21 Mar Silent Spring: Then and Now
Thoughts on environmental hypocrisy
By David L. Black, Ph.D., Founder of 2ndVote
In 1962 Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. This is one of the most important science books ever written and is the foundation of the modern environmental movement. Ms. Carson, a scientist employed with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, allegedly initiated her inquiry into the possible adverse effects of insecticides on wildlife (including birds) due to a letter received detailing large bird kills post crop application of such chemicals. Silent Spring predicts a world irreparably changed by the indiscriminate use of new synthetic chemicals applied to the environment that offered hope to improve crop yields, reduce the effects of pests on human populations and control disease.
The consequence of publishing this seminal work of literature and science was to arouse the American population to better protect the world which we have been gifted. And great among the concern was to protect the beautiful birds which provide so much in the way of the natural ebb and flow of nature. Indeed, for those who enjoy songbirds that live in our backyards, the absence of their songs would diminish life in even the most simplistic ways.
The “environmental movement” was born to protect the world in which we live. And the intent is beyond noble, it is even necessary. But many new “movements” are founded in good intent, only to be hijacked by those with greater ambition and too often without good intent.
Today’s version of the environmental movement is much more about power and polity than about good policy. This is evidenced over and over again from “carbon tax credits”, to elitists gathering in expensive venues to discuss their “concern”, to subsidies of crazy “green projects” that are unsustainable and rob the taxpayer of hard earned dollars. And perhaps the quintessential example of the complete reversal of the intent of Silent Spring is the modern “wind turbine”.
Estimates are that wind turbines in the United States kill thousands of eagles, hawks and falcons every year. In addition to the destruction of these magnificent birds there are hundreds of thousands of other birds killed annually. “The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act” enacted in 1940 (well before Silent Spring was published) enacts fines of $100,000, one year in jail or both for killing or disturbing these symbols of our great country. And yet late in 2016 the US Fish and Wildlife (under the Executive Branch of our federal government; and the same agency that employed Rachel Carson) enacted provisions allowing wind turbine companies (subsidized by tax dollars) to kill up to 4,200 golden and bald eagles annually without punishment.
There has been no outcry by the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, PETA or any of the usual environmental activists. There have been no marches, no special “Earth Day” movements to remove wind turbines from our environment and to stop killing our beautiful birds. The silence has been deafening. But perhaps this is the new “silent spring”.
Environmentalists who receive billions of dollars from donations and billions more in tax dollars and/or fines levied against industry, and who travel to world Climate Control meetings on private jets, have perhaps found “silence” is far more profitable and that the eagles, hawks, falcons, bats, doves, robins, geese and many other species will just have to learn to adapt and evolve to the new world of wind turbines. However, with more wind turbines being built, regardless of their negligible contribution to our power grid, the problem of the slaughter of birds will only become greater.
Ironically, the environmental movement today is succeeding at doing what Silent Spring predicted as we are actually eliminating the calls and songs of hundreds of thousands of birds a year.
David L. Black, Ph.D., is the founder and Chairman of 2ndVote, the conservative watchdog for corporate activism. Dr. Black served in combat with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam (1968-69).