Fifty years ago Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, exposing the devastating impact of pesticides, especially DDT, on the whole web of life. Time magazine dismissed her as “hysterically overemphatic” and the New Yorker published a letter from a reader who complained, “As for insects, isn’t it just like a woman to be scared to death of a few bugs!”
Why is it that men and women have often responded so differently to the environment and environmental issues? From pre-Columbian Native Americans to the modern environmental justice movement, gender has played an underappreciated role in environmental attitudes and actions. In this illustrated presentation based on her new book Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History (Oxford University Press), Prof. Nancy C. Unger (Associate Professor of History, Santa Clara University) reveals how women have played a unique role, for better and sometimes for worse, in the shaping of the American environment.
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