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What Have We Learned?

[ 7 ] April 22, 2012 |

Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, the landmark book connecting pesticide usage with species decline. Carson noted the very real threats of chemicals on humans as well as species and helped usher in the environmental movement that transformed the nation in important ways during the 1960s and 1970s. Elizabeth Kolbert wonders if, a half-century later, we have learned anything. It seems not. Kolbert cites several studies suggesting that colony collapse disorder in bees, a disease threatening the commercial viability of several fruits and vegetables we routinely eat, has happened because of a new type of pesticide. These neonicotinoids are neurotoxins that all these studies show completely decimates bee hives.

We may not have learned anything from Silent Spring, but Monsanto sure has. Unhappy with a research firm that produced a study critical of the Monsanto-produced neonicotinoids that are causing colony collapse, Monsanto simply bought the research firm. That’s some old-school Gilded Age action right there, like when Jay Gould used to buy newspapers who said bad things about him.

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  1. Leeds man says:

    Of course we’ve learned. We just haven’t done anything about it. That’s our special gift as a species. Y2K was foreseen decades before, nothing was done until the last minute, at great expense, and received wisdom now seems to be “what was all the fuss about?”.

  2. Linnaeus says:

    The new Lysenkoism?

  3. What we’ve learned is that most people will express support for environmental issues, but when it comes down to changing their lives, they will not do it. We have also learned that the federal and state governments will do everything possible to protect corporations that damage the environment.

    Nobody cares about the long run because in the long run we are all dead.

  4. Kal says:

    Unhappy with a research firm that produced a study critical of the Monsanto-produced neonicotinoids that are causing colony collapse, Monsanto simply bought the research firm. That’s some old-school Gilded Age action right there, like when Jay Gould used to buy newspapers who said bad things about him.

    Sounds like a new startup monetization strategy. I’ve got to get in on this. Get some venture capitalists to pay me to write nasty things about an evil corporation, and then cash in when the big bad buys up my company.

  5. Belle Waring says:

    My daughter, as a Gould descendant, was interested to learn about who became philanthropists (Rockefeller, Frick etc.) and why our rightly ill-esteemed great-great-etc. did not take that route. (They had to learn the word and concept “philanthropy” in school and it’s apparently so tied to being a robber baron that they had to go here.) I didn’t know about the newspaper-buying strategy; I imagine it was only to temporarily burnish his image before some stock scam. Then I suddenly thought of him as being all, “hate on, haters. I’m going to be miserable in my depressing gothic house.” Now I can’t get the image out of my head: uniformed driver in the front of the Bentley, the bearded “robber of widows and children” in the back seat, rims so big that heads turn in the parking lot, singing out the back: “haters everywhere we go/haters everywhere we go/haters everywhere we go, where we go, haters going down for the count/looking at the ground/I think you’re a hater/I think you’re a hater…usw”

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