These are quite creative. I wonder who invented them?
These are quite creative. I wonder who invented them?
Especially for international audiences, often distributed by U.S. Embassies in foreign nations, the U.S. State Department offers a wealth of information about the United States, our businesses and heritage, and our history and national heroes.
For several years State has made available a 20 page booklet on Rachel Carson, one of the great drivers of the modern conservation movement after 1960. It was created in 2007, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Carson’s birth.
It keeps moving. Today I’m unable to find it at the site of the U.S. State Department, except through our Embassy to South Korea. I fear the document may go away, and I frequently refer people to it.
I’m making it available here, as insurance against its going away from State Department sites.
If you haven’t read it, take a look. If you’re a teacher of literature, or biology or science, or history, consider this as a resource for your students.
Three extended essays make up the substance of the book. Phyllis McIntosh wrote, “A Quiet Woman Whose Book Spoke Loudly.” Michael Jay Friedman discussed the effects of Carson’s work and writings, “A Book That Changed a Nation.” And distinguished entomologist May Berenbaum contributed an essay on the actual controversies about the hard choices involved in dealing with pesticide safety, “A Persistent Controversy, A Still Valid Warning.” There is a photo essay covering 50 years, and a series of links and other sources, good for students.
If you find those links no longer work, please comment below — and maybe send me an e-mail.
Exposure of pregnant mice to the pesticide DDT is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and related conditions in female offspring later in life, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis.
The study, published online July 30 in the journal PLOS ONE, is the first to show that developmental exposure to DDT increases the risk of females later developing metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that include increased body fat, blood glucose and cholesterol.
DDT was banned in the United States in the 1970s but continues to be used for malaria control in countries including India and South Africa.
Scientists gave mice doses of DDT comparable to exposures of people living in malaria-infested regions where it is regularly sprayed, as well as of pregnant mothers of U.S. adults who are now in their 50s.
“The women and men this study is most applicable to in the United States are currently at the age when they’re more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, because these are diseases of middle- to late adulthood,” said lead author Michele La Merrill, assistant professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis.
The scientists found that exposure to DDT before birth slowed the metabolism of female mice and lowered their tolerance of cold temperature. This increased their likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome and its host of related conditions.
“As mammals, we have to regulate our body temperature in order to live,” La Merrill said. “We found that DDT reduced female mice’s ability to generate heat. If you’re not generating as much heat as the next guy, instead of burning calories, you’re storing them.”
The study found stark gender differences in the mice’s response to DDT. Females were at higher risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cholesterol, but in males, DDT exposure did not affect obesity or cholesterol levels and caused only a minor increase in glucose levels.
A high fat diet also caused female mice to have more problems with glucose, insulin and cholesterol but was not a risk factor for males. The sex differences require further research, the authors said.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Co-authors include Emma Karey and Michael La Frano of UC Davis; John Newman of UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Erin Moshier, Claudia Lindtner, and Christoph Buettner of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
About UC Davis
UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.
In the past five decades, the case that DDT and its daughter metabolites damage human health in subtle but extremely destructive ways constantly mounted. Perhaps Rachel Carson was right to urge much more study of the stuff, in Silent Spring. Perhaps the National Academy of Sciences was right when it called for a rapid phasing out of DDT use in 1970, after noting it had been one of the greatest lifesaving pesticides ever known.
In 1972 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited use of DDT in agriculture. Use in day-to-day indoor extermination had ended earlier; bedbugs had become almost wholly immune to DDT by 1960. The U.S. ban was predicated on damage to wildlife, not human health. The order allowed U.S. DDT manufacturers to continue to make the stuff for export to other nations. Exports continued from 1972 to 1984, when the Superfund required manufacturers to clean up any pollution they may have caused.
John Quiggin, co-author of the one of the best and biggest take downs of the DDT hoaxers, caught wind of that nasty piece at the misnomered “Greener Ideals,” and has taken on Mischa Popoff in a post at Crooked Timber.
John’s audience likes to leave comments; the discussion is robust in places (and off the rails in others, though that’s not Quiggin’s fault).
Another good reason to follow the National Archives on Twitter, Tumblr and other media: Great updates.
Like this one on the explosive arrival of the Atomic Age:
On July 16, 1945 the United States tested a nuclear device, code named “Trinity”, for the first time in White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.
Left: [“Jumbo” atomic device being positioned for “Trinity” test at Alamogordo, New Mexico.], 1945
Right: [“Trinity” explosion], 07/16/1945
Fights over genetically-modified organism (GMO) foods take some odd turns. Some anti-GMO people point to the dangers of DDT in the past as a warning to be super cautious; and some pro-GMO people claim DDT wasn’t all that bad.
