Editor's note: This column was co-authored by David Wojick.
Authors' note: This is part three of a three-part series explaining how the U.S. Agency for International Development continues to use climate change, sustainability, subsistence farming and other Green fads to justify lethal Obama era anti-development policies.
USAID policies perpetuate disease and malnutrition
A decade ago, USAID finally put DDT back in its anti-malaria arsenal, so that the walls and doorways of mud-and-thatch, cinderblock and other primitive homes could be sprayed with the most powerful and long-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. One DDT spraying every six months keeps the vast majority of these flying killers out, irritates those which do enter so that they don’t bite, and kills any that land. DDT thus reduces malaria infections by 80 percent or more, making it far easier for inadequate and overtaxed doctors and healthcare systems to treat those who still get this vicious disease.
Sadly, the policy change came only after the global Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now! campaign – led by three Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of prominent civil rights champions and people of faith – persuaded Congress to compel the agency to do so.
Today Deep State USAID bureaucrats seem determined to repeat this black mark in agency history, with millions more needless Third World deaths. This time, they’re not just blaming “manmade global warming” for spreading tropical diseases – an Al Gore myth that ignored malaria’s centuries-long prevalence in Britain, northern and central Europe, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin … and even Siberia.
Now USAID is claiming that deforestation and other land use changes also help spread infectious diseases. The agency has thus implemented an Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered Landscapes (IDEEAL) program. How it concocted these claims no one knows. But USAID asserts:
“Over 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases over the past six decades – from SARS to Ebola and HIV – have originated in animals, with nearly half linked to land use change, agricultural intensification or changes in food production. Land alterations accelerate the pace and diversity of human and animal contact, enabling pathogens to spill over from animal populations, a first spark in the chain of events that ignite global pandemics. Deforestation and forest degradation account for between 14 to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the entire global transportation sector. A key strategy in reducing the dual threats from diseases of pandemic potential and climate change is a robust evidence base that accurately captures the value of ecosystems, including their critical role in regulating disease.”
The IDEEAL program specifically calls for USAID to use its enormous power to influence and further control land use policies in developing counties. In the agency’s own inimitable words:
“Emerging infectious disease of pandemic potential and unchecked climate change threatens social and economic stability and represents significant impediments to sustainable development. Capturing the economic impact of disease emergence presents an opportunity to promote sustainable land use policies to mitigate these threats, leveraging USAID’s partnerships and expertise developing solutions to pressing development challenges.”
To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s description of Russia, this policy justification is an absurdity, wrapped in a non sequitur inside a deception. It is such absolute rubbish, one scarcely knows where to begin.
That agriculture, pathogens, pandemics, deforestation, forest “degradation,” greenhouse gases, social stability, sustainability and Washington, DC-imposed land use policies are somehow inextricably linked is absurd on its face. Bald assertions by USAID do nothing to persuade otherwise.
Humans in poor countries have always been, and remain, in much closer contact with animals than those living in modern developed countries – where the vast majority of people live in urban and suburban areas, and modern mechanized agriculture feeds their national populations and exports food to the rest of the world. Diseases have arisen from human-to-animal contact for ages, but are spread more rapidly today because people are far more mobile and can rapidly travel across multiple borders before any infectious disease manifests itself.
Modern agriculture would greatly reduce human contact with wild and domesticated animals alike. And yet USAID climate and sustainability alarmists (and their allies) are intent on perpetuating ultra-organic subsistence farming in poor countries, while simultaneously restricting farmers’ land use options.
USAID seems to think that agriculture practices needed to feed growing populations is not merely “unsustainable” – but is not sustainable because it might cause dangerous climate change and pandemics. This is nonsense, but it is where the Climate Change Strategy takes the agency.
Land use changes and modern agriculture in America, Canada and Europe have not resulted in global pandemics, nor has climate change – “unchecked” or otherwise, manmade or natural. That poor countries would somehow have a 180-degree opposite experience defies logic, experience and common sense.
Whoever concocted this nonsense seems to be determined to expand their personal and USAID influence and control, to intrude in every corner of international life. They are equally determined to justify their agenda by resorting to every faddish, fear-inspiring term they have set their eyes on. It is junk science and government overreach at its worst.
Conclusion: USAID, the White House and Congress must recognize reality
The Climate Change Strategy is a green cancer that has spread throughout USAID. It is eco-imperialist, carbon colonialist and callously inhumane. It violates the most basic human right to have access to the modern energy, agricultural, disease control and other technologies that create the jobs, living standards, leisure time, health, prosperity and longevity that we in developed nations almost take as our birthright.
It is also racist – because its worst, most lethal effects fall solely or predominantly on darker skinned people in poor countries.
This vicious cancer must be pinpointed and excised wherever it resides. The bureaucrats who devised these carcinogenic policies must be rooted out – and replaced with people who believe in evidence-based science, human rights, and America’s proper and vital role in improving opportunities and lives.
Modern civilization is still over 80 percent reliant on the use of abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy: the Master Resource that makes everything else possible. Improving lives in the world’s poor countries will likewise depend on burning fossil fuels, at least for several decades to come.
USAID should be leading the way in helping Earth’s poorest, most defenseless and politically powerless families realize their dreams of having lives akin to what average Americans enjoy. It should not be allied with callous, tyrannical organizations that employ bogus justifications for inhumane policies … and share so much of the blame for perpetuating joblessness, poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and premature death – in an era when eliminating those conditions should be no more than a generation away.
We certainly hope President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, USAID Administrator Mark Green and Members of Congress – Republican and Democrat alike – will take steps immediately to rescind every vestige of these insane, inhumane, lethal, racist, eco-imperialist policies.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science, logic and human rights in public policy, and author of numerous articles on these topics.