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Recent times have seen the increased destruction of the environment as a end result of an increase in the intensity and span of human activities. The book Silent Spring gives a new intervention in the fight against the destruction of the environment. Thus, Alex Lockwood contends that Rachel Carson placed personal feelings at the center of a new environmental narrative and thereby “establishing a template for environmentalist writers aiming to engender emotional responses as a means of coming to phrases with local and global ecological crisis”. The statement offers a true reflection of Carson’s analysis in the Silent Spring.
To begin with, the Silent Spring inferred on a new writing style that facilitated the transmission of anger on the environmental destruction into a political movement. Thus, Silent Spring reflects on the anger that the majority of the individuals felt towards the environmental destruction that was resulting from increased chemical activity on the environment. Carson infers of the Milwaukee woman who inferred that the dead and dying birds, “This is a pitiful, heartbreaking experience... It is, moreover, frustrating and exasperating, for it evidently does not serve the purpose this slaughter was intended to serve... Taking a long look, can you save trees without also saving birds? Do they not, in the economy of nature, save each other? Isn’t it possible to help the balance of nature without destroying it?’ (Carson 65). Such emotional calls served to reinforce the correlation that existed between the environment and man’s responsibility. Many of the detractors of the use of pesticides contended that there was a need for the engagement of an intervention that did not have to necessarily both the destructive and positive. aspects of life in the environment.
Other forms of emotion that are reflected in the book include anger and anxiety at the lack of state commitment to the mitigation of the mass murder pf living organisms which resulted from the use of pesticide in the US. In reflecting on the unravelling events, Carson mirrors a concerned, anxious and angry stakeholder. She is a mirror of the angers and anxiety that was pervasive in the community at the use of pesticides. Her anxiety is manifested when she indicates that “like the robin, another American bird seems to be on the verge of extinction. This is the national symbol, the eagle. Its populations have dwindled alarmingly within the past decade. The facts suggest that something is at work in the eagle’s environment which has virtually destroyed its ability to reproduce. What this may be is not yet definitely known, but there is some evidence that insecticides are responsible” (Carson 67).
Other than rallying all emotion towards calls for an improved environment, Silent Spring gave a voice to many stakeholders who witnessed the destruction on the environment and were committed to the mitigation of the same. The majority of the individuals were not assuming the victim tone that had been previously assumed by the underprivileged in the society. Thus, “Silent Spring refused such symbolic devaluation and instead insisted on its author’s expertise and the political value of its record of everyday feelings, and in particular its anger” (Lockwood 130). Whereas previously political calls were predicated on the need to appeal, the calls for the protection of the environment were demanding and based on a whole analysis that truly depicted the extent of destruction that had been meted out on the environment as a result of the use of pesticides.
The pervasiveness of private feelings in Carson’s narrative was committed to puncturing of the public indifference that the majority extended the advent of the chemical use in spraying and mitigation of pests. The influence of private feelings in Carson’s environmental are still felt today where “it is now difficult to imagine environmental writing having political effect without affect, emotion or feelings being pivotal to its narrative” (Lockwood 124). The fact that Carson’s calls were picked up by the majority, and inspired a shift in the spraying policies, attests to the success of her convergence of private feelings into a political call.
The rise of the terms public sentiments and public feelings owe their existence to Carson’ rally of the same to counter the negative influences of policies guiding agriculture on the environment. They “challenge the idea that feelings, emotions, or affects properly and only belong to the domain of private life and to the intimacies of family, love, and friendship” (Cvetkovich and Pellegrini 1). The manifestation of the feelings in the public realm are a culmination of affective experiences. Thus, the response that is extended by the public is a reflection of the sentiment or feelings that they extend different situations in the society. Thus, Carson demystified the concept of private intimacies that were completely separated from the public realms. The fact that today’s political calls and rallies are predicated on feelings owe their existence to Carson’s demystification of the limitations of the private emotions in the public realms. Given her efforts in the Silent Spring, she was able to mitigate the assumption that the manifestation of private intimacies such as rage were not a function of the public realm.
Conclusively, Silent Spring served the purpose of legitimizing emotions in the political scene. From her rallying of diverse emotion towards the use of pesticides, Carson able to turn her misgivings into a political movement. Additionally, the new wave of public response was predicated on demands rather than the appeal to the sympathy of the state based on facts true knowledge.
Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.
Cvetkovich, Ann., and Ann Pellegrini. “Introduction”. The Scholar & Feminist Online, no. 1, 2003, pp.1.
Lockwood, Alex. "The Affective Legacy of Silent Spring." Environmental Humanities, vol. 1, 2012, pp. 123-140.
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