Before we hold up the history and science and law of DDT as an example, can we at least get the facts right? That generally is a failing of the pro-DDT people.
Like Mischa Popoff at Greener Ideal.
In its first major action in 1972, the United States Environmental Protection Agency made history by banning dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). It led to a worldwide ban, all based on the public outcry elicited by marine biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring.
This marks the beginning of the organic movement in America, and remains a badge of honor for organic activists, in spite of the fact that this ban resulted in the deaths of over 41 million people – roughly the same number of people Chairman Mao murdered in his Great Leap Forward – as public-health authorities lost their only effective means of controlling mosquitos that act as a vector for tropical diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
[There's more, dealing with making the case for GMO foods; feel free to click over and read his opinion.]
Who’d have thought of such an image, before we used satellites to look?
NASA’s press release, from June 27, 2014:
A suite of NASA’s Sun-gazing spacecraft have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast puffs forced the slow ejection of a massive burst of solar material from the Sun’s atmosphere. The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on Jan. 17, 2013. Nathalia Alzate, a solar scientist at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales, presented findings on what caused the puffs at the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth, England.
The sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona, is made of magnetized solar material, called plasma, that has a temperature of millions of degrees and extends millions of miles into space. On January 17, the joint European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, spacecraft observed puffs emanating from the base of the corona and rapidly exploding outwards into interplanetary space. The puffs occurred roughly once every three hours. After about 12 hours, a much larger eruption of material began, apparently eased out by the smaller-scale explosions.
By looking at high-resolution images taken by NASA’s NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO), or SDO, and NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, over the same time period and in different wavelengths, Alzate and her colleagues could focus on the cause of the puffs and the interaction between the small and large-scale eruptions.
“Looking at the corona in extreme ultraviolet light we see the source of the puffs is a series of energetic jets and related flares,” said Alzate. “The jets are localized, catastrophic releases of energy that spew material out from the sun into space. These rapid changes in the magnetic field cause flares, which release a huge amount of energy in a very short time in the form of super-heated plasma, high-energy radiation and radio bursts. The big, slow structure is reluctant to erupt, and does not begin to smoothly propagate outwards until several jets have occurred.”
Because the events were observed by multiple spacecraft, each viewing the sun from a different perspective, Alzate and her colleagues were able to resolve the three-dimensional configuration of the eruptions. This allowed them to estimate the forces acting on the slow eruption and discuss possible mechanisms for the interaction between the slow and fast phenomena.
“We still need to understand whether there are shock waves, formed by the jets, passing through and driving the slow eruption,” said Alzate. “Or whether magnetic reconfiguration is driving the jets allowing the larger, slow structure to slowly erupt. Thanks to recent advances in observation and in image processing techniques we can throw light on the way jets can lead to small and fast, or large and slow, eruptions from the Sun.”
Van Gogh painted rather unusual images of the Sun and stars; Turner painted perhaps more life-like images. There are many interesting views of the Sun in art, by Monet, and many, many others.
But who conceived of any image like this one from NASA, above?
What private entity could ever do that?
British biologist J. B. S. Haldane said:
I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
♦ Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286
Haldane may as well have added, the universe is not only more beautiful that we imagine, but more beautiful than we can imagine. Reality trumps fiction yet again.
Here’s the press release from EPA’s Region 6 office:
EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for Voestalpine Iron Production Plant
$740M facility in San Patricio Co., TX, will bring 1,400 construction jobs and150 permanent jobs
DALLAS – (June 16, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Voestalpine for an iron production plant in San Patricio County, TX. The facility’s process for producing iron will use minimal natural gas and will be 40 percent more efficient than traditional methods. The permit is another in the series of permits drafted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and issued by EPA under a program to facilitate timely permitting for applicants in the State of Texas.
“Voestalpine shows energy efficiency is a common-sense strategy for success, not just in business but for the environment as well,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “The joint EPA and TCEQ permitting program is helping Texas business grow while building greener plants.”
The plant will reduce iron ore pellets, which will be used as raw material input at steel mills. The direct reduced iron process will use only clean-burning natural gas instead of solid fossil fuels. The estimated project cost is $740 million and will bring 1,400 construction jobs to the area. Once complete, the facility will create around 150 permanent jobs.
In June 2010, EPA finalized national GHG regulations, which specify that beginning on January 2, 2011, projects that increase GHG emissions substantially will require an air permit.
EPA believes states are best equipped to run GHG air permitting programs. Texas is working to replace a federal implementation plan with its own state program, which will eliminate the need for businesses to seek air permits from EPA. This action will increase efficiency and allow for industry to continue to grow in Texas.
