Preface

Welcome, Earthlings.
If you’re curious as to why you’re here right now: I have few answers.

1) We are partially insignificant and menial beings on a space rock hurtling through space.

2) We are conditioned to believe we (homiosapiens) are the “superior” race due to our surface level intelligence and strength.

3) We are destroying everything natural and good on this planet at an alarming rate.

4) It’s our civil duty and responsibility to remember the environments vital role in our lives daily.

Welcome to my blog.

Here, I urge you to strap yourself in for the rollercoaster ride, but stay calm, because I’m just here for an honest conversation. The world is a hectic place and we need to remain resilient despite the ill circumstances. But we still need to know what’s going on, even when it’s stressful news to deal with. The key is to remain calm so we can tackle this like real level headed adults.

Hell, grab some tea, even. It’s time to take a journey through the last sixty or so years of climate change and the evolution of environmentalism. It’s imperative to remain objective on this journey, remembering why we started reading in the first place.

If you love Mother Nature, spent your childhood building mud castles and exploring the woods, or didn’t see your first real forest until you were 20… You are welcome and invited to ponder theses questions of our future. So, here’s a question:

When you’re young and the world is too broad to understand, it’s presented to you in terms of natural textures, animals, and sights. Why do we stray from those conventions in adulthood?

Perhaps its worth a thought that the rhetoric of being plain old kind we’re taught as kinds might actually hold some merit. The first them towards a healthier future might just be the jointing of humans despite our differences to collectively be kind to Earth for once. I have that much faith in humanity, at least.

And in all, I’m not sure exactly what power my words have, what impact, but I shall always project my most closely held values the loudest. So this is that, and here I am bellowing as loud as I can into the void. Here we all are, in this vast expanse, scared little creatures killing the natural mechanisms meant to save us. And who but us is there to save ourselves?

Growing up surrounded by natural wildlife reserves, vast forests, and local farms- I took the beauty of it all for granted. As I grew older, I grew angsty in the nothingness of the tall trees and fields of thick grass. It took a loss and revival of my soul to rediscover my love and deep appreciation for the woods. And now, I can drive by a mountain peak I’ve seen a thousand times and cry from its breathtaking beauty. I’m so very thankful to have woken up, and I’ll never stop crediting literature for doing this for me.

So this is the safe place for endangered nature and unpopular opinions alike to bloom.

The essays that follow are a collection of thoughts processed through the lenses of the books we’ve read in class. I am positively certain there are room for them to expand, as well. Each work of art has the potential to grow. In terms of growth, we’ve all grown exponentially in our fifteen weeks of our time together so far. Individuals who passively entered the class are creating finals of active doings. The conversations surrounding the latter works were more passionate, in depth, and focused on deeper meaning.

One of those deeper discussions led to the remembrance that humans have assumed our role as the top of the animal chain. As mammals, a fellow animal, we are no more important or valuable than any other animal- and it’s time we start acting on that. We already have witnessed what happens when we kill off too much of one species- another goes rampant and overpopulates the environment, throwing it out of homeostasis. For a brighter future (or any future at this point) we must actively and consciously begin to conserve smarter and remember the impact we’re making.

We’re creatures who have systematically worked, generation by generation, to detonate nuclear bombs of disappointment on the environment. In our power of being aware we have the ability to erode the ground on which the backwards, oil thirsty politicians stand. We can be the change we need in the world.

Excess and Necessity

When the life we live is chosen by luck of the draw, where do we get away with judging the privilege or disadvantages of others? Some are born to families who live in hillside mansions with 401ks and life insurance and all the bells and whistles. Others are brought up in shacks with lives lived on less than a dollar a day. Yet, those in the hillside mansions will look down on those in shacks. Despite the demand for workers, their inherent ignorances make the mansion livers racist and hateful against the very people in which they rely on.

