Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Exporting Poverty

Lately I’ve been reading Paul Driessen’s book, Eco-Imperialism, which exposes how some environmental groups cause death and poverty in developing countries. Using governments and UN agencies, these organizations build barriers to economic development under the guise of the precautionary principle, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

Driessen’s title is profoundly accurate. Just as governments once kept other countries in poverty to make the homeland richer, Eco-Imperialists ensure destitution to make the homeland feel better about themselves. They don’t directly force the people to accept poverty but their justifications seem so reasonable governments and NGOs are pressured by first-world citizens to do their dirty work. Eco-Imperialists project their standards on the rest of the world, even if it makes things worse.

For example, environmentalists attack DDT which directly led to its virtual lack of use in the third world. Their accusations against DDT are unfounded and no other tactic is better at combating malaria for developing countries because DDT is both effective and affordable. The absence of DDT is directly responsible for sharp increases of malaria cases in the developing world. Each year, about two million people die from malaria. The disease also stretches the limited health care resources and hamstrings their fledgling economies, impoverishing the developing world further.

As a nod to Lou Dobbs—who we’ve been focusing on this past week—I’m starting my own list. Instead of cataloging which companies are “exporting America” (better known as outsourcing), I’m recording which organizations are Eco-Imperialists. I call it Exporting Poverty. This is a growing list and readers of LL&L are encouraged to add to it.

World Wildlife Fund
Earth Liberation Front
Friends of the Earth
National Resource Defense Council
Rainforest Action Network
European Wind Energy Association
The Body Shop
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies
Union of Concerned Scientists


Anonymous said...

What exactly are the claims made against DDT?

David said...

Environmentalists put DDT in a group of chemicals they label as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). (The "persistent" part of the classification indicates the chemical is resistent to breakdown which is one of the reasons DDT is so popular--it's so long lasting.)

According to the Greenpeace web site:
"Many POPs are also highly toxic and build up (bioaccumulate) in the tissues of animals and humans."
"Vast amounts of them have been released into the environment and due to long-distance transport on air currents, become widespread pollutants now representing a global contamination problem."
"Certain POPs have been responsible for some catastrophic effects in wildlife, ranging from interference with sexual characteristics to dramatic population losses."

The UNEP lists tweleve of these chemicals that "contaminate the environment and have potentially toxic effects." DDT is one of them.

Note the rhetoric: anything can have potentially toxic effects if you have enough of it and contaminating the environment vauge beyond use. By their definition, salt is a contaniment because if you pour enough in the ocean everything will die (which is why we call the Dead Sea "dead").

David said...

By the way, I found this information at:

I would also like to add the United Nations Environment Program to the list of organizations that are Exporting Poverty.