Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Earth Day II

John Tierney, writing in the New York Times has some lessons for “Turqs” on “Earth day”- environmentalist guided by science, not nostalgia or technophobia. He writes that on the first earth day, orators were creating scary predictions on “overpopulation, famine, exhaustion of fossil fuels, global shortages of vital minerals, pollution, pesticides, cancer epidemics, nuclear-reactor meltdowns, and assorted technological disasters.” Nothing came true. The problem of climate change is relatively new. He quotes Michael Specter: “Total reliance on organic farming would force African countries to devote twice as much land per crop as we do in the United States. An organic universe sounds delightful, but it could consign millions of people in Africa and throughout much of Asia to malnutrition and death.” And Mr. Brand on frankenfood: “I daresay the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we’ve been wrong about. We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool.” He also points out that less than 1% of the earth is dependent on green energy as it is costly.

Richard Tren and Donald Roberts have another column on “How Bad Science Opened Door for Malaria” in USA Today. “Back in the 1940s, scientists realized that the chemical dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, could stop epidemics of insect-borne diseases such as typhus. Its lifesaving potential was considered such a boon to mankind that the scientist who discovered it, Paul Mueller, won the Nobel Prize. The chemical would soon surpass all expectations in controlling malaria around the world and go on to save millions of lives.” “Early environmentalists made pesticides one of their chief bugaboos. Rachel Carson, who helped launch the modern environmental movement, was among them. In her now-famous 1962 book Silent Spring, she argued that DDT, when sprayed on a Michigan campus to halt the spread of Dutch elm disease, would spread far and wide and harm robins' ability to reproduce. Carson's anti-pesticide stance was taken up by many ecologists and led to the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban DDT. By then, malaria had been eradicated in the USA, but it was still a scourge across much of the world.”

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