Part One:Focus readings are the Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire), the John McPhee (Encounters with the Archdruid), and Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) selections from the Reader. Extensive biographical information on each individual will be included in the prompt for this essay. It should be useful in writing the essay. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring): Carson speaks about the utilitarian conservation movement in its traditional mission of supplying sustained yields of resources, but questions its insistence on controlling nature; she calls on the industrial world to think biocentrically, not anthropocentrically. What was Carson’s message about the use of chemical pesticides? - Carson starts her story with a hypothetical example of a still town shrouded by a shadow of death, animals were disappearing, some were gone. This town was meant to describe the culmination of the problems arising from the use of pesticides. It is supposed to appear universal. -Carson uses the links the reproduction of animals and plants and demonstrates an interconnectedness. She later applies this interconnectedness to real world examples and how one part is affected by another. She shows that humans are the real problem. -She then begins to speak on the one species with the power to physically alter the environment: humans. Their most alarming assault on the environment being the contamination of the air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and lethal chemicals. -These contaminants pass through all organisms, from soil all the way to humans. Since little is known about the pesticides affect, they move in unpredictable ways and cause a ripple effect that might directly affect back to humans. - Those alterations have been of an increasingly dangerous nature, and mostly involve widespread contaminations of the natural world that spur “a chain of poisoning and death” as poison is passed between living organisms. It passes through underground streams, and can be changed mysteriously by exposure to sunlight and air, so that its ultimate effects on those who drink from “once-pure wells” remain unknown.
- Rather than following the example of nature, Carson sees man as sprinting ahead at an unsustainable pace – her critics would cite this as an example of her ‘anti- development’ tendencies. -Carson writes against unsustainable development and man’s new power is frightening -Radiation has turned from the background radiation of rocks and UV of the sun, but it is the unnatural creation of man’s tampering with the atom -500 new chemicals every year are put into products, one’s that humans and animals are not adapted to and outside the limits of natural biological experience -The pesticides meant to kill weeds, rodents and other pests are now applied universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes. There effects are much more far reaching and have lead to the killing of good animals and plants as well.
- Fall '14
- Silent Spring