far in the future that predictions are worthless. We need to focus on risks that present a clear and present danger to human life and security – threats that are substantiated, recurrent and costly, especially in terms of lives lost. We need to avoid focusing so much time, money, emotion and regulation on risks that are hypothetical … and based on false assumptions, political agendas, alarmist headlines, hysteria, Hollywood special effects or computer models.
Like Bjorn, I put global warming well down on my list of worries and priorities – and policies to prevent global warming near the bottom of what we should export to poor nations. Like literally hundreds of climate scientists, I believe the risk of catastrophic climate change is hugely exaggerated, and unsupported by scientific evidence.

So … what policies should we export?

Property rights and free enterprise – which Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto says will unleash the creative forces of millions of hard-working people … and turn trillions of dollars of “dead capital” into vibrant economies that generate prosperity, health, opportunity and security.

Drug standards and testing – to ensure that medicines are safe and effective … and we protect people from counterfeit malaria and AIDS drugs that prolong disease or even kill.

Honesty, transparency and accountability standards – for corporations, nonprofit groups, politicians and government agencies alike. In other words, truth in assertions, transparency in funding and spending, and accountability for policies and actions that result in poverty, disease and death.

Reasonable mining and drilling standards, and the best practices of responsible leaders in their industries – to help poor countries get the energy and minerals they need, while ensuring worker safety, minimizing pollution, and restoring any lands that have to be disturbed to extract the resources.

Reasonable air and water quality standards for factories and power generation facilities – to reduce pollution, while also ensuring that poor countries can generate the electricity, jobs and prosperity they need to improve people’s lives and security, and afford even better pollution controls in the future, as they become more prosperous and can pay for upgrades and better technologies. We need to apply the same environmental standards to state-operated mines, smelters, electrical power generators and factories, as we apply to privately owned and operated facilities.

Which environmental policies impair human security – and should not be exported?

#1. U.N.-style sustainable development. The UN originally said we must sustain and expand the resource base, so that people can build more prosperous, just and secure futures. Today, though, the concept is mostly used to block development, on the ground that some future generation might need the resources we want today.

Many sustainability policies delay or prevent all but small-scale development projects, and thus impair human security – even though future technologies, and thus future resource needs, cannot be predicted … any more than people living in 1950 could have envisioned today’s televisions, cell phones, jetliners and computers scans … or what resources would be needed, when, and in what quantities, to manufacture them. SD proponents rarely ask: How long must a deposit, facility or project last to be “sustainable” – 10, 50, 100 or 500 years? Which costs and tradeoffs should be emphasized, and which ones ignored?

Bad policy #2. The precautionary principle. It too is used mainly to delay or prevent development, and only rarely to protect people against real, immediate, life-or-death risks. It focuses too much attention on the alleged, and often overblown or even imaginary, risks of using a chemical or technology. It often minimizes consideration of significant risks that the chemical or technology would prevent.

Bad policy #3. Policies that promote or mandate alternative or renewable energy – especially when they are also used to delay or block fossil fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear energy development.

Wind power is expensive, land and resource intensive, and unreliable. It can add extra power to an electrical grid. But it’s totally inadequate as a primary energy source for any country, rich or poor. Just generating enough electricity to power New York City would mean covering the entire state of Connecticut with towering wind turbines, Rockefeller University professor Jesse Ausubel has calculated. And the city would still need expensive natural gas-fired generators (and thus drilling for gas), to provide electricity every time the wind stops blowing fast enough to operate the turbines.

Producing 7 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007 required corn grown on an area the size of Indiana – plus vast amounts of water, insecticides, fertilizers and petroleum. It has helped send corn and wheat prices soaring, and forced the World Food Program to ration aid, and millions more to go to bed hungry.

Ethanol puts food for hungry mouths into cars that should be fueled by oil that Congress and state legislatures have made off limits. It’s causing food shortages, deforestation and even riots over food.

Telling poor countries they must rely on wind, solar or ethanol condemns them to poverty and insecurity … and tramples on their energy and economic human rights. Such policies are unsustainable – morally, economically and ecologically … even when they’re promoted or imposed out of concern about catastrophic climate change.

Climate change has been real since time began. Twentieth century warming and cooling trends were not abnormal, air and ocean temperatures have been stable for nearly a decade … and there is no credible evidence that future warming will be driven primarily by humans – or be catastrophic.

Some computer models make such projections, via worst-case scenarios. But they are based on our still poor understanding of complex climate systems. They assume carbon dioxide is the primary cause of climate change. They fail to consider solar energy fluctuations, cosmic ray influences on cloud cover, the cooling effects of precipitation, or negative (cooling) feedbacks from high cirrus clouds.