This sour observation of the dichotomy between these radically different at all: they just fail to recognize each other. Both couples are living in the constant fear of the landscape around them, justifiably so. However, Delaney and Kyra’s heightened and anxious response to fears they have stems from this type of ignorance. This is fear of the assumed nature of those who don’t look like them. So, the fearful take hold of excess objects to build strong capitalist walls around their privileged lives of economic power, to protect from robbers obviously. But the fearful have almost nothing to fear in comparison to others. Those in fight mode have no time to be fearful, life is moving too fast and unsteadily and those like Cândido and America have no choice but to do what they must to survive.

The real fear Delaney and Kyra have is one of unsafety and any deviation from the norm. The fears they hold could have been carried out by anyone regardless of color. Their fears are of moral dilemma. And this moral dilemma is one to actually impact those in real danger with minimal fears like Cândido and America. The violence knows no race, no age, and no gender, yet those who have the luxuries of choice feel most trapped and unsafe in the castles they’ve made up for themselves.

Despite living in a life of little economic standing, Cândido and America still have the moral decency to be humble. Instead of carrying out lives that fit the horrid stereotypes, the two work hard for little money: out of necessity. Their lives are extremely difficult, made even more convoluted by the social constructs of the overbearing post-colonial society. In societal eyes, Cândido and America are seen as the problem. These humans, however, live more morally than the consumer driven, protected world of Delaney and Kyra. But because Delaney and Kyra are of the perspective that domestication is the key to a successful society, they lack the ability to see how a primitive society is more sophisticated. Thus, they categorize people who are not like them as uncivilized.

The gap is in the ecological disadvantages of Delaney’s “environmental interest.” He’s a man who is entirely a product of his society, who notices key issues but lacks the ability to process and address them efficiently. The poor man knows no way else to see the world, for he wasn’t raised with it, but was raised to use it. This raises giant red flags for our world today with our current crisis.

If there’s any hope for real environmental change, we as humans need to open our minds to each other first. In our own world: the US is the only country to have not signed the Paris agreement for environmental standards, our current POTUS openly perpetuates wildly outdated and inhumane stereotypes based on skin tones, and climate change is melting the glaciers and raising the average temperatures yearly. But before real change happens, or even can begin to happen, it’s time for environmentalists to become humanists, too. It’s time to be kind.

Practical Wilderness

Gary Snyder’s writing speaks so deeply of reflection and a return to the land. This has provoked me to think about ways I myself can return to the land. Not all of us in America are at the benefit of carrying native blood in our veins. While I’m substantially more of European descent, the guilt I feel when I realize the clash in ancestry makes me know I should actively be trying to change for the environment’s sake, not my own.
While the mistakes of our ancestors are not for us to internalize through blame, we tend to,, and as such Snyder shares ways for us to return to nature and find solace. To build a bridge between our ever separating spaces of outside versus inside, it’s important to understand the “grandmother wisdom” like Snyder talks of. The values passed down and along the lineage are the values the natives had 400 years ago, and are the same values carried today by anyone with a mind for respecting the natural world around them.
These wisdoms are grounded in the key understanding that humans, too, are animals. Instead of putting our advantages of opposable thumbs and complex brains on a pedestal, it’s for us to realize we are one with every other animal also fighting environmental change and decline. As Snyder puts it, “We must try not to be stingy, or to exploit others. There will be enough pain in the world as it is” (p 4). We shouldn’t feel guilty for who we are, but we should know we are animal and as such must be purposeful and kind as to not contribute to the decay of civilizations as we know them.
***
If the “grandmother wisdom” (p 60-61) could be tattooed to the brain and practiced by every individual on Earth, there would be no climate issues whatsoever. It is compliant with almost every religion: it’s universally just the values of being a wholesome person. The issue is that often life gets hectic and the commoner will start to focus mainly on a few good values they hold dear. The way to go would be to try to do as the natives do and carry all of them at equal importance. It’s just as important to be respectful of nature as it is your family, and hard work does nothing but strengthen the soul.
So… If being “nice” is the answer, why aren’t more people down with the movement? Snyder definitely talks to the harsh world where capitalism and self fulfillment reign, but what he never really talks about is the secret behind it all… It’s really hard for most people to be nice. This processed world of false flavorings and non-renewable plastic conventions is molding people to find no other outlet than to be destructive. There’s a label on people who give a shit about the environment, because it’s easier to throw the plastic water bottle in the trash and ignore the future than it is to move your hand a half a foot away to the recycling bin. Corporate America has made the world of one time use plastics and packaging glamorous, while giving off vibes that the natural alternatives were “less convenient” and less useful.
If we turn away from those ideas and trust those like Snyder leading us through the footpaths of nature, we’ll make it.

