Do we really have a "green scare" problem in this country, or is it the case that the toxic industrialists and capitalists concocted it since they don't want us to know how messed up our environment really is? The fact that what we're leaving to future generations will be essentially a vast, toxic landfill?
Matt Ridley in his WSJ piece, 'The Green Scare Problem' (July 25-26. p. C4) seeks to portray those who raise cautionary warnings about our depredations of the environment as scare mongers. The real fact, is that it is the PR purveyors - like those exposed in the book 'Toxic Sludge Is Good For You', who need to be brought up for critical scrutiny and judgment. They've been getting away with their disinformation games too long as I noted in my Aug. 26 post on how the fossil fuel climate deniers were outed.
On the issue of climate change, for example, Ridley writes:
"Many exaggerated early claims about the dangers of climate change have now been debunked. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has explicitly abandoned previous claims that malaria will likely get worse, that the Gulf Stream will stop flowing, and the Greenland or West Antarctic Ice sheet will disintegrate...or droughts will become more likely."
I don't know where Ridley gets this stuff, as he hasn't cited any documents or reports. I am aware of the Gulf Stream stopping retraction - but to my knowledge all the others are still in play, including the malaria spread, increased droughts, and collapse of ice sheets. Hell, most of this isn't rocket science to anyone who grasps the essential physics. (Also, let us bear in mind the IPCC was wrong in its assessment of the reality of the global warming hiatus - as I previously noted).
The spread of tropical diseases with increasing temperatures is a given, and I hate to have to break this to Ridley. We know the details were laid out nearly 20 years ago in the excellent paper, Global Climate and Infectious Disease:The Cholera Paradigm, in Science, Vol. 274, 20 December, 1996, p. 2025.
And indeed, the author of Parasite REX bears this out, noting the human population alone may carry within it up to 2 billion worm parasites, including: hook worm, one of 5,000 forms of tape worm, round worm, trypanosomes, schistosomiasis- with warmer climate causing flukes e,g,
to multiply as well as the protozoan that causes Toxoplasma (which over 1 billion may carry, mostly in their brains,and malaria!
As for the disintegration of the Antarctic ice sheet that is well underway, e.g.
As well as for Greenland.
Clearly, it seems Ridley is either highly selective in what he chooses to accept or is deaf, dumb and blind to the real science clarion calls in his midst. Maybe he is simply another one of the brainwashed millions who believe it's all under control or that climate change is a big hoax as bellowed by long time global warming idiot James Inhofe - who ought to be in a sanatorium as opposed to holding a Senate Committee seat on the environment.
Not content to diminish the import of global warming and its effects, he next goes on to GMO foods and insists:
"After twenty years and millions of meals there is still no evidence that they harm human health and ample evidence of their environmental and humanitarian benefits ."
Which is redolent public relations blather every bit as egregious as that exposed in the book 'Toxic Sludge is Good For You' (wherein industry puppets insisted that toxic sludge cast off from industrial waste would make excellent fertilizer for crops)
A lot of this bollocks was shot down by Mark Bittman (Food columnist for the NY Times) who noted, "Yields are not up and pesticide use is not down. So when you talk about feeding a hungry world, GMOs have not moved us in that direction."
Worse, the evidence is now increasing that GMOs might be responsible for a lot of the Alzheimer's epidemic we're seeing, as my friend, geneticist John Phillips, has shown:
Then there is Ridley's claim with respect to pesticides, i.e. that "pesticides are not causing a cancer epidemic" - but a detailed wealth of statistical data contradicts this.
Devra Davis in her excellent monograph, 'Secret History of the War on Cancer' correctly exposed the PR underbelly of the American "Cancer wars" and their beneficiaries (see. e.g. Chapters 1-4), while also naming the American Cancer Society (ACS) as having conflicts of interest and mixed motives (Chapter 5, 'Fear Sells)
While Davis accurately notes that people get told over and over (by the likes of the ACS and their physician enablers, apologists) that "too much fat" is causing their cancers - whether of lungs, bladders, prostate gland or breasts - and hence they bear greatest responsibility. ( Never mind the evidence from more than 80 years of cumulative data which discloses it's chemicals in the environment that contribute more than fifty times as much.
We also note from another author, Lauretta Schwarz-Nobel, in Poisoned Nation, St. Martin's Press, 2007).
"The Cancer industry includes organizations like the ACS that downplay the risk of cancer from pesticides and other environmental factors and which have historically refused to take a stand on environmental regulation".
"The Cancer industry consists of corporations, organizations, and agencies that diminish or mask the extent of the cancer problem, fail to protect our health or divert attention away from finding the causes of breast cancer...this includes drug companies that, in addition to profiting from cancer treatment drugs, also produce toxic chemicals that may be contributing to the high rates of cancer in this country and increasing rates throughout the world".
Ridley, who ought to know better, insists:
"Virtually every environment threat of the past few decades has been greatly exaggerated."
But I would say that every such threat has actually been vastly understated so that people feel the entire burden for their illnesses or infirmities is on them. But this is what the chemical polluters and toxic industrial complex want because they don't wish to be held to account. They prefer people apply the fundamental attribution error to themselves - blaming themselves for their pancreatic, prostate, and breast as well as colon cancers, as well as their Alzheimer's disease.
Can't have anyone going after the "profits before people" capitalists after all. Better that people make a few bucks while they can before croaking from an incurable cancer!
People can accept this or not, but for my take, Ridley is the one underestimating the magnitude of the environmental calamity facing us.
The rest of us shouldn't!