Resisting the Green Merchants of Doom

We have plenty of examples of green Chicken Littles insisting that the sky is falling. The trouble is, when we listen to them, heed their advice, and implement their policies, the solutions are usually much worse than the perceived problems. One classic example of this was the worldwide scare over DDT.

This story is of course quite well known. Indeed, I have written it up in earlier posts as well. So let me here simply repeat what I have said elsewhere:

When DDT was patented as an insecticide in 1939, it was welcomed as a much-needed substitute for the toxic insecticides then commonly in use – arsenic, mercury, fluorine and lead. During World War II, DDT was discovered to kill body lice without adverse effect on humans. All Allied troops, therefore, made use of it, with the result that for the first time in the history of warfare, no Allied soldier was stricken with typhoid fever, which is carried by lice. (More soldiers died from typhus in World War I than from bullets.)

Soon thereafter DDT was being used against all insect-transmitted (and epidemic) diseases, such as yellow fever, encephalitis and malaria. The result was nothing short of miraculous. For example, in 1948, before the use of DDT, there were 2.8 million cases of malaria reported in Sri Lanka; in 1963 there were only 17.

Overuse of the pesticide, however, led to a small amount of DDT being detected in soil, water and animals. Over-reaction followed. Books like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) warned of the demise of all living creatures. As a result, DDT was banned in the US in 1972, despite objections from the scientific community. Much of the rest of the world stopped spraying as well. The result was cataclysmic: in the 1940s, 200 million people a year were stricken with malaria annually, with about two million deaths per year. By 1978 there were 800 million cases of malaria and 8.2 million deaths per year.

The story of DDT illustrates how many of the benefits of modern technology which we now enjoy are under threat by radical environmentalists and pseudo-scientists who are more interested in gaining political control than in pursuing scientific truth.

I raise the story about DDT because it is again being highlighted, this time in an important new documentary which examines this and other green scares. The video is Not Evil, Just Wrong. It has just been released for worldwide viewing, and I had the opportunity of seeing it last night. It is a very important documentary, one which everyone should watch.

It rightly warns us that the climate change zealots are proposing solutions which will bankrupt the economies of the world, and will be especially detrimental to poor people, especially non-whites in the developing world. Already there are very good reviews of this film available, so instead of reinventing the wheel, allow me to simply cite another’s work.

Bob Carter has written a most helpful review of the film for Quadrant magazine, so let me offer some segments of that article. He begins, “This documentary film is an examination of the human effects of environmental alarmism, with especial reference to the still hypothetical ‘problem’ of human-caused global warming. The film is not so much about the science of climate change as it is about explaining the sociology and politics of what is now perhaps the world’s greatest-ever scare campaign.”

The film critiques the flawed IPCC reports, and the bluff and bluster of Al Gore. It shows clips of school children nearly in tears over the supposed near-extinction of polar bears, for example. The film offers expert opinion from a number of authorities, including the former co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore.

Says Carter, Moore “proceeds to score a number of Maradonna-quality goals. First, Mr Moore rightly explains that the numbers of polar bears are not decreasing, and that the main threat to them today remains human hunting. Then, in passing, he delivers one of the most important lines in the film – which is that the modern climate change that we observe (warming from 1979 to 1998, and cooling since) all falls ‘well within natural variations that have occurred in the past history of the earth’. And finally, he adds, it would not be at all a bad thing were the earth to chance to warm again, for biodiversity is much greater in warmer climes and lower latitudes. Score: Mr Moore, three – IPCC zero.”

As mentioned, the film rehearses the case against the banning of DDT: “As related by Patrick Moore, ‘Millions of people died over the last 40 or 50 years’ as a result of the ban on DDT use in third-world countries, and ‘malaria sky-rocketed in countries like Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa’. Sam Zaramba, from the Ugandan Health Ministry, relates that 370 children die from malaria every day in his country; it is estimated that between 500 and 800 million people currently have malaria worldwide, mostly in poor countries. Regarding this, Mr Zaramba asks sadly ‘who anointed free-earth, save the earth, global warming crowd, anti-DDT crowd, that the blacks and the other third world people suffer with malaria and mosquitos?’”

As to the claims about man-made climate change, and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, the film makes a number of important points. Carter continues, “The greatest hurt of anti-carbon dioxide taxation, and related measures, will be imposed on third-world countries. As Nigel Lawson points out, those calling for massive carbon dioxide reduction are in fact ‘The enemies of poverty reduction in the developing world’. But, as he added, the man in the street in western countries is also going to be disadvantaged, and has yet to understand that the environmental rhetoric around global warming will cause ‘an increasing cost of energy, slower rate of economic growth and less prosperity all round than would otherwise be the case’.”

Carter concludes, “Not Evil, Just Wrong considers many matters that relate to emissions trading legislation in powerful fashion, yet the film is as much or more concerned with people as it is with science. For, in the end, it is people, and especially poor people, who are going to be hurt by the current propaganda campaign against the environmentally beneficial trace gas that carbon dioxide in fact represents.”

It is hoped that this film gets a very wide hearing indeed. Too much sloppy gloom and doom-ism has been allowed to circulate in the MSM by the likes of Gore and others. Some common sense realism is the order of the day.

Those wanting to see a trailer of the film or order a copy for themselves can refer to the links below.

www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/10/not-evil-just-wrong-reviewed
www.noteviljustwrong.com/

[1107 words]

13 Replies to “Resisting the Green Merchants of Doom”

  1. The other aspect of all this unfounded “gloom and doom-ism” concerning climate-change is that it distracts attention from the real problems we face such as with terrorism and the Islamisation of the West.

    Ewan McDonald.

  2. I was just thinking a few days ago about the matter of global warming. Assuming it is true, the question remains as to what the cause is. I don’t for one minute buy into the Al Gore-steria which has long since swamped sound thinking on the matter. Environmentalism is, to paraphrase Chairman Mao, war fought by other means.

    As I was thinking, it occurred to me that the very same people who are now citing the rapid warming of earth’s climate over the last 30-50 years, due presumably to mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, are the same ones who would buy into the scientific evolutionist view that dictates that millions, indeed tens or hundreds of millions of years are needed for the global climactic changes to have occurred to bring about the emergence and’or demise of various plant and animal species. Presumably, now we are witnessing the mass extinction of great numbers of species, including the much-celebrated polar bears. Are we really so powerful as to destroy the planet in less than 100 years?

    On a related point, why worry about the demise of any species, including humans, when evolution will dutifully churn out, over millions of years, countless new genetic twists and turns? Only if one truly believes in creation and a Creator God would and should anyone care about the fate of this planet.

    Steve Swartz

  3. Oh, what a relief to read you article.

    I feel exactly the same and blog about this frequently and it is a daily frustration for me to read our biased mainstream media and politicians spew their rhetoric.

    Stuart Mackay, UK

  4. That’s an interesting point, Steve. If humankind has ‘survived’ countless other events over ‘tens of millions of years’, then shouldn’t we be able to evolve to respond to global warming? For that matter, shouldn’t I have stopped getting sunburnt a long time ago? And does that mean the obesity crisis isn’t a crisis at all, because our grandchildren will have evolved to be able to handle greater amounts of saturated fat?

    This is just another example of the media and politicians jumping onto the latest bandwagon driven by some random with a science degree (or without one!).

    Christie Ewens

  5. Christie,
    The rhetoric of the Green movement is built on two assumptions: (1) that the environment is “fragile” and constantly at a “tipping point”, and (2) that man is a toxic factor in the environmental mix. Both of these assumptions are, to be quite candid, sheer claptrap. The first is demonstrably false – the environment has a remarkable ability to recover and ‘bounce back’, as it were; and the second is downright anti-human. Yet one finds these assumptions coming out constantly in green rhetoric until I am utterly tired of it. You find it on signs in national parks (particularly the first), at beaches, in forests, etc. etc. One also finds it in the ‘noble savage’ ideal, still a shibboleth of the Left in general and the Green movement in particular.

    These are just some of the assumptions which reveal to me how the world has gone utterly mad. And to underline this point we now have Gordon Brown, and Tim ‘flim-flam’ Flannery, telling us that we have only until the end of this year to avert environmental catastrophe. Yeah, I’ve heard this before:

    “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
    There will, without a doubt;
    We’ll all be rooned”, said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

    Murray Adamthwaite

  6. Well done Bill, spot-on as usual. Yes, as you say, the global warming scam – like others – is just a vehicle for politicians to get more power, and have more control over populations (particularly, Western politicians gaining control over Third World populations). But we can be optimistic on this one; the AGW scam shows clear signs -green shoots indeed – of cracking.
    John Thomas, UK

  7. As for the home-grown warm-mongers who blame every drought and forest fire on man-made warming, oops sorry, “climate change”, remember Dorothea MacKellar’s iconic poem My Country, from 1904!

    I love a sunburnt country, a lof droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror-the wide brown land for me!

    Core of my heart, my country! Land of the rainbow gold,
    For flood and fire and famine she pays us back threefold.
    Over the thirsty paddocks,
    watch, after many days,
    The filmy veil of greenness that thickens as we gaze.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  8. My last 76 years have been a journey of unlearning. Fact and opinion are confused. I endorse this article without reservation.
    Stan Fishley

  9. I just got done watching the film twice, the second time with the commentary track, which is worth doing. Directors Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney provide comments, along with Production Manager Magdalena Segieda. There are a few statements that deserved to be transcribed:

    Phelim McAleer: “It’s a fantastic story that the environmentalists are now the true enemies of the poor”

    ———-

    Ann McElhinney: “It’s funny you know because we tell this joke, you know, like we used to think that Americans who home school their children were, you know, religious nutjobs, and we would’ve been very… and I would’ve said that… I would’ve said that to people, you know…without knowing…”

    P: “That’s because we’re Europeans!”

