We were endangered?  Wow.  Where are the fish?

We were endangered? Wow. Where are the fish?

I recently learned that the Brown Pelican has been removed from the endangered species list.  It is postulated that the success of that particular species has to do with the DDT ban enacted decades ago. ( The pesticide DDT was used to control mosquitoes, but was allegedly toxic to many species.) This is good news for pelicans; however most were unavailable for comment, and were celebrating by eating fish and making new pelicans.

‘On the down side, the DDT ban allowed mosquitoes in malarial regions to continue to live unimpeded, and serve as hosts for the various species of Malaria, an often fatal parasite.  In fact, since the 1972 DDT ban, estimates are that some 101,000,000 people have died from Malaria.  Lives  that would have been saved by widespread use of DDT.  Most of them were children and pregnant women.

Imagine if you will, an epidemic in the United States of that proportion.  Over two million pregnant women and children, dying each year for almost four decades, from a preventable infectious disease.  In America.  The outrage!  The advocacy!  The lobbyists!  The marches on Congress!  The inquiries!

Imagine if H1N1 caused 2 millions deaths this year, and that the deaths were mostly the deaths of beautiful, valued children and lovely, young, pregnant wives.

Fortunately for the world’s limited supply of self-righteous indignation, most of those who died from Malaria were, like the Pelicans, brown people.  By this, I mean no racial insult.  They were human beings, valuable, treasured by their families.  They just happened to live, and die, in tropical and subtropical countries where Malaria, and the mosquito hosts by which it spreads, thrive. They just happened to have skin darker than ours.  And in point of face, current genetic understanding suggests that there is no such thing as race, anyway.

But in the west, there’s just not much anger over the death of foreign-speaking brown people.  Unless, of course, it’s potential death from potential consequences of potential global warming, and or something else that advances a politically useful agenda.

I think we need to look at this example with a certain trepidation.  Science can be abused and misused.  And since the United States EPA was the architect of the ban, it’s clear that governments are not the best arbiters of the health of the masses, no matter how they may rail about fairness and equity,  about medical care and access.

Of course, people in Malarial regions of the world continue to have access to widespread parasitic infection, and therefore to death.  That certainly seems fair!

Vast numbers of real human beings, who have died from Malaria since the ban, were unavailable for comment.  I suspect they would have been happy for the Pelicans; and not a little jealous.

Edwin

Say hi to the Pelicans for me!  I guess Ill be fine...

Say hi to the Pelicans for me! I guess I'll be fine...

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