They are notoriously unreliable, and unable to forecast events and climate shifts even one year in the future, much less 50 or 100. In fact, projections and scenarios generated by models are consistently at odds with actual observed changes and trends. Models simply are not evidence – and certainly should not be relied on as a basis for policies that would seriously disrupt our economy and human security.

The fact is, slashing CO2 emissions by 60 to 90 percent, in a quest to stabilize our planet’s unstable climate, would be a costly disaster. It would exact huge penalties on economic growth, jobs and human security – especially in poor countries. Cutting US carbon dioxide emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels would send us back in time to CO2 emission levels that America has not seen since 1905.

Some analysts claim the cost of preventing future climate disaster scenarios would be far lower than the costs they would impose on society. However, the scenarios are merely speculative, whereas the cost of “preventing” them would have to be paid today by families whose living standards and security would be impaired. In the case of the Stern Report, the authors emphasized only the lowest estimate for preventing the alleged disaster, though even that was $440 billion, and his other estimates were many times higher.

Imagine an institution like a college campus, hospital or even a city, without dependable, affordable energy. For lights, transportation, computers, heating and hospitals … water purification and sewage treatment … refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling. For mines and factories that create products that improve, enrich and safeguard our lives. Without this energy, life, living standards and security as we know it would cease.

Now try to imagine life in Africa – where 95 percent of the people rarely or never have electricity. In many parts of Asia and Latin America, the deprivation is nearly as bad. Instead of switching on a light or appliance, millions of mothers and daughters spend hours every day collecting firewood and manure for cooking and heating fires. When the sun goes down, their lives shut down.

Instead of turning a faucet handle, they spend countless more hours carrying water from distant rivers and lakes … that are often contaminated by parasites and bacteria.

Instead of enjoying a modern kitchen, mothers and babies spend hours bent over primitive hearths, breathing polluted smoke from their fires.

The impacts on human health are hideous, intolerable and unnecessary.
Four million infants, children and mothers die every year from lung infections – caused by breathing the smoke, soot, bacteria and pollutants that are a constant fixture in their homes and villages.

Two million more perish every year from intestinal diseases, caused by unsafe water and spoiled food – due to a lack of electricity, refrigeration and water treatment.

And still, many environmentalists and politicians are saying climate change is the greatest threat facing poor countries – and using hysteria over climate change to forestall the construction of fossil fuel power plants. The Rainforest Action Network even attacks banks that want to finance fossil fuel and hydroelectric projects.

And former Earth Island Institute editor Gar Smith has the arrogance to say: “African villagers used to spend their days and evenings sewing clothing for their neighbors, on foot-peddle-powered sewing machines. Once they get electricity, they spend too much time watching television and listening to the radio. If there is going to be electricity, I’d like it to be decentralized, small and solar-powered.”

It would be laughable, if it weren’t so perverse and tragic. Kenya’s Akinyi Arunga is right:

“Cute, indigenous customs aren’t so charming when they make up one’s day-to-day existence. Then they mean indigenous poverty, indigenous malnutrition, indigenous disease and childhood death. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy, and I wish our so-called friends would stop imposing it on us.”

Bad policy #4. The war on biotechnology. Around the world, millions of people face starvation. 800 million are chronically undernourished. Over 200 million children suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency. Up to 500,000 of them go blind from VAD every year. Millions die.

Biotechnology could be an important tool in the battle to end malnutrition, control plant diseases and improve agriculture in poor countries. It’s not a magic bullet – there is no such thing – and it’s not appropriate for everyone. But it could play a huge role, especially in combination with hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and modern farming practices.

Whether to use biotechnology should be a decision for Third World countries and farmers to make – without lies, scare stories and pressure from outside agitators like Greenpeace and Sierra Club … and without threats of trade sanctions by countries that already have plenty to eat.

Biotechnology can fortify rice and other plants with vitamins, to reduce malnutrition, prevent blindness and save lives. Genetic engineering can also produce plants that grow better in saline and nutrient-poor soils … fight off insects and viruses … replace crops devastated by disease and drought (papaya ringspot virus, cassava mosaic virus, eg) … reduce soil erosion, by allowing farmers to use herbicide-resistant plants and no-till farming methods … dramatically reduce the need for (and exposure to) pesticides … and eliminate dangerous fungal contamination like fumonisin that causes birth defects and death.

“Our planet has 6.5 billion people,” Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug points out. “If we use only organic fertilizers and methods on existing farmland, we can only feed 4 billion. I don’t see 2-1/2 billion people volunteering to disappear. And I don’t see environmentalists demanding that we plow under millions of acres of wildlife habitat, to feed everyone with organic and traditional farming.”

An African farmer told Congress of Racial Equality chairman Roy Innis: “By planting Bt cotton on my 15 acres, I was able to build a house and give it a solar panel. I bought a TV and fridge. My wife can buy healthy food, and we can afford to send the kids to school.”

