January 2005 (vol. 21, #2)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2001 Physicians for Civil Defense
In the bad old days, when much of the world map was colored pink for British colonies, a number of western European nations held colonies in the Third World. They definitely tried to impose Western values and laws. They opposed cannibalism, the Hindu custom of burning widows alive, and other local customs. They sent physicians and missionaries to save lives and souls. They “exploited” natural resources for minerals, timber, ivory, and agricultural products.
Most of the world has thrown off the old colonial masters. The Pax Britannia is over; civil war is rampant. The New World Order in the West opposes “racism.” It celebrates racial and cultural “diversity,” tolerating native practices such as female genital mutilation. It applauds primitive (“indigenous”) lifestyles that purportedly place less stress on the Environment. It pours money into the coffers of chosen regimes, and projects to promote “health.” But it does not refrain from using coercive means to impose its own values.
The values are not those of Albert Schweitzer, who concluded during a medical mission to Africa that the “elementary and universal conception of the ethical” was reverence for life (Out of My Life and Thought, 1933, 1949).
The new masters impose policies with the end result of massive death–whatever intentions they may profess. These policies would deny the poorest people on earth the life-giving technology they need to escape deprivation and despair.
One method is to deny investment dollars, needed to generate electricity, create jobs, and improve health, to countries that deviate from green ideology. JP Morgan Chase is the latest target of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which has previously demanded that the Worldbank, Citigroup, and Bank of America pull funds out of projects that cut timber or develop hydrocarbon fuels. RAN gets teachers and schoolchildren to send posters to the CEO, asking him to “protect the rainforest, instead of hurting the Earth for oil.”
Standing up to RAN demagogues would do more for the world's poor than the $3 million in aid to tsunami victims that Morgan Chase has promised, write Niger Innis and Paul Driessen of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
Wishes and Horses for Africa
A critical need for underdeveloped nations is electricity. Paul Driessen writes:
“In those destitute lands, 2 billion people still don’t have electricity. Nearly a billion struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day. In India alone, 150 million households rely on firewood, dung and agriculture waste for cooking, analyst Barun Mitra points out. These fuels are 20 times less efficient, 20 times more polluting, than electricity or natural gas.
“As a result, four million children and mothers worldwide die every year from lung infections. Millions more perish from unsafe water, malnutrition and disease, in regions where clinics and hospitals are few and often have electricity only intermittently, if at all.
“These communities desperately need abundant, reliable, affordable electricity–for basic necessities that wealthy countries take for granted, to create economic opportunities and jobs, and help them end the vicious cycle of foreign aid, corruption, poverty, disease and early death.
“But in the name of protecting the planet from dams, fossil fuels, global warming and development that might lure people away from `indigenous lifestyles,' Western activists continue to block energy projects. In their view, wind and solar are the only `appropriate' sources for these nations.
“The Rainforest Action Network and International Rivers Network pressure banks and energy companies to abandon hydroelectric and fossil fuel projects, and support only renewables. Friends of the Earth is `proud' that it’s stopped over 300 hydroelectric projects. The Earth Island Institute longs for the day when Africa’s poor made clothing for their neighbors `on foot-pedal-powered sewing machines,' and says `once they get electricity, they spend too much time watching television and listening to the radio.'
“Lavishly funded by foundations, governments and corporations, Greenpeace, Sierra Club and dozens of other activist groups likewise wage war on life-giving technologies.”
What these foundations want for Africa, Driessen writes, is the equivalent of an equine mirage: wind power.
That's the technology that produces 0.1% of America's electricity–at very high cost, masked by subsidies and special tax treatment. A single gas-fired power plant in California generates more electricity in a year than all 13,000 of the state's wind turbines, and on 15 acres instead of 105,000. And those turbines kill thousands of birds every year.
“No wonder wind plays a near-zero role in the United States and Europe,” Driessen states. “To impose this energy mirage on Kenya, Uganda, India, Bolivia, and other impoverished nations would be a human and ecological disaster.”
“Developing nations should not have to accept this,” Driessen concludes. “If `human rights' mean anything, they should begin with the most basic one of all: life itself.
“Caring people everywhere need to do more to encourage corporate CEOs, directors, shareholders and `social responsibility' officers to resist environmentalist pressure and help bring modern technology to the world’s poor. Without an adequate energy generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, vast regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America will remain mired in abject poverty, and millions will continue to die.”
Starvation and DiseaseM
Adequate electricity, of course, is not enough. But access to the means to meet even more basic needs is also denied by environmental activists. Anti-biotechnology zealots–with $500 million in funding from EU governments, foundations, and organic food companies–spread rumors that bioengineered rice is poisonous. Children starve, allegedly to prevent what Jeremy Rifkin called “a form of annihilation every bit as deadly as nuclear holocaust.” And they die of malaria, allegedly to protect the Earth (and birds that escape windmills) from DDT.
Have we replaced colonialism with genocide?
[Paul Driessen's full columns are posted at www.oism.org/ddp.]
“How...can anyone responsibly favor the burning of more hydrocarbons?” environmental radicals ask. “The short answer is that, for most people, the only practical alternative today is to burn carbohydrates [wood, biomass], and that's much worse,” say Peter Huber and Mark Mills in their forthcoming book The Bottomless Well (TWTW 12/25/04).