    A: “…mainly because we’re classical European liberals, whatever, and then you discover, you know, that this film is being called science – this film An Inconvenient Truth is shown in schools – children are forced to watch it in schools – and it’s full of flaws and I s’pose as a teacher, that really galls me, that upsets me, ’cause children should only get the very best of what’s available in terms of factual knowledge.”

    P: “Well I say to parents now, get your kids out of school, home school them all, because they’re being taught… you know schools are no longer centres of education, they’re ideological hatcheries. …for …the ideology they’re teaching is far left environmentalism.”

    ———-

    P: “It’s very interesting how environmentalists they always pick the cute animals that are gonna die cause of global warming, so we’re gonna have less polar bears, we’re gonna have less pandas, less dolphins; we’re gonna have more rats and more mosquitos… so it looks like global warming has a sort of beauty index where it only kills the beautiful animals and the ugly index where it means we’ll have more ugly animals. Or is it environmentalists spinning this, knowing what appeals to children, what appeals to humans, and it’s got nothing to do with science, it’s got to do with marketing, and you can’t beat a polar bear.
    Coca-Cola knew that, that’s why they have a polar bear advertising Coca-Cola. So if you want to sell something, especially to children, get a polar bear. …and if you really want to sell something, tell them the polar bears are gonna die. …and that’s not science, that’s manipulation.”

    ———-

    On Mad Cow disease no longer being an issue:

    P: “It’s always a new day for environmentalism, they never have say they’re sorry, they never have to say they were wrong, they never have to examine what they did in the past. Tomorrow’s a new day and tomorrow’s a new scare.”

    ———-

    A: “Phelim and I thought, well we’re in Ireland – the home of music, it’s the home of great music, so this is going to be a piece of, this is going to be a really nice job actually
    so we started bringing composers in. And I decided the best thing to do was to show them this section of the film, this section that we filmed in Uganda which has a huge effect on everyone that sees it, particularly these pictures Mick O’Rourke took in hospital there, beautiful beautiful pictures, but pictures of human suffering. …and I brought in a… nameless composer… let me say, from Ireland.”

    P: “It wasn’t Bono!”

    A: “…and it wasn’t Bono – showed this section of the film and then when it ended I just sort of sat there in silence and I obviously was waiting for lots of… for him to be… I mean I actually thought he was going to be so moved by cause this, the sensitivity of a composer, and then he looked at me and said, “What motivated you to do this film?”
    …and this is after him witnessing, you know, these extraordinary pictures of these children, this is after him hearing that 370 children die unnecessarily every day in Uganda, and it kinds of, it kinds of brings out an important point here about ideology and about people not liking, not liking this story because it challenges, it genuinely challenges everything that they have held dear, I think, that’s the problem, it was a shock to me.”

    Magdalena Segieda: “Yeah and I had the same experience when showing the film to some of my friends in Europe because they would watch the DDT section and then when we were talking about it they would just completely dismiss it and I think it, you know, for them its so hard to comprehend, that a tragedy like that could happen for no reason, that they prefer just not to believe it – it’s easier.”

    P: “Yeah it’s easier not to believe something or not… because… If you believe the DDT story then it challenges relly all the leftist environmentalist stuff that you’re taught as you grow up.”

    ———-
    There’s other good stuff about how the media ignored reporting on the British High Court assessment of An Inconvenient Truth, how Greenpeace and WWF have seats on the UN, but no-one representing the poor in Africa or middle America. They also talk about the class aspect of the environmentalists, how it’s typically affluent people who can afford the higher skyrocketing energy costs that will happen if coal is not used. And lots more… worth watching, definitely – and they’ve moved up a bit from their other doco, Mine Your Own Business, which I actually bought and watched 2 or 3 years back.

    Considering what dreadfulness is being proposed in Copenhagen in December, I hope the message of this documentary gets traction amongst as many decision-makers as possible.

    Mark Rabich

  10. The Sky is(n’t) Falling

    DDT Pause in typhoid war
    Scores of mosquito sores.

    More Wars. Dead on the floors. Slaughter.
    Doors closed on the gnawing, clawing poor.

    Saw Gore? Boring jaws.
    “Warning – Warming.”
    Hockey Stick scoring.
    Inconvenient British Law says,
    “Education Warning – Flawed Gore”

    Patrick Moore, shows the flaws
    “Warning – No Warming.”
    Standard Deviation Amplitude coursing.
    Polar paws haven’t paused!
    CO2 is normal, naturally, of course.

    What’s it for?
    PC law = Gaia lore.
    God’s law – don’t worship the creation

    What’s in store?
    Exploring tax reforming
    forced ETS law
    Political whoring.

    Ensuring the poor are poor for ever more?

    NOT ON OUR SHORES!
    Not even yours.

    Shalom, Michael Evans

  11. Very well done Michael.

    We clearly have a mighty poet in our midst. From now on, mere prose commentary will forever appear to be merely second rate!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. Bill, its just that your apologetics ministry is inspiring.
    Shalom, Michael Evans

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