“Helpful” Terrorism

We live in a post- 9/11 world, where our anger and violence only causes more violence, creating an evil ongoing dance between what we disagree with and what we think itself to be right. And where are we to say and do what we want? As entirely insignificant forms of life on this space rock… We and our creations are the cancerous tumors of Earth (as it mirrors on humans and ravages our small bodies).
So why add more violence to our world that’s already fighting us so hard to leave? If we want so badly to become a peoples who are respectable to the animals and Earth, it’s time to acting how they would. And they’re appalled by our behavior thus far.
“The Monkeywrench Gang” is not a book I’d recommend to anyone with anger issues who’s hoping for a better tomorrow. It’s a great novel, don’t get me wrong, but it’s mainly a good novel for shaking some sense into someone and not so much a novel to hand to someone who’s already “woke” and ready to take action. The actions taken in monkeywrenching can be helpful, but pose many ethical dilemmas of character.
Just because something is wrong and we know it does not make it right for us to destroy what someone else finds right. And despite our perspectives allowing us to see the fault in the other perspectives, where does that justify our destruction? They’re already destroying what we aim to save, destroying their tools for destruction only further plummets us into a violent hole of constant chaos. To stop the issue at the source is to use words, calm actions, and education to enlighten the masses. Violence is simple, but just perpetuates our greatest issues. To read this book as a “how not-to” act is much beneficial. Stay educated, but remain respectful in your actions of change.
We are creatures who have done nothing but corrode and destroy our Mother Earth and if we aim to save as we so much preach, the actions of the monkeywrenchers really take away from that peace we’re working towards. The world will never be free of violence, but to reject it personally is the only way to create a positive outcome.

It’s The Call of the Woman

There’s a real sense of importance stressed on the woman of the world Terry has given us. It’s similar to the energy radiating from Linda Hogan’s woman of “Solar Storms.” I’m not trying to point fingers and say mean are to blame for all these ecological struggles, but it seems there’s this pattern of overly concerned and considerate concern stems from how the damage has impacted their families and communities. These ladies have been strong, smart, and resilient in the face of pure, unrelenting evil.

We are creatures of nature, and as such are subject to all the same adversaries we inflict upon our environment. In Tempest’s memoir, the ways humans destroy the environment just go back to haunt them. From nuclear testing in the desert, all sorts of medical issues arose, and in ten times a more detrimental a form. Nuclear testing within the twentieth century has effectively sent harmful radiation through any cell it could have hoped to touch, including cells attached to people who weren’t even immediately apart of the testing. These hazardous conditions have formed deadly growths within our bodies, and have effectively ravaged humanity.

When reading, the energy of estrogen fueled rage overpowered the very passive acceptance. In the passage where Tempest describes first learning of the nuclear testing her family had lived through, her father is entirely nonchalant about this. Instantly, Tempest is upset (and so was I). There’s no urgency to her father, and maybe it’s his age… but it feels like it’s his lax and acceptance of “the Man.”

Maybe Tempest and I share an eye for flaws of the patriarchal world… But our other authors see this to, so it’s not just us. But the women really see this truthful corrupt world we live in.

Not The Typical Novel

In Solar Storms, Linda Hogan’s 1995 novel about the James Bay Quebec Power plant and the generational quagmire of five Cree woman, Angel struggles to find herself. In the meantime, Angel juggles with the local and widespread consequences of happiness at the expense of another. Within her own life, Angel balances finding herself and coming to terms with her past. In her world, Angel deals with the taking over of her native lands for a contradictory power resource.