EPA has finalized 43 GHG permits in Texas, proposed an additional six permits, and currently has 21 additional GHG permit applications under review and permit development in Texas.
For all of the latest information on GHG permits in Texas please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r6/Apermit.nsf/AirP
This is big news, really. Texas constantly complains about regulations on greenhouse gases, and regularly and constantly sues EPA to stop regulation. Texas and it’s wacky governor Rick Perry constantly complain that EPA regulation harms jobs, and that permits never really get issued. So this announcement should be front page news in most Texas newspapers.
How was it covered?
That’s it for Texas media. Where are the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express, the El Paso Times? Big market TV and radio?
National coverage was limited to low-circulation newsletters.
Seems to me that these issues of actual action on climate change, are under-reported.
The latest Carnival of Evolution is up, over at Evolution: Education and Outreach. Adam Goldstein curated this one.
Evolution sheds light on global warming and its effects, even:
Adaptation to drought conditions. Casey Terhorst’s post begins, “Global climate change will increase the frequency and duration of drought in many places,” reporting the surprising result that understanding the response of soil microbes to a drought requires an understanding of the reaction of plants with which they share the soil. Perhaps most striking is the claim that important evolutionary changes can occur in as few as three generations of the plants, an elapsed time of 6 months.
Hey, while you’re at it, take a look at Carnival of Evolution #71, too, at Chimeras.
Or is there any “knee” in that at all? Maybe it’s just jerk.
You know the drill. Someone says something nice about Rachel Carson’s great work. Someone on the right can’t stand that a scientist gets spoken of well, comes unglued, and spills every lie about Rachel Carson anyone can find, including the big lie, that “millions of kids died unnecessarily because DDT was banned because Rachel Carson lied about DDT, which is really a lot like sugar water to humans and all other living things.”
For the record, each of those claims is false; in reverse order:
In short, Rachel Carson is exactly as the history books present her, a very good scientist with a special gift for communicating science issues.
That’s exactly the stuff that galls the hell out of self-proclaimed conservatives, especially those who know they are the smartest person in any room, even an internet chat room with a few million people in it. Say something good about a scientist, and they know that statement must be false, and what’s more “. . . let’s see, there should be something bad about this guy on Google . . . um, yeah . . . yessss! here, Lyndon Larouche’s magazine has some guy I’ve never heard of, but he’s smarter than any librul because he agrees with my bias! Take THAT you scurvy dog!” And in short order they’ve scooped up all five or six nuts who said bad stuff about Rachel Carson and cross-cited each other, and they’ve copied the links to the three articles on the internet that obscure groups like CEI and AEI and Heritage have paid to raise in the Google searches, and . . .
Done deal. “Good scientist! Heh! No one will listen to old Rachel Carson any more!”
Unless good people stand up to the reputation lynch mobs, and stop them. That’s why I’m telling you, so you’ll have the stuff you need to stand up. I’m hoping you will stand up.
Shortly after dawn on May 27, Twitchy rose out of the mucky water and lobbed some mud balls at Google and especially Rachel Carson. Twitchy is an interesting site. It’s mostly composed of Tweets that support conservative causes and are snarky enough earn a snicker. In short, there is no fact checking, and biases are preferred — whatever is the imagined conservative bias of the day (oddly enough, never is conservation of soil, water, nor human life ever a conservative-enough issue . . . but I digress).
It’s the nervous twitch of a knee-jerk mind and knee-jerk political mentality.
Twitchy opened up with a straightforward salvo from IowaHawk.
Google celebrating Rachel Carson this morning; her millions of malaria victims, not so much.—
David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 27, 2014
Note that, above, and again below, I note that there were no “millions of malaria victims” of Rachel Carson. IowaHawk, David Burge, assumes — without a whit of real information — that DDT was the key to beating malaria, and so after the EPA ban on DDT, malaria must have risen, and so there must have been millions who died unnecessarily. Challenge the guy to put evidence to any part of that chain, and he’ll demur, probably suggest you’re mentally defective, and cast aspersions on what he assumes your political stand to be. Or, he’ll ignore the challenge in hopes everybody will forget. And another person will retweet Burge’s disinformative bit of propaganda — no facts, but what sounds like a nasty charge at someone who is presumed to be a liberal. Burge’s erroneous Tweet had 504 retweets when I wrote this on June 1, great impact.
Eh. Truth wins in a fair fight, Ben Franklin said. [I'm pretty sure it was Franklin; I'm still sourcing it, and if you have a correction, let me know!]
At length, more people chime in . . . and the level of misinformation in that discourse makes me crazy.
