In his accessible and compelling essay, Worster explains how human relations with other animals, wild and domestic, are at the core of a majority of epidemics. In the face of the current coronavirus crisis, he argues that an exclusive focus on human life and economy will keep neither the planet nor ourselves healthy. We must decide “whether we humans can or want to restore and protect the health, not just of ourselves, but also of the planet.”
There is no shortage of noise when humans begin to panic and shout for revenge. We are in a fighting mood, and the fight once more is against nature. The nonhuman world is being blamed not only for the current wave of sickness but also for upheaval in trade, manufacturing, transportation, jobs, currencies, stock prices, education, climate and biodiversity conferences, immigration, and hospitals. Eventually, after the first waves of panic begin to subside, we may be ready to think about why this epidemic has occurred. (Extract from “Another Silent Spring.”)
We hope that our fellow environmental historians and humanities scholars will find it interesting and useful for education in the midst of this crisis.
Worster, Donald. “Another Silent Spring.” Environment & Society Portal, Virtual Exhibitions 2020, no. 1 (22 April 2020). Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. doi.org/10.5282/rcc/9028.