Some of those founding the ecology movement are shortsighted. They want protected species but don’t see how their protection might hurt locals. And because they don’t truly include humans in their ecological sights, often their agenda do more harm than good.

So we read a wonderful article in the WaPo that celebrates Rachel Carson:

“…Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” published in 1962, led to the banning of the pesticide DDT, the launch of modern environmentalism and her enshrinement as a kind of patron saint of nature….”

Ah, but did Rachel Carson care more about birds than children?

Buried in paragraph 27, and paraphrasing the Congressman, The Washington Post concedes that “numerous” deaths might have been prevented by DDT…Just how “numerous” is numerous? Wouldn’t you ask that question? The Post never asks that question. Why? Because the answer devastates Rachel Carson and her followers. According to these CDC figures, malaria kills more than 800,000 children under age five every year.

No, it is not noticed, because such deaths don’t fit into the template: Imagine the story: Bad environmentalists kill kids, but evilhitlerbushy’s promotion of funding to help Africa fight TB, malaria and HIV. Or stop destroying the indigenous way of life activists ignore that poverty and filth lead to children dying, but big bad business such as evilMicrosoftBillGates  is saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Well, duh.

A similar “duh” is in this BBC story: “insurgents” say: attack us and the monkey dies…well, the gorilla anyway.

Oh yes. Stories about monkeys are important.
Animal rights groups are probably hyperventillating.

But what is that part at the end of the story about the 97 park rangers killed, or the four million dead in the conflict?

Oh well, there is one tiny difference.

Stories of cute animals make the news.

People quickly tire of another sick African baby story, unless the story shows a Hollywood star adopting the kid as a publicity stunt.

But I was in Africa, and these children are my patients and the children of my collegues.

In Wind,Sand, and Stars, Saint Exupery describes seeing ragged Polish workmen being deported from France, and then spots one of their children, and muses:

I bent over the smooth brow, over those mildly pouting lips, and I said to myself: This is a musician’s face. This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this. Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become?

Ah yes. Stop a silent spring, protect the birds. Save the rainforest. Save the elephant. Save the tiger. Save the gorilla.

But if saving the tiger lets you ignore the child killed by her teeth, and if saving the gorilla makes you look away from those dying nearby, and if saving a bird means that a child dies of cerebral malaria, could I politely suggest that you just might have your priorities wrong?

Hint: Give an extra dollar and do both.

You might just save Mozart along with Marcel.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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