Occasionally I’ll drop in a correction, often a link to contrary information. Then the abuse is astonishing. This conservative “hate information” machine is ugly.
Sometimes I unload. I was on hold for a more than an hour on a couple of phone calls that day. Some guy working the handle OmaJohn took great exception to something I said — I think his complaint was that thought I knew what I was talking about — and of course, he knew better! How dare I refer to facts!
Here’s my response. I think OmaJohn may have gotten the message, or rethought the thing.
But others haven’t.
I list his statements, indented; my responses are not indented. Links will be added as I can. All images are added here.
Rachel Carson is still right, still a great scientist and an amazing writer. DDT is still poisonous, still banned for agricultural use in the U.S., and still not the answer to “how do we beat malaria.”
Always with the crow’s lofty view to try and cherry-pick facts to paint a valid conclusion.
I wouldn’t know, Mr. Corvus. I’ve been looking at DDT professionally for science and policy, and as a hobby, and for law and history courses, for more than 30 years. I’m rather drowning in studies and statistics. A crow might be able to find some information that contradicts Rachel Carson’s writings and EPA’s rulings — but it’s not evident in this data ocean. You see some of those cherries? Do they outweigh the ocean they float in?
I do like how you use blogs to justify your condescension, though. [He complaining that I offered links to answers here, at this blog; how brazenly wrong of me to study an issue!]
I think your denigration of people who actually study a subject is ill-advised behavior. Research papers are printed on paper, just like comic books. It’s up to us to use the information to form cogent ideas about history, science, and make good policy as a result. The blogs I cite are often written by experts in the field — see especially Bug Girl, Tim Lambert and John Quiggen — and they most often provide links to the original sources.
(I gather you didn’t bother to read to see what was actually there. Your loss.)
I don’t like what appears to be your view that your non-informed opinion of something you really know little about is as valid as the work of people who devote their lives to getting the facts right. In the long run, your life depends on their winning that game, and always has.
Without having read a lot, I took a gander at a few of the folks ‘on the other side’ on this, and I was Jack’s complete lack of surprise to see you in here with your head high, throwing around blog references and talking down to people.
Much as you are talking down to me, from your position has head muckraker? I see.
I’m not sure what you mean by “folks on the other side.” If you mean on the other side of Rachel Carson, please note that in 52 years not a single science source she listed has ever been found to be in error, or fading as a result of changing science. Discover Magazine took a look at this issue in 2007, concluding Carson was right, and DDT use should be restricted as it was then and remains. The author wrote this, about claims that Carson erred on damage to birds from DDT:
In fact, Carson may have underestimated the impact of DDT on birds, says Michael Fry, an avian toxicologist and director of the American Bird Conservancy’s pesticides and birds program. She was not aware that DDT—or rather its metabolite, DDE—causes eggshell thinning because the data were not published until the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was eggshell thinning that devastated fish-eating birds and birds of prey, says Fry, and this effect is well documented in a report (pdf) on DDT published in 2002 by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The report, which cites over 1,000 references, also describes how DDT and its breakdown products accumulate in the tissues of animals high up on terrestrial and aquatic food chains—a process that induced reproductive and neurological defects in birds and fish.
Don’t take my word for it. Go read for yourself. Check out PubMed, and read the first 50 citations you find on DDT and birds, the first 20 on DDT and human health, the first 50 on DDT and malaria. Check out the recent good books on the issue — William Souder’s great biography of Carson last year, On a Farther Shore, or Sonia Shah’s wonderful biography of malaria, [The Fever, How malaria has ruled humankind for 500,000 years].
Get real facts, in other words. Don’t talk down to people who might know what they’re talking about.
DDT use was officially stopped in most countries (perhaps all, I’ve not read anything I’d tout as even remotely conclusive, but I’ve not spent a substantial amount of time on this issue), but quickly (within a decade) was brought back to common use.
You should compost that, but it’s too green to do anything but foul things up indoors, here.
DDT was banned first in Sweden in 1971, then in the U.S. in 1972 — the U.S. ban was on crop use, only. About the only use that actually fell under that ban was cotton crops.
A few other European nations banned DDT.
DDT has never been banned in China, India, nor most of Asia, nor in any nation in Africa. Some African nations stopped using it when it stopped being effective; some African nations stopped using it when DDT runoff killed off food fishes and several thousands starved to death.
The World Health Organization never stopped using DDT, though its dramatic decline in effectiveness, especially in Africa, was key to the collapse and abandonment of WHO’s campaign to eradicate malaria. WHO stopped that campaign in 1965, and officially killed it off at the 1969 WHO meetings. You’ll note that was years before the 1972 ban in the U.S. — so the claims that the U.S. ban prompted a WHO to act is also false just on calendar terms.