A girl with a troubled past, Angela heads to Adam’s Rib in the September of 1972 to find answers to her childhood, seventeen and fleeing the foster system. She’s a scared girl, physically and mentally, and is self conscious as such. Her mother Hannah left unexplainable scars on her, and though in her journey her mother leaves her unfulfilled, Angel begins to really find herself. Despite being new in the world, Angel “… thought. [She] understood” (120). The years of foster care couldn’t quite dull the instinct of family heritage, especially one as deep and rich as that of her native peoples.

Angel is entirely observant and gives strong detail to her family, which really helps her to understand herself. At first bitter by her mother’s actions, Angel learns how to overcome the pain of these memories from watching her strong elders Dora-Rouge, Agnes, and Bush. The Iron woman share qualities with the imagery associated with their name, and Angel learns quickly not to be shy, but how to harness her own strength of being.

Once again we dropped down into the rhythm of it, forgetting our lives in the other world. For me it was as if there had been no years in school learning numbers, no fights, no families who wouldn’t keep me. Gone were the times my hands were tied down so I wouldn’t hurt myself. None of it mattered now, not the lives on Adam’s Rib or Fur Island, not even the future. What mattered, simply and powerfully, was knowing the current water and living in the body where land spoke what a woman must do to survive.
We slipped back into a deep wilderness, into beauty and eeriness where spirits still walked on land, and animals still spoke with humans, toward a place where wolves and their ancestors remembered the smell of Dora-Rouge and her ancestors from years before.
 (204)

Her development of self character is one of exquisite and powerful language. Every passage is one of Angel becoming more and more of the self she deserves to be. The reflection she makes of her family adds to the italicizes background blurbs we’re given throughout the novel. All of this development is what we crave as readers, however we’re really shook by the damage being done by the power plant.

There has been a struggle for native peoples since the beginnings of colonization of the “New World.” The people of the land, they were very deeply impacted by the Westernization of their world, and continue to be today (DAPL). In Angel’s timeline, the horrors of the Quebec Power plant on the Hudson Bay are described:
Soon we learned that a security force was being sent in. By now, we knew what that meant. It meant there were plans underway to begin blasting and construction once again.(259)

The same lands Angel has described throughout the book as so vast and beautiful… blasted and hidden beneath concrete. This destruction is at the hands of naively guiltless culprits who, despite destroying precious native lands, cannot break the strong spirit within Angel’s native heart. As the Cree believe, spirits are recycled between relatives and one another. Angel won’t break despite her physical world decaying.

“The Man” could care less about the pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples and their relatives, and yet they continue to be resilient and strong, much like the wilderness they surround themselves in. While they may lose where industry meets brute force, the natives will always win in character and lifestyle. The most utmost respect is given to the nature and all in it so long as it is good, within native cultures, and I can appreciate that deeply. We are with nature, and even in times of its upheaval, it’s up to us to remain positive and resilient if we wish to make a real impact.

How We Say What We Mean

As we’ve read, we’ve met many very skilled and educated individuals. They’re all people who have knowledge of special kinds: whether because of courses they’ve taken, interests they’ve had, or lifestyles they’ve taken up. I really appreciate how Gary Snyder and Rachel Carson show this knowledge, but in a very differing ways. While both authors use descriptive and inciteful language, their forms differ drastically. Carson speaks mostly in long sentences, passages, and chapters, where Snyder speaks in short poems and sonnets. Form isn’t everything, but it helps me connect their similar ideas with different lessons I should take from them in how they differently emphasize their points.

Carson has a background in biology, and that can be seen in how she describes things: Similarly to how Snyder uses poetry as he’s an author and environmentalist. In a passage on mushrooms, Snyder speaks of his knowledge on consumption:
Don’t ever eat Boletus
If the tube-mouths they are red
Stay away from the Amantis
Or brother you are dead (46)

Whether it be from passed down knowledge, or personal observations, Snyder sets off into the woods, already noting the importance of nature safety. He continues, and of his main concern is searching for small new mushrooms:
We see out in the forest
To seek the wild mushroom
In shapes diverse and colorful
Shining through the woodland gloom

If you look under the oak trees
Or around an old pine stump
You’ll know a mushroom is coming
By the way the leaves are humped
(46)

