The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed December 2, 1970. According to the EPA's website, Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring played a pivotal role in establishing one of the government's most powerful regulatory arms. In fact, the EPA refers to itself as "the extended shadow of Rachel Carson."
This week, in honor of Earth Day, we take a look at the environmentalism movement, the EPA, global warming and valuing of nature over man.
Environmentalism Part I: The EPA, Silent Spring and DDT
The most important day of the entire year is upon us — Earth Day on April 22nd. It's a day in which environmentalists will overlook and dismiss earth's inhabitants and literally choose to celebrate the dirt beneath our feet.
Earth Day isn't really about picking trash in your local park or remembering to recycle your soda can. It isn't even about hugging a tree. It has never been that innocent. Earth Day is a yearly reminder that humanity must be controlled, manipulated and even destroyed for the good of the planet.
How have we come to place a higher value on plant life than human life? It all started with a selection from the Book of the Month Club.
In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, the book credited with igniting environmentalists in the United States. One hundred fifty thousand copies of "Silent Spring" were mailed to Book of the Month members and made their way into suburban America. With chapter titles such as "Elixirs of Death" and "Rivers of Death," Carson successfully mixed eloquence and horror to instill fear about the popular insecticide Dichloride Diphenyl Triclorethane, better known as DDT.
DDT was considered to be a miracle powder that played an extraordinary role in winning World War II. During the Second World War, DDT was used to protect allied troops and civilians from malaria, typhus and other insect-born diseases.
The insecticide proved to be invaluable against the Germans. In Italy, the fascists had strategically used mosquito-filled marshes to their advantage. And 22,000 troops were infected with malaria, until the American forces deployed crop dusters and DDT spray teams on the area, wiping out the mosquitos for good and allowing the allies to liberate Rome. DDT's efficiency at destroying insect-born illness was so great that many saw the potential in using DDT outside the theaters of war.
In 1948, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. Paul Moller for discovering DDT. It eradicated diseases like no other insecticide before. But no one seems to remember all the good DDT did for the people of the world.
Rachel Carson's narrative that DDT was detrimental to both nature and human health was hungrily gobbled up by the public and government officials alike. Within eight years of its publication, Silent Spring was directly credited with the creation of the EPA.
In 1972, only ten years after Silent Spring was published, the U.S. banned DDT and other countries quickly followed suit. Once countries started falling prey to Carson' misinformation about DDT, malaria ran rampant. The devastating insect-born disease once again ravaged South Africa and South American countries.
Robert Watts of the National Institutes of Health once remarked, "The ban on DDT may have killed 20 million children."
One could argue that Rachel Carson cared more about singing birds and leaping fish than children. One could also argue she was an accomplice in the deaths of millions around the world.
Listen to the Full Series on Environmentalism