If you check with the Wellcome Trust, they have several papers and PowerPoint presentations on the problems with malaria in Mexico, Central and South America — where DDT has been used constantly since 1948, with no ban. Unfortunately, malaria came back. Resistance to DDT in mosquitoes is real, and if malaria is not cured in the humans while the populations are temporarily knocked down, when the mosquitoes come back, they will find those humans with malaria, withdraw some of the parasites from that human, incubate them to the next part of the life cycle, and start a plague within a couple of weeks.
So, no, DDT was never banned in most places. There is a treaty, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty (POPs), which names DDT as one of the dirtiest pollutants in the world. Though every other pollutant on the list is severely restricted or completely banned, DDT has a special carve out (Addenda D, if I recall correctly) which says DDT may be used by any nation to fight any vector-borne disease.
All a nation need do is send a letter to WHO explaining that it plans to use DDT, and when.
And, no, DDT was not brought back in haste to make up for a lack of the stuff.
Not sure where you’re getting your history, but it’s not exactly square with what’s happened.
That’s a pretty huge, expensive policy shift — twice.
Would have been, had it been done as you described. Not so.
There was a lot of pressure to make those changes.
So in the fight on Malaria, I think that scientists and bureaucrats generally agree that DDT plays an
important role, particularly after seriously slowing or stopping use for a substantial amount of time.
Read the POPs treaty — go to the WHO site and you can still get some of the deliberative papers.
For almost all uses, DDT has much better alternatives available today.
Malaria is a special case because humans screwed up the eradication campaign, first, by abusing DDT and creating DDT resistance in the mosquitoes, and second, by completely abandoning most other parts of the program when DDT crapped out.
DDT doesn’t cure malaria. All it does is temporarily knock down the mosquitoes that carry the parasite through part of its life cycle. Better medical care is a very important part of beating the disease, and as in the U.S., improving housing cuts malaria rates dramatically, especially with windows that are screened roughly from sundown to early morning.
DDT is one of 12 chemicals WHO approves for use in Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), in areas where there are outbreaks of the disease. If any one chemical were used alone, it would be ineffective within months, or weeks.
When tobacco farmers in Uganda sued to stop DDT spraying in the early years of the 21st century, WHO issued a press release saying it still believes in DDT. Well, WHO always did. But as of 2010, DDT’s effectiveness is even less, and many nations use only the other 11 chemicals for IRS against malaria.
DDT is still there, if it works, and if it helps; bednets alone are more than double the effectiveness of DDT in preventing malaria. We could probably phase out DDT completely without anyone noticing. DDT is not a panacea. There is no shortage of DDT anywhere today. No one dies for a lack of DDT — though many may die from a lack of bednets or appropriate medical care, problems DDT cannot touch
I believe that Rachel Carson championed her cause very successfully. I believe there was sizeable, if not perfectly tangible, fallout that would only be measurable in human livesand misery thanks to her efforts. And in the end, things were as they should have been, despite her best efforts to force them where they
I see. You don’t know what Rachel Carson said about DDT.
Carson said that DDT was — in 1962 — a pesticide without a clear replacement. She said it was absolutely critical to the then-existing WHO campaign to fight malaria.
And because of that, she urged that use of DDT on crops, or to kill cockroaches, or to kill flies at picnic sites, be stopped — because unless it were stopped, the overuse could not fail to leak into the rest of the ecosystem. Mosquitoes would quickly develop resistance to DDT — that had been a key problem in Greece in 1948, and Carson cites several other places where anti-typhus and anti-malaria campaigns were scuttled when the insects started eating DDT — and once that resistance developed, Carson said, beating malaria would be set back decades at a minimum, and maybe centuries.
She wrote that in 1962.
Fred Soper was the super mosquito fighter in the employ of the Rockefeller Foundation who developed the DDT-based malaria eradication program. He was loaned to WHO to take the campaign worldwide. Soper thought Carson was too tough on DDT in her book, but he had already calculated that DDT resistance would develop by 1975. He had just more than a dozen years to eliminate malaria, he wrote. (This is chronicled in Malcom McDowell’s 2001 profile of Soper in The New Yorker; you can read it at McDowell’s website.)
WHO’s campaign had mopped up pockets of malaria left in temperate zone nations; he had massive successes in sub-tropical nations, and he was poised to strike at the heart of malaria country, in equatorial Africa, in 1965.
