Sunday 8/29/99 NY Times anti-environmentalist articles

E.C.Apling E.C.Apling at
Mon Aug 30 12:14:13 MDT 1999

I have not (yet, at ant rate) perused any of the NY Times articles listed by
Lou, but his comments once again ask for intervention by the "sceptical"

1. GM NEEDS defence against the "gut-reaction" of the popular press.  No
objection is made to the use of GM for the development of vaccines and other
medical interventions - but all sorts of possible (but, in general highly
improbable) dangers of GM crops are bandied about without regard to the
necessity - in the future if not necessarily crucial this decade - of
investigation of all possibilities of increasng world food production and
the probably crucial role of GM in this regard.

2. The very real possibility that the reasons for removal of DDT from
general use (the supposed effect on egg-shell structure for various
endangered species of birds of prey) were ill-founded - and the certainty
that replacement of DDT with much more expensive insecticides (and
consequently less effective action against the mosquito) has resulted in
many more cases of malaria in poor tropical countries unable to afford

3. The third point, while it is no doubt absolutely correct to attack
application of lower envionmental standards by US/European firms in their
operations in Africa or Asia, also raises the whole problem of whether the
environmental standards affordable and desirable in the aflluent parts of
the world are in any sense relevant world-wide - or merely (even if only in
part) a luxury of populations in the affluent countries....

All three points have both scientific and political aspects - and the
"green" view is not necessarily scientifically sustainable.....

A later message from Lou [Subject: Dom Helder Camara dies] gives a very
apposite quote to all this:

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the
poor have no food, they call me a communist."

-- Dom Helder Camara

I would need to modify this quote only very slightly to make it more

I feel like making similar comments to two later messages from Lou [Subject:
Re: On Judging and not reading and Subject: Against libertarianism] where
once again too much seems to be "taken for granted".

Mailto:E.C.Apling at

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-marxism at
> [mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
> Sent: 29 August 1999 15:07
> To: marxism at; pen-l at
> Subject: Sunday 8/29/99 NY Times anti-environmentalist articles
> The NY Times has a "green" reputation in some circles. Nothing could be
> further from the truth. The first two articles below, as if one was not
> sufficient, amount to a subtle defense of GM foods. The third makes the
> case for re-introducing DDT. The fourth explains that many
> African-American
> activists have seen the "wisdom" of relaxing environmental standards in
> their communities in order to lure corporate development. When you add to
> this the regular reporting of the outrageous Gina Kolata, who has made a
> career out of whitewashing corporate criminals, especially with respect to
> their role in producing carcinogens, you end up with a very "brown"
> newspaper of record.
> Gene-Altered Food Is a Trade Threat for U.S. Farmers
> (

Fearful Over the Future, Europe Seizes On [Genetically Modified] Food

DDT, Target of Global Ban, Has Defenders in Malaria Experts

Brownfields: Rethinking the Cleanup Rules for Polluted Sites

Louis Proyect

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