- Trying to square the circle
The opening days of the Synod on the Family have revealed distinct differences of opinion between the participants. How can their commitment to church teaching be matched with compassion for those who struggle with it?
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- Nobel Prize: Nomadic priest that migrants call for help Fredrick Nzwili
- Synod's division bell rings for the devolution of power Christopher Lamb in Rome
- The Synod of tough words spoken softly Paul Vallely
One can only hope for a positive outcome in the trials of the GM Anopheles mosquito described by John Kitui (The Tablet, 28 June) as a path for eliminating the human toll from malaria.
Quite by coincidence Malaysia has recently confirmed the release of 6,000 GM Aedes aegyptii mosquitos directed against dengue fever. John Kitui believes it will be some time before GM mosquito campaign can really get going, even though about half a million children under the age of five are still dying each year still from a disease we failed to control 40 years ago. We failed to eliminate it because of the premature and ill-founded ban on DDT, a substance thought to have saved the lives of two billion people and which didn’t kill anybody. The 1968 statement by Paul Ehrlich, a well-known environmentalist, that “every life saved this year in a poor country diminishes the quality of life for subsequent generations”, adds a more sinister dimension to the background for the ban.
The limited form of thought responsible for the DDT ban is still in evidence today in the opposition of environmentalist groups to the use of Golden Rice, a GM crop designed to prevent Vitamin A deficiency related deaths. Here the toll is put at two million children a year. The Green Revolution of Norman Borlaug gave the lie to the claims in Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. Our vastly increased food supply does not come without some cost, but the naïve projection of the rural idyll in Transylvania (The Tablet, 28 June) typically overlooks the positive. Given the experience of other populations that have been put into eco-zoos the Transylvanians should act quickly.
Dr Michael Hughes, Newbury