Another one said: “The old plants would be destroyed by insects, but not the new biotech plants. With the profits I get from the new Bt maize, I can grow onions, spinach and tomatoes, and sell them for extra money to buy fertilizer. We were struggling to keep hunger out of our house. Now the future looks good.”

Biotech seeds cost more. But they save farmers hundreds of dollars on pesticides, ensure that insects and diseases don’t destroy their crops, and reduce the time they have to spend in their fields. As one farmer noted: “With the old maize, I got 100 bags a year from my [40 acres]. With Bt maize I get 1,000 bags.”

That’s security – food, health and economic security. Why would we export policies that impair it?

“I appreciate ethical concerns,” says Kenyan plant biologist Florence Wambugu. “But anything that doesn’t help feed our children is unethical.”

That brings me to …

Bad policy #5. Paranoia about pesticides and DDT. Many Africans and disease specialists consider these policies to be worse than unethical. They view them as a crime against humanity.

“I’ve suffered high fevers for days, vomited until I thought I had no stomach left. It’s left me dehydrated, thirsty and weak. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell day from night,” Ugandan business woman and malaria eradication activist Fifi Kobusingye told me.

“My friend’s little child wasn’t able to walk for months because of malaria,” Fifi said. “She crawled around on the floor. Her eyes bulged out like a chameleon, her hair dried up, and her stomach was all swollen because the parasites had taken over her liver. Her family didn’t have the money to help her, and neither did the Ugandan government. All they could do is take care of her the best they could, and wait for her to die.”

Somehow, miraculously, she recovered. But Christine was one of 500 million people a year who get malaria. That’s more people than live in the entire United States, Canada and Mexico combined. The disease kills up to 2 million people a year – four times the population of Portland. Three-fourths are in sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety percent are children and pregnant women.

Malaria leaves many victims with permanent brain damage – or makes them so frail that they die of AIDS, typhus, dysentery or lung disease. It makes all its victims so weak that they can’t work, go to school, care for their families or cultivate their fields – for weeks on end. It’s a primary reason many Sub-Saharan countries are destitute, and many Africans have to survive on two dollars a day.

But in the face of this needless tragedy, Pesticide Action Network and other Green pressure groups promote policies that prevent the use of insecticides and DDT to combat this killer disease. They say families should rely on insecticide-treated bed nets and new ACT drugs.

Africa clearly needs nets and drugs. But it also needs the weapons these activists don’t want malaria victims to use. Africa needs the entire arsenal: larvacides to kill baby mosquitoes and insecticides to kill adults, DDT to keep the flying killers out of homes, nets to keep them away from sleeping people – plus education and sanitation … and drugs, doctors and hospitals to treat people who get malaria, despite all these efforts. Only comprehensive programs like this can defeat malaria.

Why DDT? Because DDT is the strongest and longest lasting repellant in existence. Spraying just a little on the walls of traditional mud huts repels mosquitoes for six months or more. It kills any that land on the walls, and it irritates those it doesn’t kill or repel, so they leave the house without biting.

No other chemical in existence can do this. It’s like putting a bed net over an entire house, 24-7-365.

Thankfully, the U.S. Agency for International Development and World Health Organization finally changed their anti-insecticide and anti-DDT policies. But tens of millions died before they did so – and many environmentalists are still spreading scare stories to prevent or discourage their use. In my view, that is lethal, unconscionable eco-imperialism. It continues to sicken and kill millions every year.

As Fifi says: “I lost my son, two sisters and four nephews to malaria. Don’t talk to me about birds. And don’t tell me the risk of using DDT is worse than the risk of losing a million African children every year.”

It’s easy to worry about speculative risks from using DDT and other insecticides – fifty years after we used them to eradicate malaria in this country. But we need to put ourselves in the shoes of people who still worry every day about the real risk that a mosquito will send them or their baby to an early grave.

To wrap it up …

We should export policies that improve human security and save lives – based not on the ideals, perceptions and concerns that come from living in countries that now are rich … but on the realities and priorities of poor families that still face hardships and risks that many of us can barely imagine.

These are the real stakeholders – the ones who have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
They want to develop … stop depending on trickles of foreign aid … become healthy and prosperous … and be able to protect and educate their children, protect their environment, and enjoy the freedoms and opportunities we often take for granted.

The best thing we can do is impart to them the wisdom, experience and policies we depended on to achieve our aspirations – by eliminating the poverty, misery, disease, pollution and childhood death that were once the hallmarks of life in the United States … back in the good old days.

Paul Driessen is a senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and other international public policy organizations. He is the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death ( and was editor of CORE chairman Roy Innis’s book, Energy Keepers - Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle