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rainbowgardener
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Stay tuned... I have to go to work, so more later. This is really interesting. I had not heard any of the criticisms of Carson, so I also did go looking. It is an interesting case study of how hard it can be to find the truth and how hard to have a reasonable, unpolarized, nuanced discussion.

Very short version. Dr J Gordon Edwards was one of her most ardent critics. He was not a bad guy, Sierra Clubber, mountain climber, etc. He died a few yrs ago at the age of 84 (or 85 depending on your source) of a heart attack while mountain climbing, after having in earlier years allegedly eaten DDT by the tsp full to disprove its harmful effects. (Which as noted above has nothing to do with either environmental effects or long term subtle effects in populations).

His issue was that the DDT ban was a bad thing, because it allowed comeback of malaria which is indeed a scourge of the developing world to this day.

So prior to Carson we had indiscriminate use of DDT sprayed by the ton from airplanes over vast swaths of the landscape. Then we had a total ban allowing return of malaria (and bedbugs, but they are not really known to cause disease, just itching and gross-out). So could there possibly be some middle course?

Stay tuned, but thanks ruggr for alerting me to this interesting controversy. Lets all try not to rant, because ranting and polarization and disregard for other people ideas, for subtlety and complexity, is a lot of what has gotten us in the mess we are in.
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GardenRN
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Grrrr..I hate bedbugs. The percentage of my patients that are coming with bites or the bugs themselves is rising seemingly every month. Some of the owners of the group homes should have criminal charges because of the way they run things at these homes. Of course many of the patients aren't of the mindset to complain, and don't know what their resources are. (mental health patients) And if all the homes get closed down, they'd be on the street. The goven't, either local of federal needs to crack down on this with heavy fines. It's ridiculous.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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RogueRose
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This is what non-organic corn makes...sure it may be healthy to eat, but what impact does it have? https://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/09/05/796781/genetically-modified-corn-gives-rise-to-superworms-as-agribusiness-lobbies-against-gmo-labeling/

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GardenRN
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Thanks for amping up my paranoia Johanna! Geez. This place is going to hell in a hand basket. (not HG, the friggin WORLD!)
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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rainbowgardener
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We have a whole separate thread going somewhere about GMO. Non-organic doesn't have to be GMO; farmers were using chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers decades before the GMO technology was even possible.

So back to the Rachel Carson controversy. So yes, Rachel Carson was a pioneer and her book was published 50 years ago. Think of the science and technology that was available 50 years ago, pre computers, electron microscopes, etc etc. And yes, the book was written out of fear of what was happening, to alert the general public to the dangers, not written for scientists. So when we look at it now there are inaccuracies. That does not mean the thesis of what she was saying was wrong. She helped create the whole environmental movement and made us aware that there was a whole eco-system out there that we were trampling on without paying any attention.

I looked at Dr Gordon's article "The Lies of Rachel Carson" from 1992. https://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html
Obviously from the title he is as much a polemicist as she was, with his own axe to grind.

He starts by saying her use of a quote from Albert Einstein in the dedication ‘Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth.' is a lie because Einstein was talking about nuclear weapons when he said that. That shows the level Dr Gordon is working on. We apply quotes in other contexts all the time. Because Einstein wasn't talking about pesticides doesn't make his quote inapropos or make her use of it a lie.

Then he goes through page by page with things like this:

"Page 16. Carson says the pre-war insecticides were simple inorganic insecticides but her examples include pyrethrum and rotenone, which are complex organic chemicals."

At worst this is a mistake by Carson, but mistakes are not the same as lies. I haven't gone back to check the source, but I'm guessing it may not have even been a mistake but an example of somewhat sloppy writing. One of those things where you say in general the pre-war insecticides were simple inorganics. Then a sentence or two later you list the pre-war insecticides and include some that aren't inorganic. But even if she didn't know the difference, that doesn't make it a (deliberate) lie, and it has little or nothing to do with the central thesis she was putting forward.

"Page 18. Referring to chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides (like DDT) and organophosphates (like malathion), Carson says they are all “built on a basis of carbon atoms, which are also the indispensable building blocks of the living world, and thus classed as ‘organic., To understand them we must see how they are made, and how they lend themselves to the modifications which make them agents of death.â€
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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RogueRose
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GardenRN wrote:Thanks for amping up my paranoia Johanna! Geez. This place is going to hell in a hand basket. (not HG, the friggin WORLD!)
Isn't that scary? And the fact that they've found pesticides in fetuses and umbilical chords? Traces of the toxic pesticide were found in 93% of pregnant mothers and 80% of the umbilical cords. Headed by Monsanto, the GM food industry has long asserted that these destructive pesticides would simply pass through the body without harm

Read more: https://naturalsociety.com/toxic-genetically-modified-crop-pesticides-found-in-unborn-babies/#ixzz25kQbC6Sv

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