The first campaign launched there fizzled completely. When they captured some mosquitoes, they found they were highly resistant to DDT already. Turns out that farmers in Africa wanted spotless fruit, too, and were using tons of DDT to get it.
For the health workers, what that meant was they had no tool at all to knock down mosquitoes even temporarily, to then finish the medical care, housing improvement and education components of the malaria eradication campaign.
It is also true that many of those nations had unstable governments. Soper’s formula required that 80% of the homes in an affected area be treated. That required highly trained, very devoted workers, and a willing population. Those things were difficult to find in nations with unstable governments, or worse, civil war. So there were other complicating factors. But Soper had faced those, and beaten them, behind the Iron Curtain, in Asia, in the Pacific and in South America.
When DDT quit on him, as Carson predicted it would without official action to save its potency, Soper called it quits.
Soper ended his campaign without approaching most of equatorial Africa in 1965. WHO ended the program in 1969.
Carson died in 1964. She would have been saddened that DDT stopped working in the malaria fight so early. She had written about it occurring in some future year — she probably knew of Soper’s calculation in the 1970s.
The public relations smear campaign against Carson, costing the chemical companies $500,000, generated some doubt among the public, but the President’s Science Advisory Council published its report saying Carson was accurate on the science, and calling for immediate action against DDT — in 1963.
It was 7 years after her death that EPA was organized, and 8 years before EPA moved against DDT.
Carson pleaded for a dramatic reduction in unnecessary DDT use — to make spotless apples, for example — in order to save people from malaria.
What did you think she said? What things were back where they should have been — poor kids dying of malaria is as it should be?
We could have done better, had we listened to Rachel Carson in 1962.
You’ve offered nothing that logically refutes those conclusions.
You should have read those blogs.
Do conservation efforts pay off? Yes, they do.
Film comes from the European-based Vulture Conservation Foundation.
Since the film, more of these majestic animals have been released. Here are photos from the release on Friday, May 30:
One must respect these volunteers, climbing such tors simply to watch a bird fly away.
You can tell
Tip of the old scrub brush to bird conservationist Amanda Holland.
May 27’s Google Doodle honoring Rachel Carson brought out a lot of those people who have been duped by the anti-Rachel Carson hoaxers, people who are just sure their own biased views of science and the politics of medical care in the third world are right, and Carson, and the people who study those issues, are not.
So comes “The Federalist,” what appears to me to be a reactionary site, which yesterday got great readership for a story from Bethany Mandel. Mandel tells a story of a child in Cambodia suffering from malaria. The suffering is horrible and the child most likely died. It’s a tragic story of poverty and lack of medical care in the third world.
Erroneously, Mandel up front blames the suffering all on Rachel Carson, in a carp about the Google Doodle.
Here was my quick response between bouts in the dentist’s chair yesterday [links added here]:
[Bethany Mandel wrote:] Using faulty science, Carson’s book argued that DDT could be deadly for birds and, thus, should be banned. Incredibly and tragically, her recommendations were taken at face value and soon the cheap and effective chemical was discontinued, not only in the United States but also abroad. Environmentalists were able to pressure USAID, foreign governments, and companies into using less effective means for their anti-malaria efforts. And so the world saw a rise in malaria deaths.
Don’t be evil?
Start by not telling false tales.
1. Carson presented a plethora of evidence that DDT kills birds. This science was solid, and still is.
2. Carson did not argue DDT should be banned. She said it was necessary to fight disease, and consequently uses in the wild, requiring broadcast spraying, should be halted immediately.
3. Scientific evidence against DDT mounted up quickly; under US law, two federal courts determined DDT was illegal under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; they stayed orders to ban the chemical pending hearings under a new procedure at the new Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA held hearings, adversary proceedings, for nine months. More than 30 DDT manufacturers were party to the hearings, presenting evidence totaling nearly 10,000 pages. EPA’s administrative law judge ruled that, though DDT was deadly to insects, arachnids, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, the labeled uses proposed in a new label (substituted at the last moment) were legal under FIFRA — indoor use only, and only where public health was concerned. This labeling would allow DDT to remain on sale, over the counter, with few penalties for anyone who did not follow the label. EPA took the label requirements, and issued them as a regulation, which would prevent sales for any off-label uses. Understanding that this would be a severe blow to U.S. DDT makers, EPA ordered U.S. manufacture could continue, for the export markets — fighting mosquitoes and malaria being the largest export use.
This ruling was appealed to federal courts twice; in both cases the courts ruled EPA had ample scientific evidence for its rule. Under U.S. law, federal agencies may not set rules without supporting evidence.
4. DDT was banned ONLY for agriculture use in the U.S. It was banned in a few European nations.
6. USAID’s policy encouraged other nations to use U.S.-made DDT, consistent with federal policy to allow manufacture for export, for the benefit of U.S. business.
