Environmentalism has killed tens of millions of people, if not hundreds of millions, and could soon kill many more. Environmentalists’ jihad against DDT sentenced millions to death from malaria in the Third World, their opposition to dams destroyed New Orleans, and their abasement of auto safety has mangled and killed tens of thousands. Even the World Trade Center towers destroyed on 9/11 would have remained standing far longer, enabling more people to escape, if it were not for an environmentalist scare about the most efficient fire retardant known to man for millennia.
This year, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Christmas card portrays two cavemen having a discussion. One says, “Something’s just not right—our air is clean, our water is pure, we all get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free-range, and yet nobody lives past thirty.” The CEI card makes, in a brief, humorous, but unanswerable way, the point that without civilization, our lives would indeed be nasty, brutish, and short. The sort of “return to nature” promoted by environmentalists would strip us of our progress and reduce us to the state of the animals they so adore.
In “Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism is Hazardous to Your Health,” CEI fellow John Berlau takes a tour through some of the most egregious public health disasters perpetrated by environmentalists in the past few decades while warning of more that could come. Berlau, with years of experience as a political and investigator reporter, writes in an informal style easy for the layman to understand while being sure to include the quotations and statistics needed to buttress his arguments. With hundreds of endnotes, the book provides anyone who is interested with plenty of citations to follow in order to deepen his knowledge.
What are the most egregious death-dealing policies promoted by environmentalists? Topping the list must be the banning of DDT, a miracle pesticide unrivaled for its efficacy, longetivity, inexpense, and safety. That’s right, safety: DDT has been studied for decades and never been shown to have ill effects on human beings or significant bad effects on beasts, birds, or trees. It kills what it is intended to kill, insects. As Berlau explains—and despite reading a good deal about DDT before, I did not know this—DDT halted budding typhus epidemics during World War II, potentially saving millions of lives including thousands of American troops.
DDT’s biggest claim to fame, however, is the amazing job it did combating malaria in Africa and other Third World regions. Inexpensive and harmless to people, DDT can be sprayed once on an African hut, and that will be enough to kill or drive away malaria-laden mosquitoes for a year. Though DDT is over 50 years old, no cost-effective pesticide has yet been invented to take its place.
Thanks to the lies contained in Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and those, such as Al Gore, who hopped on the anti-DDT bandwagon, DDT was banned from country after country in the 1970s. As a result, malaria has made something of comeback, forcing some African nations to defy their aid benefactors in Europe and allow limited spraying of DDT—the only thing that works.
Bloodcurdlingly, Berlau cites several prominent environmentalist leaders who explained that their opposition to DDT was based on their desire for Third World people to die. For example, Sierra Club Director Michael McCloskey said in 1971 in order to explain his organization’s opposition to DDT, “By using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations.” Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, wrote in 1990, “So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.” That’s right—prominent and influential environmentalists oppose DDT because it saves human lives.
The population control agenda is a prominent subtext of the environmentalist one, and it has largely succeeded. Birthrates have plummeted around the world, prompting the United Nations to release reports with titles such as “Confronting the Global Aging Crisis.” The Western world is fast committing suicide with extremely low birthrates. Even relatively fecund Americans’ fertility rate is slightly below replacement level. Yet environmentalists are undeterred.
As the evidence in Berlau’s book makes clear, hatred of the human race lies at the bottom of the environmentalist agenda. This is not to say that there are no pressing environmentalist concerns, from mercury pollution to Latin American deforestation—but genuine concerns are based on human welfare, not the pagan worship of harsh, wild nature indifferent to life that not even radical environmentalists want to live in personally.
Berlau also walks his readers through evidence showing that asbestos would have been used to protect the World Trade Center if it had not been for environmentalist objections, citing highly-respected scientists—and Donald Trump—to buttress the argument that the towers would have remained intact much longer with asbestos, and perhaps would not have collapsed at all.
He also describes the emerging scientific consensus that shows that trees, not cars, are the primary generators of smog, just as Ronald Reagan suggested. As America continues to reforest under environmentalist pressure, and as more wilderness areas are set aside to be unmanaged, the United States will suffer from more forest fires, more insect-born diseases, and more atmospheric hydrocarbons. And Berlau outlines how environmentalists conspired to prevent the building of the dam needed to protect New Orleans, with the terrible consequences known to every American today: The unnecessary loss of American lives and much of a great, unique American city.
It is true that we need a return to nature, but not to the primitive bestial nature that murderous environmentalists desire. We need a return to human nature, both in our interior souls and outside them, as described by Western philosophers such as Aristotle and developed most perfectly by historic Christianity. Then we will strike the beneficial balance of letting animal nature flourish under the guidance of the spirit of man.