December 31st 2004
First, I’ll share the good thing about trolling through greenie and leftist blogs for their take on the tsunami disaster: Their desire to help parallels ours, with links to donation sites and challenges to contribute.
Some of the targets of their contributions, though, are troubling: Red Crescent instead of Red Cross, and eco-sensitive charities like one that provides insecticide-permeated mosquito nettings as an answer to malaria, so DDT might not be used. There are two problems with that: First, people only spend eight hours a day under mosquito netting and 16 hours not under it. Second, the environmental harm posed by DDT has been challenged and, many would say, dismissed as a hoax.
But the greens soldier on, putting earth first, people second.
WorldChanging, a site that bills itself as “Models, Tools, and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future,” leads this charge. Within days of the disaster, it had posted a lengthy, link-laden paper on the possible impact of the tsunamis not on people, but on fish. “How many fish were washed ashore? How many reefs were damaged?” it asks. How can their minds even go there when the human suffering is on such an incomprehensible scale?
The conclusion of the article is shocking: Until we know what impact the tsunamis had on local fish populations and their ability to re-establish themselves, “the fishing industry may have to be suspended to allow for the sea life to adapt and adjust.”
Perhaps the authors have never been to Asia and witnessed the importance of seafood in the diet. It is, unquestionably, the most important protein source to these billions of human beings. In suggesting eliminating this source of protein, the ecologists are saying they are willing to risk even more human death and malnutrition while they study Mother Earth.
If you question the wisdom of removing fishing and a fish-based diet from the region, especially at this time, they have a response: “New livelihoods and sources of food may have to be found.” As if the reconstruction facing the region is not already daunting enough; they want to introduce a new economy as well!
This is a common thread running through the environmental movement — the desire to put the study of nature above the needs of man, coupled with the need to change man to suit their view of how we should live. The other common thread is to blame natural disasters on humans, not nature.
WorldChanging adds its voice to whose who blame the loss of life on development, not nature. The culprit is, of course, capitalism; this time, it’s form is resort developers and operators. The charge is they removed mangrove swamps that protected the coast, opening the population to devastation.
To drive this point home, they quote Jeff McNeely, chief scientist of the Swiss-based World Conservation Union (IUCN), who says (here):
“What has made this a disaster is that people have started to occupy part of the landscape that they shouldn’t have occupied,” he told AFP in a telephone interview from Paris. “Fifty years ago the coastline was not densely occupied as now by tourist hotels.
“The hotels did not replace traditional villages because the villagers built inland, McNeely said.
This is hogwash on so many levels it boggles the mind; yet it was dutifully reported as truth by the greens’ toadies in the MSM.
First, the traditional fishing villages were not built inland. I toured Southeast Asia extensively in the late 1960s, before the tourist hotels arrived, and villages hugged the coast throughout the region even then, as they have for thousands of years. (It’s one reason why the death toll from the eruption of Krakatoa was so high.) Seafront fishing villages are what you’d expect in a fishing-based economy, but McNeely decided to just lie instead, and his lie was published unchallenged.
Second, the alleged decimation of mangrove swamps has not been documented; rather MSM is accepting enviro statements as truths. Enviros always overstate habitat loss, and I’m certain that when things have settled, we’ll find that it was overstated here, as well.
Third, McNeely ignores the fact that human societies strive to evolve towards better places, even though he no doubt encourages just such activities among critters. In the towns with tourist economies, there is more work, more money, more medicine and, yes, more environmental protections (like sewage plants) than exist with the earlier sustanance-based fishing villages.
Fourth, the greens emphasize the relatively few areas where development occurred and ignore the much more massive tragedy elsewhere. For every mangrove-deficient tourist town hit, hundreds of tiny villages were hit. In these villages, there were mangrove swamps, yet there was death and destruction on a similar scale.
My take-away from this is not reassuring. The UN will be in charge of much of the relief effort, and this sort of green-think is prevalent among UN aid agency bureaucrats. I fear they will use the disaster as a means to further eco-socialist restructuring of societies, which will not only further the immediate suffering of the people, but ensure their long-term suffering as well.
For more examples of enviroploitation of the tragedy, see the Steven Milloy’s Junk Science opinion piece on Fox News.