Pesticides, Endangered Species, and Global Climate Change
I just received this email from a long-time e-friend of mine who is
Dr. Thomas Cade, founder of the Peregrine Fund, has stated more than once that the key to recovering the North American peregrine from threat of extinction was the bold move by a Republican administration executive, William Ruckleshaus, to ban DDT. That pesticide not only drove the peregrine falcon and the bald eagle to near extinction, but it seriously affected other raptor species, songbirds, waterbirds, and who knows if it would have ultimately caused increased human cancers, etc.
The U.S. Senate is about to consider a revision of the Endangered Species Act, which (I believe) is called the Endangered Species Recovery Act, which was written and promoted by the arch-enemy of conservation in the U.S. Congress, Richard Pombo. An amendment to Pombo's legislation prevents the U.S. government from using the Endangered Species Act to protect endangered species from pesticides in critically significant ways. It is as if Richard Pombo is saying he wished the peregrine and the bald eagle and the other birds that survived because of the DDT ban had actually become extinct!
First, I encourage everyone who reads this note to go to www.beyondpesticides.org and read the analysis of the Pombo legislation and vigorously fight it by insisting to your U.S. Senators and other lawmakers that you (along with myself and many others) treasure our native biodiversity and that you reject such bad legislation and would prefer to vote out of office any Senators and Congresspeople who would advance such legislation.
And I also encourage you to think about the predictable future. We have been aware for some time that global climate is changing. Changes are predicted to result in likely increases of disease, including insect-borne diseases that could affect both humans and wildlife. The threat of disease to humans could result in the dissolution of the current ban on DDT and the bringing back of wide-spread use of that chemical, which will obviously be devastating to the same endangered species we have fought so hard to recover. We need to think about how we can protect human health AND wildlife without putting our
biodiversity at risk. We need government funded research on means of disease vector control that is environmentally safe, and we need to be proactive about this!
I think the environmental community and the conservation community need to be much more proactive and reduce the need for emergency reaction to predictable threats to ourselves and our beloved natural world.
Stan Moore San Geronimo, CA
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