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January 9, 2005

Greenpeace, WWF reverse course, millions of dead not amused

Nicholas Kristof is quite sensibly pushing for the increased use of DDT to fight malaria (although he opposes its use in the US). Occasionally we hear lonely voices like this. But who would have thought that some environmentalist organizations would agree with him (or at least appear to)?

Kristof spoke with representatives of Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund to get their reaction. To his surprise, rather than hearing the expected opposition to his proposal, he found that these organizations appear to have no objection to the use of DDT for malaria eradication:
But Richard Liroff, [WWF's] expert on toxins, said he could accept the use of DDT when necessary in anti-malaria programs.
At Greenpeace, Rick Hind noted reasons to be wary of DDT, but added: "If there's nothing else and it's going to save lives, we're all for it. Nobody's dogmatic about it."
Nobody's dogmatic about it? Mr. Hind is either lying, or he is unfit to be a Greenpeace spokesman.

As JunkScience.com notes, both organizations have been active in the campaign for the global abolition of the use of DDT, and their websites show no indication of a change of heart. So what to make of these quotes?

We've seen forty years of the environmentalist movement being "dogmatic about" banning DDT. Millions of malaria victims would be quick to agree, if only they had lived.

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