Who do you call when you witness a ship dumping toxic waste in the ocean, and another ship doing commercial whaling? Or while traveling across states you happen to pass by a group of men doing logging activities at a forest under conservation? Or you’ve heard of a nuclear test being undertaken few miles from your home? If you have enough concern for your environment, you’ll probably be calling the Greenpeace International. Yes! With this fragile earth already in existence for million years, it should need volunteers like the Greenpeace to protect its environment from further degradation.
Throwing poisonous substance1 in the ocean pollutes the water and endangers the aquatic resources which are the source of livelihood of many families living at the coastal villages. Commercial whaling2 poses risk at the dwindling species of whales in the ocean which causes imbalance in the aquatic ecosystems. World’s remaining forests are being conserved to help in the fight against air pollution and lessen the effect of global warming3. Nuclear weapon testing4 poisons the air and makes the soil unfit for planting. We all should care about our environment for our healthy existence including the generations to come.
But while I agree with all the environmental protection, prevention and conservation activities of the volunteer organization5, this essay argues with Greenpeace International’s worldwide banning of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT on the following points: ? The banning on the use of pesticides like DDT has resulted to death of million people in Africa caused by malaria6, ? The deaths and sickness annually, according to World Health Organization (WHO), brought about by malaria reduces the gross domestic product (GDP) of African nations by 1. 3 percent and suffers economic loss by as much as $12 billion7, No less than the World Health Organization promotes the use of DDT in fighting the dreaded malaria in developing countries8, and ? United States Agency for International Development (USAID), America’s lead agency supporting countries in the African continent eradicate malaria, has significantly increased their budget for DDT 9 The Greenpeace International Greenpeace International10 is an independent, non-profit organization. Started in 1971, the group was initially an anti-war crusader who boarded a fishing boat and sailed in the effort of stopping a nuclear test in Alaska.
Inspired by their success in their first encounter11, the organization, mostly manned by volunteers, is now sailing around the world, going to remote parts of the globe, campaigning and standing as witness to the destruction of mother nature and going against individuals, government agencies and private corporations who are trying to destroy our environment. The approach is direct but non-violent12. Greenpeace primary objective is ensuring the continuation of life on earth in all its beauty and complexity12B.
They conduct educational campaign and information drive all geared towards protecting seas and endangered forests13. They are promoting the use of renewable energies instead of fossil fuels which are proven to cause climate change. They lobby against the continued use of toxic chemicals and its improper disposal. The earth’s friends14 also strongly oppose the release of genetically modified organism into the environment15 and vigorously campaign for the eradication of nuclear weapons and its testing which poison the air.
For the operational budget, Greenpeace depends mostly on individual supporters’ voluntary contribution s and grants from supportive foundations. Soliciting or accepting financial contributions from government entities, private corporations or political parties are avoided16 so that its integrity, independence, goals and objectives will not be compromised. The organization commits itself to non-violence confrontation, political independence and internationalism.
In their effort to show to the world some of the environmental risks and in trying to come to effective solutions, Greenpeace International considers no permanent friends and adversaries17. Greenpeace International has been a great factor in making the world a better and safer place to live. Its 35 years of protecting Mother Earth has led to: the banning of dumping of toxic substances to underdeveloped countries, issuance of moratorium on the practice of commercial whaling, better administration of world fisheries as agreed upon during the U.
N. Convention and the establishment of whale sanctuary in the southern ocean. The Earth’s Friends also succeeded in obtaining a 50-year moratorium on the exploration of mineral in Antarctica, pushed for the prohibition of disposal in world’s oceans of radioactive materials, factory waste and abandoned oil exploration facilities. The organization has also stopped massive driftnet system of fishing on the high seas and succeeded in their original mission of stopping nuclear weapon testing18.
With the continued climate change, Greenpeace International hopes to get the support of more foundations and individual supporters. They also wish that more people from around the world will join them in their crusade by reporting any activities that will put a threat to the environment. Greenpeace’s Concept of Environmental Law According to Jamie Benedickson’s book, Environmental law is depicted as a complex system of various concepts which are put together to enable man to fully understand the causes and effects of some impacts brought about by human activity.
