Monday, February 18, 2008

Is Environmentalism holding Africa back?

Next to AIDS, the biggest killer in Africa is malaria which is carried by mosquitoes... mosquitoes that could by and large be reduced/eliminated by using DDT.

DDT used to be sprayed in the US back in the fifties and into the sixties but it was found to be bad for the environment... Yet how many people who were exposed to DDT in its heyday today suffer ill side effects? There are few enough of them that we don't hear much about it... far fewer people are adversely effected by DDT than Africans who are killed by malaria every day/month/year.

Many nations in Africa have the means to support coal power, power that could really help many African nations improve their economies and their standard of living (the more self-sufficient we allow them to become the less money they'll need from the more developed nations of the world). But coal power is "bad for the environment." As such the UN places economic sanctions on nations who choose to use coal power-- negating any positive effect using such power would have on the economies of these nations.

I know we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, but at what cost? Should we really be holding back almost an entire continent because DDT is bad for the environment? Because coal power isn't as clean as other forms of power?

Do we have the right to have an "environmental conceit" that puts lesser developed nations at a distinct disadvantage because they don't have strong enough economies to support the more environmentally friendly alternatives that the more developed nations of the world DO have the economies to support?

I don't have the answer(s)... I'm just putting this out there for discussion... Politics on a bit more global scale.

1 comment:

Calia77 said...

It's a tricky balance between helping the developing world and stewarding the world. Not helped by the developed world's greed and lack of compassion towards enabling the developed world to get up on its feet. Yes, we've learnt lessons about what not to do, but we can't impose those on a developing country without enabling them to use our new lessons.
And as for the scandalous practice of patenting drugs that developing countries can't afford... Well... That's just wrong!