By Rich Kozlovich
(Originally published August 18, 2012 updated May 13, 2016)
June 2012 marked the 50 anniversary of the publication of “Silent Spring.” I'm fascinated by how many young people don’t know about this book. I'm also fascinated by how many who are impressed by it while having never read it. It also amazed me at how much Rachel Carson has been lauded publically, and yet how few people know about Norman Borlaug, who saved untold millions, and if you judge greatness by how many lives a person saves - he was probably the greatest man to have lived in the 20th century, and since he died in 2009 - he may end up being he greatest man to have lived in both centuries.
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) lived her early years in Springdale, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and graduated from the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania College for Women (Chatham College) in 1929. She later earned a master’s degree in zoology from John Hopkins University. She is the author of “Silent Spring” (her 4th book), published in 1962, and is considered by some to be one of the most damaging books of the 20th century.
Her claims in this book about decreases in mammal and avian wildlife as a result of DDT were simply wrong. One of the many claims by Carson was robins were in danger of extinction as a result of continued use of DDT. The truth was that there were more robins in the DDT era than before. And according to Audubon bird charts, there may have been as many as 47 times more. World renowned Ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson stated that the robin was the most abundant bird in North America around the same time that “Silent Spring” came out.
None of the predictions regarding cancer made by Carson ever came true. She died of breast cancer on April 14, 1964, at the age of 56, two years after her book came out. She did not live long enough to see real scientists using real science shred her claims. Unfortunately, her death gave impetus to her unscientific statements.
Considered the mother of the modern environmental movement, her radical naturalism became the standard for the movement. "She taught that the environment had done all of the shaping and directing on the Earth, and it was an act of arrogance for man to attempt to control nature". She is still lauded in various encyclopedias as a thorough, meticulous, highly qualified scientist. Those that have attacked her are presented as self serving large chemical companies. Although the chemical companies did attack her - rightly so - there were also sincere, dedicated scientists such as J. Gordon Edwards who were just as concerned as Carson about large corporations and their designs on nature, and was thrilled when her book first appeared.
The problem was in the details. Edwards also believed that “environmentalism didn’t need fraud to justify itself.” He realized as he read her book there was a lot of information that simply wasn’t true. He noted “she was playing fast and loose with the facts.” Over the years, research on her work has shown this to be so. In spite of all the evidence showing her work should not have been taken seriously, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
She claimed that DDT was a serious carcinogenic agent and with continued use would eventually impact almost 100% of the population. That was false! She claimed that DDT was causing egg shell thinning, and, as a result, the bird population was decreasing. That was false! Furthermore, playing fast and loose with the facts she made inappropriate citations.
Edwards noted that her “implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse affects.” He went on to say, “Carson’s comparison between ‘radiation’ and common herbicides is despicable, for there is a tremendous difference between their mutagenic potentials.”
She states on pages 50-51 that: “Arsenic, the environmental substance most clearly established as causing cancer in man, is involved in two historic cases in which polluted water supplies caused widespread occurrence of cancer.” According to Edwards, “I have seen no proof that arsenic causes cancer in humans, and it is known to occur naturally in most kinds of shellfish and other marine life. And, if she were really concerned about public health, Carson should have rejoiced to see that relatively harmless insecticides like DDT were capable of replacing arsenicals and other poisonous inorganic materials!”
I was born in 1946, and just like Carson, I grew up in southwest Pennsylvania. I can understand Carson’s fears for the environment. The effects on the local environment from pollution emanating from coal mines, steel mills and coke ovens in those days would make anyone concerned. Believe me when I tell you that you haven’t seen water pollution until you see a sulfur creek, or air pollution until you have see an old time coke oven. This is still no excuse for dishonesty.
What have been the consequences of these five decades of junk science? Her book launched the modern green movement and also marked the toleration and encouragement of scientists to misrepresent the facts. In the book “Ecological Sanity” published in 1972 by Clause and Bolander, they outline how this early this started, promoting a green agenda that not only lingers, but has become a major source of income for the research universities, making the term ‘scientific integrity’ an oxymoron. In the 50 years since “Silent Spring” was first published, it has become obvious that ‘science’ via media attention generates government grant money - clouding their judgment, impugning their integrity beyond repair.
Despite all the efforts to show Carson was misrepresenting the facts, and that her references were tainted and completely unsupportive of her views, this was an issue that was not going away because it was a philosophical issue, not a scientific one. This was demonstrated by the 1972 EPA hearings based on science shown to be fraudulent, including the fraudulent claims that DDT caused egg shell thinning based on an the obscure study by Dr. James Dewitt of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, claiming that DDT caused less eggs to hatch. “However the actual study showed that despite feeding quail 3,000 times the daily human intake of DDT, their eggs did not hatch significantly less than the control group. The same study done with pheasants showed that the survival rate of hatchlings of DDT feed pheasants actually increased. This is exactly the opposite of what Rachel Carson wrote.” The only studies that showed a decrease in egg shell thickness occurred when they withheld calcium from the diet of the birds being tested.
