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I ask my environmental students. Inevitably, many answers revolve around the issue of “too little money” or not enough resources devoted to its detection and prevention. That may or may not be right, but I want to raise a slightly different question in response. To those of you who tend to think it is money, then how can you then in the next breath curse modern commercial society for being “unsustainable?”

Malaria was once a common threat to much of the now industrialized world. It would be bizarre to see an outbreak in a major US City for example. Yes, modern life has brought with it its own retinue of environmental issues, but none as serious as something like malaria. And for those of you who do not like the idea of the environmental issues modern society brings us (such as trace levels of benzene in the soil), make a choice: benzene in the soil that is most certainly of limited health concern, or malaria in the mosquitos – knowing that today over 1 million people worldwide still die from the horrible illness. Benzene will not kill a million people from now to eternity.

Remember that you can’t have both – if you think so, I’ll be first in line at your house to accept the free goodies you plan on handing out.

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