Mushrooms I found one time

Snyders form here and choice of language throughout this passage sets the tone of a good woodland friend in search of what he knows. In a bit of contrast, Carson speaks in praise of soil, in very defined detail of it’s scientific perspective:
Life not only formed the soil, but other living things of incredible abundance and diversity now exist within it; if this were not so the soil would be a dead and sterile thing. If their presence and by their activities the myriad organisms of the soil make it capable of supporting the earth’s green mantle. (53)

From her use of the phrases such as “incredible abundance” and “myriad organisms” we can see she’s serious about her science, yet passionate for her strong language. These two authors really dedicate their time to choosing the right words when they need to be said. The way they shape sentences with a poignant eye towards their passions, yet tie them into the fundamental importances of environmentalism is imperative.

The way the many interests of the world come together under environmentalism is astounding. There is no way a job or major interest/hobby one has doesn’t relate to environmentalism. Well, except anti-cause jobs and hobbies. But even artists on cross-country trips can write thorough environmentalist masterpieces. It’s all about the passion for the lifestyle. Snyder and Carson come from entirely different walks of life, yet both have an unstoppable want to share their knowledge and passions through the beauty of literature. This passion is shared by even us, as we reflect and write and start to change our habits to generationally reduce human harm to the planet.

Humans are the Living Rot of Earth

We are creatures of comfort in our ignorances. When something is seemingly more difficult than we prefer we have the ability to do, we don’t do it. Or, we find someone or something else to get the job done. But why do we do this, when spending extra time to understand a task would just better ourself? A projection of character: What do we value more, our time or our money? And, is time equal to money? But why?

Why do some humans believe they should earn more than another being (for the same job!)? Where does one individual get away with feeling they are worth more than another? What does that say about us as a society? Yes, jobs of specialization most definitely require extra knowledge and therefore greater compensation. However, jobs of minimal mental skill (farm hands, shopkeepers, food service folk) are often talked down upon as lesser. Culturally, only “dropouts” are fit for jobs of manual labor. Who decided that Joe who picks the lettuce is lesser than Bob who eats the salad? Without Joe, there would be no lettuce. And without Juan, and Pablo, and their families in South America, lettuce would cost ten times more. But why would it be okay to pay Joe more, when the air he breathes is just as important as the air of Juan, Pablo, and Bob. We’re all equals: Why does this disgusting complexity even exist?

Wendell Berry is amazing at making us feel guilty. But honestly that is very good, very useful. If we feel guilty and wrong: CHANGE. If someone else is unphased, run because they’re an Evil Earth Hater™. We should never sit happily in destructive ignorance.
Hell, even environmentalism before reading Berry killed me to change. This strange antsiness all over the place: I crave stopping to recycle rogue water bottles, kindly shaming my plastic-loving, anti-recycling consumer pals, and living my future as a human of small carbon footprints. Even prior to Berry, I was self aware enough to also be repulsed by mankind. We’ve been on Earth for such a minute amount of time (in its grand scheme) it’s disgusting to see how far we’ve destroyed our rare solar oasis.

I took an astronomy course last year, and our final essay involved the possible Mars travel (and how it WILL be a ‘thing’ within that next ten years). I just cringe internally and wish I had a more influential voice to yell “STOP!” with. These are not wise choices for humanity. Destroy our own planet, and instead of changing to become more efficient, do the same to the next solar body. It’s not even like Mars is warm or has an atmosphere to anything. To successfully inhabit the small red planet, humans would have to install Greenhouse Gas emitters and heat up/destroy to outer planetary composition. How fucked. Humans are so lazy, they’d rather spend billions to risk human lives rather than admitting they hurt their own planet and try to fix things.

This is much like Berry’s Nurturer v. Exploiter ideas from 7 and 8. All of the scientists can be seen as specialists, and have been working their buns off at NASA and around the world. Those who are not specialists, just looking out for Earth, are the same who are looking for agriculture practices “(the answers are) to be found in our history” (15). Recently, I visited a working farm of 2 acres on a 40 acre plot, run by three working horses and two mid-aged nice folks. This was the first time I had been to a farm in a while, and to see it entirely handworked was so rewarding. The horses are the land equipment, grazers, and fertilizers. Industrial farmers and NASA Mars specialists don’t bat an eye at the historical ways of farming.

