Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to the Past

One of the problems I’m having with so-called green technologies (which are often not so green) is that we seem to be going backward in terms of progress. Many of them are simply not up to the technologies they are replacing in terms of performance.  A perfect example would be the time I spent in Australia stumbling around half-lit rooms because the government has mandated the use of CFC bulbs.  They’ve come a long way but they still do not light up completely for some time.  And maybe it’s just me, but I think having well-lit rooms is a hallmark of civilization.

The same is true of other technologies.  My wife has a new Apple laptop and it’s far less stable and reliable than our old one.  Does this have something to do with the “greening” of the apple brand and the banishment of nasty evil chemicals like lead (see here for one of the drawbacks of the lead ban)?

Now we find out that one of the hallmarks of civilization—pest-free bedding, may be being sacrificed on the alter of environmentalism:

While worst in the Northeast and especially New York City, blood-sucking bed bugs are making a remarkably rapid resurgence worldwide.

....

But why are bed bugs back? Though they’ve been sucking humans’ blood since at least ancient Greece, bed bugs became virtually extinct in America following the invention of pesticide DDT.

There were almost no bed bugs in the United States between World War II and the mid-1990s.

Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers.

I know you’re thinking about the DDT ban, but the DDT ban is a little overblown since many insects have developed a tolerance for it. However, malathion and propoxur do work. The EPA-approved chemicals don’t kill bedbugs; they simply stun the little bastards.  Environmental groups complain that the effective pesticides have known health concerns.  But there’s a tradeoff here.  Most people will accept a little health risk if it means they don’t spend their nights being attacked by vermin.

And therein lies the problem.  To the radical environmentalists, there are no tradeoffs.  Anything dangerous or icky has to be banned, whether we have a replacement for it or not.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/30/10 at 07:16 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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