Sunday, May 24, 2009

Poor People vs "the Environment"

Guess who wins? From the WSJ:

In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking the disease. The result is a victory for politics over public health, and millions of the world's poor will suffer as a result.
To this day, I can't figure out why advocates of the poor are often found allying themselves with environmentalists. What bothers me most about this issue is that relatively speaking, the impact of DDT to the environment is minimal while the lives lost as a result of minimally effective ways to combat malaria are massive. This idea that there aren't trade offs between poverty and the environment, at least in the short term, is a wishful thinking lie.

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