These concepts range from the main source of problem, down to the effects and the ones greatly affected, up to the possible solutions that could be taken into consideration. There are concepts regarding precaution principles that could be taken, as Greenpeace eagerly shows in most of its protests. This includes how the people could participate, the possible sanctions given to those who violate these rules and many more. It also includes some experiments on their quest to find better methods to implement and spread the laws for the environment, and how will the people react or interact with this body of law.
This effort is all for the benefit of mankind in the future. These laws regulate their freedom, but are surely essential for all (Benidickson). Biodiversity. Environmental law seeks to preserve biodiversity in nature. This is to ensure that there is always a balance that the nature follows. If there is imbalance, there could be a great impact on the organisms living on the system, and this includes us, human beings. If biodiversity is damaged, there could be a tip-off in the balance and there could be problems like food supply shortages, spread of diseases and more.
That is why the Environmental law seeks to protect wildlife and marine species, and their respective habitats. Biodiversity depends on these concerns, to preserve the number of organisms, to keep everything in order, to keep everything, every organism diverse. Pollution. Pollution is the contamination of some of the most important aspects in human life, like air, the soil and the water by toxic or harmful materials and substances. Because of this, the Greenpeace seeks to regulate the amounts of these contaminants, or as much as possible keep them away from our basic needs, like air and water.
However, there are already laws on how to dispose toxic and dangerous materials so that it would not harm people. It also seeks to impart on the people on the proper management and treatment of this environmental problems. Conservation. Preserving and maintaining balance in the environment is an important concern in the Environmental Law. This is because of the various efforts from different sectors of the people. This is where the idea of Sustainable Development enters.
There should be enough resources left in the environment so that it could sustain the future generation. The idea is to be able to spend and utilize these resources without jeopardizing the future. The idea of replacing and replenishing spent resources are important to assure a future supply for the people, thus, conservation and protection of these natural resources play an important role in the Environmental laws specifically against the issues being raised by Greenpeace. The Argument – Worldwide Ban on the Use of DDT The use of DDT was banned in 1972 by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But the ban does not apply outside of U. S19. Knowing the harmful effect of the chemical in human as well as in animal, Greenpeace International is pushing for its worldwide ban. The organization invokes the U. N. treaty on the so called persistent organic pollutants (POP). The treaty will cause the elimination of DDT which is believed to be the most affordable yet effective pesticide available20.
While Greenpeace was just consistent in their purpose of eliminating substances that pose risk to the environment, the prohibition on the use of DDT should have been reviewed considering the sudden increase of deaths shortly after the implementation of the ban. Malaria disease became widespread and millions, particularly pregnant women and children died in Africa and in other developing countries. The sickness and death also gave serious implication such as significant reduction in the gross domestic product and the loss of billions of dollars in the economy.
With the ban in effect, devastation of people’s health and the economy will continue21. The momentum that the Greenpeace Intenational was able to establish as a result of their successes in previous years in many aspects of environmental protection is so strong that it was able to convince wealthy countries to adhere to the ban. Yet bigger and more credible institution are waking up in an apparent deep slumber as they started to provide funds in an effort of preventing the spread of malaria by killing the infected mosquitoes through the use of the banned DDT.
No less than the World Health Organization began the active promotion of the pesticide DDT in fighting malaria in the third world. It took the loss of ten million lives caused by the supposed to be preventable malaria disease that made WHO spring into action. Wall Street Journal comments, “It is good to know, WHO has come alive”22. Another institution which came into its senses after long years of avoiding the consistent lobbying of some scientists on the need for an effective malaria control in Africa is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Enthusiastic officials of the U. S. government have endorsed the increase of budget appropriation for developing countries in the sub Saharan region. The aid is intended to win the war against the most dreaded disease that hit the region. The budget will specifically go into the purchase of DDT23. The Greenpeace might have the momentum but it has to collide with the WHO and USAID if it wants to push its ambition to still put total ban on DDT despite the millions of death and the ruin of the economy. The risk that the DDT may pose to the environment, if any, may later be treated.
Saving the lives of million of people region will have to come first.. What is the sense of having a clean environment if it will not be enjoyed by either of the dead and the dying? If the sick has already been treated, the shift to a safer pesticide will follow. Arata Kochi, WHO malaria chief said, “Among the twelve insecticides that WHO endorses as harmless for indoor spraying, the most effective is DDT”24. We take the necessary action base on observation and on the available data. DDT aside from being affordable is the most effective way of containing a disease.
This has been suggested by United Nations’ health agencies but pressure from environmentalists prevented the use of DDT. The effectiveness of DDT may have been incorrectly presented but studies point out that right amount of the insecticides used in killing mosquitoes will not be harmful to human, animals and environment. Insecticide may not totally eradicate malaria and its endorser doesn’t guarantee its result, nevertheless, keeping the people alive and healthy can bring about growth and development that will be a lasting solution to problem of poverty in the region25.
WHO’s decision to fund the use of DDT in malaria eradication has a negative effect on the Greenpeace self-esteem. The fight that they know all along, to have already been won, have suddenly turned to be the other way around. But looking at the positive side, they can research and recommend to DDT users the right amount when spraying and the proper protective gears that have to be worn in spraying. They can educate families that clean sorroundings will not provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and thus will save them from the dreaded disease.
USAID on the other hand had identified areas in the sub saharan Africa that need help. The assistance involves mostly of DDT indoor residual spraying26. Environmentalists suggest that the effort of USAID to eradicate malaria be focused on handing out medicines and pesticide-treated bed netting to families in areas with threat of heavy mosquito infestation. Greenpeace can now volunteer to distibute these drugs and bed nets in remote parts of the continent. Conclusion I believe DDT being a chemical can pose risk to human’s health, animals and environment.
I believe too that there are insects like the mosquito which possesses dangerous bites that can kill people. And that is where DDT is needed. In this case, there should never be a worldwide ban on the use of substance unless the world is declared as malaria-free. Selective banning is preferred. DDT can be banned in highly developed and clean cities where there is no place for mosquitoes to breed. It can openly be sold, bought and used in areas like the African continent where malaria has grown into epidemic proportion.
However, after the problem had been treated banning of DDT in the place can be proposed. If malaria is eradicated through the use of DDT, there is no assurance that it will not provide illnesses to people in the environment no matter how little the amount sprayed. Chemicals usually float in the air and may be inhaled. It can land on soil that can affect vegetation or it can mix with water which can be poisonous when drank or cause skin allergies when used for washing or bathing. The effect of chemical is not immediate. It may manifest its effect after 10 years, 20 year or more. .
If the Greenpeace International failed to implement worldwide ban on DDT, it doesn’t mean that they also failed in protecting the environment. They are right when they assert that DDT has its deadly effect in human, animals and environment. But DDT can also help in some ways. Like in developing countries it was able to prevent malaria. Experts claimed that if DDT was not banned, millions of people should have been saved. But who knows of the grand design27. End notes 1 This is strongly being opposed by Greenpeace International. 2 There is an existing moratorium on this type of fishing 3 Causes earth’s temperature to rise
There is an existing ban on all nuclear testing 5 Actually, I wish I can join someday 6 if DDT was not banned, millions of people should have been saved, see Milloy 7 see Milloy 8 see National Center for Policy Analysis 9 see National Center for Policy Analysis 10 see Greenpeace International 11 that test was stopped and became Greenpeace’ first ever victory 12 but sometimes violence cannot be avoided, there are times they were sued and were jailed 12B Greenpeace International Mission Statement 13 I’m wondering how rich they can be, most of them are volunteers and are not receiving any salary 4 similar to Greenpeace International 15 if they are released there is no way to retrieve them 16 they are serious about it. They return checks if they came from corporations 17 & 18 see Greenpeace International, Mission Statement 19, 20 & 21 see Milloy 22 National Center for Policy Analysis 23 see National Center for Policy Analysis 24&25 see National Center for Policy Analysis 26 see National Center for Policy Analysis 27 God’s design
Greenpeace International, Mission Statement, The Greenpeace Story, accessed April 10, 2007, http://www. greenpeace. org. k/contentlookup. cfm? SitekeyParam Milloy, Steven J. , “Rock Stars’ Activism Could Be Put to Better Use”, accessed April 15, 2007 Competitive Enterprise Institute, ; http://www. cei. org/gencon/019,04632. cfm National Center for Policy Analysis, Daily Policy Digest, “DDTs New Friends”, accessed April 20, 2007, http://www. ncpa. org/sub/dpd/index. php? page=article;Article_ID=12363 National Center for Policy Analysis, Daily Policy Digest, “United States Takes New View on DDT in Africa” accessed ,April 20, 2007, http://www. ncpa. org/sub/dpd/index. php? page=article;Article_ID=3283
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