7. U.S. exports flooded markets with DDT, generally decreasing the price.
8. Although WHO had been forced to end its malaria eradication operation in 1965, because DDT abuse had bred mosquitoes resistant to and immune to DDT, and though national and international campaigns against malaria largely languished without adequate government funding, malaria incidence and malaria deaths declined. Especially after 1972, malaria continued a year-over-year decline with few exceptions.
Note that the WHO campaign ended in 1965 (officially abandoned by WHO officials in 1969), years before the U.S. ban on DDT.
Every statement about DDT in that paragraph of [Mandel's] article, is wrong.
Most important, to the purpose of this essay, malaria did not increase. Malaria infections decreased, and malaria deaths decreased.
I’m sure there are other parts of the story that are not false in every particular. But this article tries to make a case against science, against environmental care — and the premise of the case is exactly wrong. A good conclusion is unlikely to follow.
Mandel was hammered by the full force of the anti-Rachel Carson hoaxers. I wonder how many children will die because people thought, “Hey, all we have to do is kill Rachel Carson to fix malaria,” and so went off searching for a gun and a bullet?
You are not among them, are you?
Update: This guy, a worshipper of the Breitbart, seems to be among those who’d rather rail against a good scientist than lift a finger to save a kid from malaria. If you go there, Dear Reader, be alert that he uses the Joe Stalin method of comment moderation: Whatever you say, he won’t allow it to be posted. Feel free to leave comments here, where we practice First Amendment-style ethics on discussion.
Have you been to Google today for a general search? Did you catch the Doodle?
Perhaps even more remarkable, if you click the Doodle (any Doodle) it takes you to a Google search on that subject. The search you get today is all positive about Carson. Considering the money being spent to soil her reputation, 50 years after her death, one might wonder if Google adjusted the search or the algorithm for the results to do that.
If they monkeyed with it, give them bonus points for accuracy and thoroughness.
If they didn’t monkey with it, take great hope that Ben Franklin was right, and truth does indeed win in a fair fight.
Here’s page 1 of the search result I got (not an image, so the links stay hot for you):
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are …
- The Independent - by Linda Sharkey - 3 hours agoTomorrow marks the 107th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Louise Carson, the environmentalist whose research led to the banning of harmful …
- Express.co.uk – 12 minutes ago
- Times of India – 3 hours ago
Life of Rachel Carson, founder of contemporary environmental movement, author of Silent Spring, advocate of nature and environmental ethics, against the …
7 hours ago – In celebration of the life and legacy of the 107th birthday of the Mother of Green Movement Rachel Louise Carson, Google treats visitors to the …
Rachel Carson left a great and powerful legacy. 52 years after the publication of her most important, most read, and most criticized book, not a single piece of science she cited has been disproven by subsequent research. Discover Magazine did a literature search some years ago and found more than 1,000 research projects had been done on DDT’s harm to birds, and every one that was published came back to support the claims Carson had made.
Apart from her extreme care for the science and great accuracy, Carson’s words today can still inspire. She was a helluva writer. Carson made clear that biological research in the wild is really ecology. Today more than ever before range botanists and zoologists, to take one example, work closely with each other, and with geneticists, molecular biologists, entomologists, chemists, physicists, climatologists, geologists and geographers, and anyone else who wants to chime in, to present clear understandings the ripple effects damage or benefit to one species may have on many others.
Before Rachel Carson, any graduate study programs in ecology were few and far between, often not even called ecology.
Those methods help to save birds, and also every other form of life on the planet.
Blinded, angry and malicious opposition to the facts Carson laid out, and later scientists still lay out, remains the bigger problem.
Chemical manufacturers spent more than $500,000 in 1962 to smear Carson and her work. The smears largely did not work, instead forcing scientists to look at her work (which they found solid in science). But since then, tobacco companies with the Tobacco Institute, perfected the techniques of raising doubts about good science among policymakers and the public. Today companies spend billions to impugn scientific works in climate change, air and water pollution, and health care. They are joined by an unpaid mob of internet-savvy malcontents to impugn the integrity of the U.S. space program, vaccinations, and even meteorologists who note that airplane exhaust creates condensation trails at high altitudes. (Yes, it’s water vapor.)
This blog’s seeming obsession with Carson was prompted by such an exquisite act of denialism in Congress, seven years ago, when I learned that Utah Congressman Rob Bishop was bragging about blocking the naming of a post office for Carson, based on false claims that Carson had written false or faulty science, that the U.S. ban on DDT use on crops had extended far outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., and that a shortage of DDT meant malaria had come roaring back from near extinction to unnecessarily kill millions. (The post office was eventually named for Carson, but Bishop and other deluded critics have never repented nor apologized.)
