this makes me mad
Fateful Voice of a Generation Still Drowns Out Real Science
Look. Real science tells us that even now, 35 years after DDT use was restricted in the US, we are still finding residues in marine animals that may be detrimental to their health (and we won't even talk about PCBs). We thoughtlessly sprayed persistent and extremely biologically active chemicals around with little thought to the consequences. If Rachel Carson provided a vision of what those consequences might look like if we continued our careless behavior, I have no problem with it. And if Tierney is worried that Carson's work was not scientifically written (sounds like he's going for the 'hysterical woman' angle that has always been used to criticize her), he need look no further than Our Stolen Future to get a similar message with plenty of real science to back it up. The old canard recently mentioned on the Senate floor, and even printed in newspapers, that the ban on DDT has killed millions of African children is just not true. DDT continues to be used in mosquito netting and even spraying to control malaria in many countries, though unfortunately, indiscriminate past usage has made many mosquitoes resistant.
Yes, Mr. Tierney, the chemicals we put into the environment have an effect on living systems that we depend on for our very existence on this planet. I am not anti-chemical, but the examples of DDT and antibiotics amply demonstrate that we humans don't tend to be very responsible about our use of chemicals. Insects have short life spans and quickly developed resistance to DDT, while birds, especially raptors, were unable to adapt to the profound hormonal effects and some (peregrine falcons, bald eagles) were nearly exterminated on this continent. With antibiotics, we have a similar story as now we have scary multi-drug-resistant strains of staph, tuberculosis, and other disease-causing organisms; the TB has been headline news, while at the same time resistant staph kills at least hundreds in this country every year (and why do we have to go to the BBC to read about this?).
It's pretty disappointing to see that the NYT would be joining in the PR pile-on that has been showing up around the anniversary of Rachel Carson's birth - and make no mistake, chemical industry PR is just what this is about.