In a world where we’re constantly reminded why we, as the small but destructive opposable thumbed creatures, totally suck- we have the ability to be different. It’s within our personal power to be the change we wish to see. Berry is a bit forceful in it, but Frank, Kim, and their horses show a softer, kinder- yet diligent, side to this lifestyle change. After all, it doesn’t just affect you.

Photo of friendly Frank with his horses and one of his metal, antique equipment.

We’re All On Turtle Island

Decisions we small beings make on our own accord will inevitably make or break us. Authors with a more naturalist influence and background, such as Gary Snyder, help to remind us of how we are one with nature; not working against nature. It’s a time to start stressing reducing and reusing, not recycling. Combat the issue of consumption, not continue to find “safe” dumping zones for all this pollution. It’s like humans keep forgetting Earth really is a living organism we’re all living on, the actual Turtle Island.

A super powerful phrase that stuck with me while reading was:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light 
(p 86)

Humanity should return to simple conventions of life, and work hard to live well with the land. It’s time to turn a blind eye to big business and take back our rights as individuals with the ability to support each other as such. Learn natural remedies and be your own natural advocate within the world. Spend that time you would researching the best sales and going to that giant superstore, and sit down to find a natural remedy or recipe for everyday household products (like dish soap or laundry detergent) and buy the ingredients at your local Co-op. And in doing so, your life develops a delightful simplicity: free of “normal” clutters of the home.

We can do this, it’s just a matter of our own will.

I remember reading of this young woman a few years ago who was living zero waste in New York City- of all places. I’ll provide the link below, however it’s a just impossibly cool that she’s managed to acquire so very little trash. To be so resourceful. Check out her blog for more.

My younger sister and I actually began a compost and backyard garden this last summer. Kaylin’s beginning her Junior year of high school at home in Vermont, but is infinitely bored. After she and Mom built raised beds, we turned them into a raised bed for cherry tomatoes and garlic, as well as another for compost. All of this was a deliberate source of action to attend to. My mother and her recently used the tomatoes to make a fresh spaghetti sauce (I was not there but I hear it was lovely).

These are just small acts of simplification in strive for that wholesome living Snyder suggests on the Turtle Island.

 Turtle Island is actually a phrase and concept explained to me in elementary school. It was one that resonated with me, as we had been learning of tectonic plates in science at the same time; and I could have sworn the Earth was as alive as us in that time (as a naive child).

We’re all to be our own person, and whether or not we like it, we have to remember Earth in that as well.

The constructs of civilization are exceedingly immature, shouldn’t we be advanced enough to remain primitively and independent? The ideal suggests mature societies of individuals who hold themselves accountable for their own actions, to strive collectively for success. When will we learn from history and revert properly?

Until class, I was entirely unaware the bond that Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder shared. I read some of his works in high school, not long after discovering Walden (of which I found a copy of within the “Alternative Religion” section of the Bullmoose in town this weekend). In all, the correlation is not surprising and I am excited, moving forward with that knowledge. When literature comes together and forms wonderful connections, I can’t be anything but excited at the outcome. There aren’t many times within our lives that everything comes together perfectly in little puzzle pieces, but this is one of them.

 

That’s my little sister in the White Mountains

In the entire span of Earth’s life, we have been a tiny gas crack in the span of history, and yet we have systematically ruined the world in such a small span of time. We have existed to do nothing more destroy and obliterate nature at its core, something that will ruin us. Humans have some idea that they are above nature somehow, that they are not one with the trees and the birds and the animals that also walk the Earth. News flash humans, we are one with, never above, Mother Earth- if not even below. What this planet has provided for us is worth more than anything else, as it is what we live on and for, ultimately.