(The facts: Malaria deaths and infection rates both continued to drop, worldwide, after the U.S. stopped spraying DDT on cotton. Many tens of millions fewer people died of malaria after the U.S. banned it. The U.S. ban covered only the U.S., but let DDT makers keep cranking the stuff out for export, multiplying the amount of DDT available to fight malaria. Unfortunately, as Carson feared, abuse of DDT in the third world quickly created DDT-resistant and immune mosquitoes; in 1965, the World Health Organization abandoned its malaria eradication campaign because of DDT’s declining effectiveness, a full seven years before the U.S. banned DDT.)
Truth wins in a fair fight, Ben; but as in colonial America, it is necessary for brave citizens to work hard to keep the fight fair.
Because of Rachel Carson, the bald eagle is off the endangered species list, and proliferating in the lower 48 states of the U.S. — as indeed are the peregrine falcon, osprey, and brown pelicans. DDT continues to hammer many creatures in the wild, however, including the still-endangered California condor. Our national policies now require, by law, that significant federal projects consider the environmental effects of those actions, and mitigate the more severe effects or not proceed. The U.S. now has an agency whose sole job is to consider the safety of chemicals and substances we use in the wild, with power to regulate air and water cleanups — and to clean up more than 400 DDT-contaminated sites on the EPA Priority List, or Superfund. Among the great successes of this agency was the elimination of lead from gasoline in the U.S., reducing chronic lead poisoning in tens of millions of Americans, and literally raising the national average IQ with elimination of the brain-killing effects of lead. Lake Erie is cleaner. The Potomac River, though with its problems, is once again clean enough for humans to swim and boat, as are a hundred other waterways in America, from the Raritan River in New Jersey to the Willamette in Oregon.
Very powerful legacy indeed.
Happy birthday, Rachel Carson; Earth is lucky to have had you, even for such a brief period.
Great photo out of a group at the University of George studying carrion-eating birds. They capture vultures — black vultures are a current project.
This bird has the unromantic name of BLVU202.
“The last thing the old prospector would see . . .”
May 23 is World Turtle Day. In fact, this is the 14th World Turtle Day.
No grand pronouncements from Congress, probably — American Tortoise Rescue picked a day, and that was that. Their press release for 2014:
American Tortoise Rescue Celebrates World Turtle Day™ 2014 on May 23rd
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for fun contests and recipes! https://www.facebook.com/WorldTurtleDay
Suggested Tweet: Celebrate #WorldTurtleDay on May 23 with @TortoiseRescue
Malibu, CA – May 14, 2014 – American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) (www.tortoise.com), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, is sponsoring its 14th annual World Turtle Day™ on May 23rd. The day was created as an observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of ATR, advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersized or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
“We launched World Turtle Day to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures,” said Tellem. “These gentle animals have been around for 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade,” says Tellem. “We are seeing smaller turtles coming into the rescue meaning that older adults are disappearing from the wild thanks to the pet trade, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of the world.” (See slide show here.)
Tellem added, “We are thrilled to learn that organizations and individuals throughout the world now are observing World Turtle Day, including those in Pakistan, Borneo, India, Australia, the UK and many other countries.” She recommends that adults and children do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for future generations:
- Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
- Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
- If a tortoise is crossing a busy highway, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
- Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to endangered sea turtle deaths.
- Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
- Report the use of tiny turtles as prizes at carnivals and other events. It’s illegal.
- Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal to buy and sell them throughout the U.S.
“Our ultimate goal is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world. Our first priority here in the U.S. is to ask pet stores and reptile shows to stop the sale of hatchling tortoises and turtles without proper information for the buyer,” says Thompson. “For example, many people buy sulcata tortoises as an impulse buy because they are so adorable when they are tiny. The breeders and pet stores frequently do not tell the buyers that this tortoise can grow to 100 pounds or more and needs constant heat throughout the year since they do not hibernate.”
He added, “We also need to educate people and schools about the real risk of contracting salmonella from water turtles. Wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch a turtle or its water, and do not bring turtles into homes where children are under the age of 12.”
For answers to questions and other information visit American Tortoise Rescue online at http://www.tortoise.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @tortoiserescue; “Like” American Tortoise Rescue on Facebook; and follow World Turtle Day on Facebook.
Here’s to you Freddie, the Western Box Tortoise from Idaho, and Truck, the desert tortoise from Southern Utah, the friends of my youth. And all you others.
More, from 2013: