Posted on 26 November 2010.
Fear of human population is a relatively recent trend, originating from studies showing considerable increases in world population over the past 50 years. The advanced population growth is mostly attributed to medical and agricultural advances. Legislation based on this fear is already being carried out in China with the “one child per family” law, and the pursuit of extraterrestrial shelter is a fervent one. Cynics say this panic is unfounded, and human population will be regulated the way it always has been: by the course of nature. The annual population growth rate has actually decreased 50% since 1963. Does the fear of human overpopulation have a legitimate scientific basis and deserve the panic it has often induced?
Thought Talk: What measures can be taken over the next 20 years to control human population growth?
Posted in "Road Less Traveled", Environment, Philosophical, Pop Culture
Posted on 25 November 2010.
Background: Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT as it is commonly known, was first used in World War II as an imortant insecticide preventing diseases like malaria and typhus. After the war, popularity for DDT erupted. Known as the “miracle” pesticide, it became enormously valuable for industrial, commercial, and domestic uses. However, government restrictions on the chemical and growing awareness of problems associated with it caused a steady decline in DDT usage. In 1972, the DDT was officially banned.
- Widespread use of the pesticide causes insects to develop resistance.
- Other safer, more effective pesticides were developed after DDT was banned.
- DDT is devastating to the environment. Due to the effects of bio-magnification, traces of DDT can be found in many more types of animals than just the insects it is meant to kill. Thinning of eggshells caused by DDT and other toxins is one of the main threats on the bald eagle population.
- DDT has also been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, impaired childhood, Parkinson’s disease, and many other health problems.
- DDT kills the carriers of insect-borne diseases like malaria, West Nile, bubonic plague and typhus.
- Alternative insecticides are more toxic, more expensive, or not as effective.
- People have been working with DDT for years, so the risks and rewards associated with it are well known; in contrast, unfamiliar chemicals have a higher incidence of over- or under-use
- Not enough evidence has been gathered to suggest that DDT is dangerous to many different life forms.
Posted in Domestic Affairs, Environment, Historical