Sunday, April 13, 2008


I just finished reading a book called Eco-Freaks by John Berlau. It is a tremendous book that talks about how the environmentalist movement has actually made human life worse off.

One of the main points made throughout the book is something called the "Precautionary Principle". This is the principle that most environmentalists and more and more of the general population have decided to live by. The precautionary principle says that regardless of how many lives something may save or improve, if there is a possibility, however remote, that there could be side affects, then we must not utilize this new technology.

A couple of examples discussed in the book were DDT and asbestos. Most of us, including myself, have grown up hearing how bad these things are. However, DDT was one of the main reasons we were able to practically eliminate malaria across the planet. It was developed in WWII and improved the lives of millions and millions of people. Since DDT has been banned, most countries with malaria problems have gone back to pre-WWII infection levels. Bird populations and tree health were also at all time highs because of DDT. West Nile disease that has killed untold amounts of birds, thousands of horses, and hundreds of people could have been easily controlled with DDT.

Asbestos was eliminated from the building plans of the World Trade Center at the last minute. According to Berlau, if asbestos had been used as a fire proofing material, 4000 of our citizens would probably be alive today. While constant and high level exposure can be detrimental to our health, that wouldn't have been the case in these buildings and more people would be alive today if it had been used.

I have found that we can draw several comparisons from examples in this book, to what is happening in agriculture today. There is a long list of things that animal rights and environmental groups would like to change about agriculture because, according to them, it might be bad for us. But as a whole, will human welfare suffer?

Without the ability to use new technology which provides the safest, most affordable food supply in the world, will we be able to feed the world's population? It is pretty clear that we can't feed the world using technology from the early 20th century. The precautionary principle is being forced on agriculture today, and the results will be the same as it's past implementation unless all of us in agriculture stand up and be counted.

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