Developing countries are balking at the CO2 emissions reductions envisioned for the next step after Kyoto. Why should they agree? Not a single one of the 38 nations to which Kyoto limits now apply are in compliance: not one. Key players in the climate debate are coming around to President Bush's position, writes Nick Schulz, editor of TechCentralStation.com: Kyoto is “fatally flawed.”
The number of “natural disasters” has increased from about 100 per year in the early 1960s to as many as 500 per year in the early 2000s, said Daniel Sarewitz, a professor of science and society at Arizona State University. It's not that hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other such calamities have become stronger or more frequent, but that humans have pushed into soggy floodplains or built vast, fragile cities along fault lines. Rich countries have changed building techniques and and political systems to deal with inevitable disasters; poorer countries cannot.
Istanbul, Tehran, New Delhi, and other shabbily constructed cities are “rubble in waiting.” When an earthquake leveled the Iranian city of Bam in 2003, more than 26,000 people were crushed to death by their own homes. Several earthquake experts use the term “seismic gap” to describe the difference between the ability of rich cities and poor ones to withstand earthquake damage.
Only about 10% of the money spent on disaster relief by government agencies and institutions like the World Bank goes for preventive measures. Most is for post-disaster relief and reconstruction projects. Yet, simple measures adopted by Bangladesh–such as installing high platforms for people to climb above floodwaters, have sharply reduced mortality rates from flooding since the 1970s.
“[W]e're living on an edge where things can go terribly wrong if we're not attentive,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. “But we also have magnificent knowledge and technologies that could make the outcomes far better than they are now. The tsunami assault ...could be a call to action” (quoted by Andrew Revkin, NY Times 1/2/05).
In response to Revkin's article, S. Fred Singer writes: “The moral seems to be: richer is not only better but safer.... Let's not waste resources on hyped catastrophes that exist only in computer models” (TWTW 1/8/05, www.sepp.org).
No, the recent tsunami wasn't engineered by the cabal of environmentalists in Michael Crichton's latest best-selling novel State of Fear, to create public support for Kyoto. But some are still trying to get political mileage out of it. Johann Hari wrote, in an article entitled “Weather of mass destruction,” that 95% of “environmental scientists” (all those not “on the payroll of oil companies”) believe that extreme weather events are “becoming more frequent” (Canberra Times 1/3/05). On the contrary, writes D. Zivkovic in a letter to the editor, “the number of extreme hurricanes making landfall in the USA has actually fallen since 1960, and 19 out of the 30 most intense storms since 1900 occurred prior to 1960” (ibid.).
Adding to the death toll of 157,000 from the tsunami could be 100,000 deaths from malaria if mosquitoes cannot be controlled. The pools of salt water, diluted by seasonal rains, have created the largest set of mosquito breeding sites that Indonesia has seen in its history (AP 1/14/05).
Only about 30 million doses of the key antimalarial drug Coartem will be available, of the 60 million WHO says will be needed in 2005. At $2.40 per course of treatment, effective combination therapy based on artemisinin is beyond the reach of the world's poorest people. There are between 300 million and 500 million infections per year, killing children and sapping the vitality of African adults.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated nearly $40 million to an effort to develop more affordable and accessible artemisinin, made by bioengineered bacteria. The effort may pay off in 5 years. Meanwhile, relief agencies distribute bednets and ineffective drugs, and refuse to endorse the use of insecticides (which was not even mentioned in an article about Millennium Development Goals, N Engl J Med 2005;352:115-117)–while malaria incidence has increased 10% in the past few years (Wall St J 12/13/04, 12/20/04).
Gates grant recipient OneWorld Health also hopes to develop a malaria vaccine and remedies for other insect-borne diseases, apparently without bothering the insects.
The deficit in solid cancers among Chernobyl liquidators, compared with nonexposed workers, is reportedly 12% (95% CI, 0.76-1.02) (J Radiat Res 2004;45:41-44; see www.jstage.jst.go.jp).
Global warmers claim that “the merest smidgeonette of an increase in temperature in the south polar seabed” will cause algae to vanish and the tiny krill that feed on it to perish. Soon “at the scenic end of the food chain, all those cute seals and penguins and whales will be gone,” writes Mark Steyn (“Species Come and Go–and So Do We,” Daily Telegraph 12/14/04).
“What we do know for certain is that the krill's chances of survival are a lot greater than, say, those of the Italians, or the Germans, or the Japanese, Russians, Greeks and Spaniards, all of whom will be in steep population decline long before the Antarctic krill. By 2025, one in every three Japanese will be over 65, and that statistic depends on the two out of three who aren't over 65 sticking around to pay the tax bills required to support the biggest geriatric population in history....
“Given the choice about the krill's hypothetically impending extinction and their own impending extinction already under way, Europeans would apparently rather fret about the denizens of the deep. Even Chesterton, who observed that once man has ceased to believe in God he'll believe in anything, might have marvelled at how swift the decay from post-Christian to post-evolutionary....”
[Steyn's complete column is posted at www.sepp.org/weekwas/2004/Dec.%2025.htm, TWTW 12/25/04.]