Environmentalists, it seems, don’t worry about the negative consequences of their doomsday predictions. A handful of doomsaying bestsellers has made possible the vast environmentalist movement that today holds a tight grip on government policy. These books don’t hold up as science or as prophecy, and have seriously hindered economic and technological progress that would have saved the lives of millions of poor people. (This article is adapted from the new book Cracking Big Green.)
For good or evil, books change minds. From the New Testament to The Wealth of Nations, from The Origin of Species to The Communist Manifesto, books have altered the course of history many times.
Big Green—the modern environmental movement, in its current form, scope, and level of power—is rooted in Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The Population Bomb and related books by Paul Ehrlich et al., and the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth. These books helped lay the foundation for “green” ideology, empowered the world’s privileged elites, and killed millions of poor people. Today, the environmental bureaucracy and the media are dominated by followers of the ideas expressed in these books. One of Ehrlich’s co-authors currently sits in the White House as science advisor to the President.
Silent Spring roars
Big Green was born 53 years ago with the publication of a book on pesticides.
September 27, 1962, saw the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and best-selling author. Wikipedia notes: “The book was widely read—especially after its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the New York Times best-seller list—and inspired widespread public concerns over pesticides and pollution of the environment. Silent Spring facilitated the ban of the pesticide DDT for agricultural use in 1972 in the United States.”
DDT is a chemical, harmless to humans, that kills insects by, in effect, locking their nerve cells into the “on” position, which causes spasms and death. It protected food supplies and was critical to control of malaria, a parasitic disease spread by mosquito bites.
Upon the release of Silent Spring, epidemiologists, academics, farmers, and other experts denounced Carson’s factual errors and seemingly deliberate corruption of science, which were interwoven with her gifted, poetic, persuasive prose. Most of the media dismissed the fact-checking as part of a massive conspiracy and cover-up by chemical interests. Carson’s critics were drowned in a flood of exploitative, fear-mongering headlines, and near-hysteria among the reading public. Some of those who were ignored included public health experts who had led the DDT-based campaigns that eradicated malaria in the United States, Europe, Siberia, and other places where the disease had sickened and killed countless people for centuries. (Ever wonder why the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in Atlanta? It’s because the agency’s original purpose was to fight the malaria that was once endemic in the South.)
The first precursor of Big Green, today’s powerful environmentalist movement, was the Environmental Defense Fund, which was a direct outgrowth of Silent Spring. Founded in October 1967 by a group of lawyers and scientists, for the single purpose of banning DDT, the EDF claimed that [Click HERE for the entire article]