“Our son is dead, and you say we cannot sue?” the mother asked disbelievingly. The words were understandable despite the heavy accent.
“I cannot see how Green Peace, much less these other environmental groups, are to blame for your child’s death,” Daniel replied. He wanted a case, but this was too much a long shot.
“Our country was not allowed to make DDT, because of your patents. You would sell it to us, because of your environmental laws.” Daniel began to fade as the man’s thick African accent droned on. “Then you were so busy giving us condoms for men to see prostitutes and AIDS drugs when they were infected, that they did not have money for drugs to treat children with malaria.”
“Then perhaps you should have used anti-malarial drugs to prevent the disease –“
“If we could not afford the drugs to cure him, we could not afford the drugs to keep him from getting healthy in the first place.”
Poor people, Daniel thought, in more ways than one. “Can’t you have another child?” Daniel asked. “The family planning commission would have to give you permission to replace your only child.”
“Family planners sterilized my wife when she had our son. They said there were already too many poor people in the world.” Then, bitterly, “Perhaps that is why they don’t let us kill mosquitoes with DDT. Millions fewer poor people, all dead.”
Millions dead. Those words snapped Daniel out of his doldrums and into a new series of daydreams. “Perhaps your case would be more seriously considered by the courts if it were a class action lawsuit. The same NGOs that caused your child’s death strong armed you, your people, your country – into a situation where this was certain to happen to many people.” Class action suits are big money, when there are many sob stories. “Can you give me names of those who have died of malaria due to lack of DDT? Especially those who’ve lost the only children they had, as well.”
“You will take our case?” the husband asked, barely believing.
“I think we can find a jury to consider demanding proper compensation from environmentalists for so many unnecessary deaths.”