Rachel Carson: The Inadvertent Mother of Agroecology

Agroecology- an ecological approach to agriculture that views agricultural areas as ecosystems and is concerned with the ecological impact of agricultural practices.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Also noted: “First Known Use: 1967”

Five years after the publication of Rachel Carson’s evolutionary Silent Spring, the word for a method of change was first used. Now, does this really mean that she was the lady who started it all?
Carson spoke with a passion about the environment and described the natural world to people in a way that they had never experienced before. Scientific processes through the lense of a poetic novel, almost. Not long after, the grassroots movement took off like wildfire across the US, and is still in growing favor today.
But what is so neat about all of these ideas anyway, since they just seem like a lot of effort and time?
There’s a sort of, growing awareness that has been arising in the general masses as the uses of pesticides, and their implications have begun to start to really show. More and more people have become increasingly more concerned with the future, and how their potential grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and any animal would live on a planet whose current method of food production would leave the world high and dry within the next fifty years. It’s almost unfair to Carson to give her all the credit for this way of thinking, however she most definitely deserves a lot of praise for bringing it to the general’s attention.
This awareness has been around since the 60’s, but I feel with the internet and television, has really taken off in the last ten years. It’s easy being green, and everyone has their own blog or vlog on how they’ve gone green. Before, it was mainly scientists and writers following the small farmer movement, but now even twenty year old journalism students in the city are able to live zero waste and eat sustainably.
Without Carson, DDT would still be killing birds, small animals, and potentially humans today. However, in Europe, these kinds of pesticides and this method of farming was never nearly as popular. There are endless comparisons we could make on how America is just the less-safe and practical version of Europe. But if there is one convention of European society I wished the Puritans, and all future Americans as a whole, would have kept, was their dedication to providing reliably healthy and fresh food to the citizens. It’s time to bring produce markets and small boulangeries to America, normalizing locality of food.
That’s what agroecology is, the process of looking at an agricultural field as it’s own community, a tiny little ecosystem in its own. This model of production is super efficient, as it takes into account all of the species within an environment, including pests and weeds. Agroecology uses pests to the benefit of the intercropped system, using potential other pests, or plants that guard them off or eat them to better the environment. The cross pollination of multiple species within the same area often also helps increase productivity and biomass outputs, if the species are so compatible.
Take into account a coffee banana system (not really an intercrop we could do in New England, but just as an example). Coffee trees don’t mind shade, and tend to have more of a shallow root system. Banana trees are a bit taller, and they often shed excess biomass onto the ground around them, protecting and adding mulch to the root systems below. This system is pesticide free, but requires a bit of upkeep. In agroecosystems, it’s imperative to look at every plant, weed, and bug as a member of the society, so in this system, the weeds are a bit important. It’s almost as important in this system to constantly be pruning the banana tree roots. If not, the two trees would compete for water and that could cause issues. However, overall, the intercropping of the two helps to utilize the ground space to its full potential, as well as increasing the productivity of both plants (in systems where there are two coffee trees to one banana tree). This entire system is just one of thousands that refuses to use pesticides, or many other conventional and well known farming methods.
So… Is all of this change in the world due to Rachel Carson? Well, in modern senses, absolutely so.
Native Americans, and small farmers all over the world have been using these systems for agriculture long before Carson even came to be born. However, her thorough and descriptive ways of explaining what this kind of damage means for us as humanity changed minds and has been doing so since 1962. In the last fifty years, large efforts have been made to change the way the US looks at food.
However, there’s still much to be done. There are still mass ranches where cattle, chicken, and pigs are being fed hormonal fillers when they aren’t being fed genetically modified corn. There are still mass crops of your favorite fruits and veggies being bathed in pesticides so they are pretty enough to be sold in your “local” supercenter. There are still so many things to be fixed, but that’s okay- because in the last fifty years, a lot has been done to help create a more sustainable future.
Hopefully through our actions and literature, we as the future can help impact and change the system further, for it is my dream to shop at a purely local establishment someday as the norm for all shopping necessities.
So, thank you Rachel Carson, for awakening the younger generations of the world so we can return to how humanity should be.

Sources:
“Agroecology.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agroecology. Accessed 2017.