Judge Edward Sweeney was the magistrate appointed by EPA to be the hearing examiner and after 9,000 pages of testimony he determined that DDT should not be banned. This was a decision that was overruled by the first director of the EPA, William Ruckelshaus. When the decision was appealed, he appointed himself as the appeals judge, setting a disreputable pattern of dishonesty that has been apparent ever since.
What has been the result? Between 700,000 and 1 million people, mostly children, die every year from malaria; and this doesn’t include the other insect borne diseases. According to in her article, Promising Finding for Malaria Vaccine , "We here in the United States have been spared the scourge of malaria, as it is a disease mainly endemic in the tropics. According to the World Health Organization, there were 198 million cases of malaria in 2013. Meanwhile, there are 3.4 billion people who are exposed to malaria and 1.2 billion considered at high risk.
She goes on to say: Most often, children are disproportionately affected and they account for a majority of the mortality cases. In 2010, of the 1.24 million malaria deaths 714,000 occurred in children less than five years of age.
Carson was an amazing writer, and that is what carried her to the top, not her science; and most certainly not her compassion for humanity. Carson could vividly describe the death of a bird she believed was killed by a pesticide, but nowhere does she describe the “deaths of any of the people who were dying of malaria, yellow fever, plague, sleeping sickness, or other diseases that are transmitted by insects. Her propaganda in Silent Spring contributed greatly to the banning of insecticides that were capable of preventing human deaths.”
Surely, she had to be aware. Surely, she didn’t care.
This book and the ban on DDT are foundational to the very existence of the environmental movement because they never dreamed of the power and money that would come their way as a result of the ban. Currently the environmental movement takes in more money than 60 of the world’s nations. No trade association can stand against them financially.
This started a movement of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) that have accrued untold power with regulators and legislators world over. They have even gotten the major chemical companies to fund them, publically support them on many levels including their fraudulent claims about Global Warming, The Montreal Protocol, and a host of other central planning schemes promoted under the guise of environmental protection.
The effect has been to confuse the leaders of industry, the public and public officials. We in pest control have now been infiltrated and corrupted in our thinking. We have lost sight of who and what we are, what is real, what is fact, what is fiction, and what is right and what is wrong. As I look over the web sites of the other state associations, I am absolutely appalled that they are so hot to go green, and yet have no idea what that really means; nor do they seem to be aware of the fraudulent origins of the green movement; yet proudly promoting it with a stench of self-righteousness.
When we adopt a green agenda in structural pest control it means that we are agreeing that everything we have done over the last 70 years has been wrong, and has been detrimental to the environment and humanity. Yet, we are living longer, healthier lives than ever in human history. The world’s population was two billion people at the end of WWII, and it took thousands of years to get to that number. The world’s population has soared to seven billion in less than 75 years. How did that happen if all the synthetic chemicals we are exposed to are so deadly as the green movement would have everyone believe?
Technology and environmental care go hand in hand. The poor undeveloped and under developed countries can’t afford the costs of the kind of care the developed nations deliver. Yet the green movement stands against development true to the radical ‘back to nature’ paradigm promoted by Rachel Carson.
Norman Borlaug was the creator of the Green Revolution, which increased food productivity to fantastic rates saving untold millions from starvation worldwide. Rachel Carson started a movement that killed untold millions thus far and will continue to kill untold millions into the foreseeable future. Carson is lauded, and her lies are taught in our schools as true environmental science. Norman Borlaug is largely unknown. If Rachel Carson was a great scientist - then Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin and Mao Tse Tung were misunderstood visionaries.
What has been the result of 50 years of Carson’s junk science? We lost our minds!
Editor’s note: In the coming weeks I will be addressing claims made by Carson. Socialism in the late 1800's and early 1900's didn't play well with Americans because European socialism is atheistic in nature. As a result they became the Progressive Movement and the binding force was religion, believing that socialism was the practical application of Judaic/Christian ethic. After WWII the binding force was psychology. If you didn't accept their views you were crazy...and only those around my age can remember that scam. After the collapse of the Soviet Union - the icon of socialism - they only had one card to really play as trump - Environmentalism!
Environmentalism is the step child of socialism, the spear point of policy and the binding force of the worldwide socialist movement whose goal is a worldwide socialist government under the auspices of the United Nations as is clearly shown by the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. We really do need to get that! Once that is understood everything I will publish regarding the "foundational" things of the green movement can be properly understood.