A Problem of Ecology

Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is given credit for helping to spawn today’s environmental movement. Our excerpt from it, “A Problem of Ecology” (CUA Primer, page 24) describes the complexity of systems like the habitats of animals and plants or the inside of our own bodies. Can you think of other examples of complex systems where a change in one part can have a difficult to predict effect in another part?

Photo: “Web” by Ravindu Ranaweera is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ethan Blanchard says:

    The Economy has a very similar web of interconnections. New taxation, technological discovery, or poor government interference can have extensive & far-reaching consequences that are different (and often opposite) of their intentions; much like the environment. Taxation on gasoline causes more oil to be drilled, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin to eliminate the need for slave labor but instead revived smoldering slavery, raising the minimum wage creates more unemployment, et cetera.

  2. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    Immigration laws. IMMIGRATION LAWS! I don’t mean to start some political dispute, but I am all for acceptance of all people, no matter who they are or where they come from. And, this is not entirely a personal belief, but an American one. I chose to believe in this idea because I know America accepts all people and is made of many different people. So, who am I to judge immigrants when my family and my country are all of immigrants? In a similar way, how can America judge others when she is made entirely of immigrants? Anyway, how does this all fit into “A Problem of Ecology”? Well, immigrants make America and when we make laws to remove them from our society solely because of terrorism, we affect nearly every sector in our country. Jobs, education, and religion are just some of those sectors. Though we intend only to focus on terrorism, we would have affected so much more. We would have “a problem of ecology.” Diversity (in business, food, clothing, EVERYTHING) would be depleted, civil rights would be questioned, and strenuous relations between different cultures would increase. Immigration is a beautiful thing for America and affecting that would affect America entirely.

  3. Cecilia Bracey says:

    This reminds me of a quote that was on a magnet on my fridge growing up by Winston Churchill: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” WE poison our own system by feeding lies on a small scale: sharing a Facebook post, etc. We poison our own lives by spreading hate. On a small scale we can see this in school. Rumors spread fast. These can be hurtful and can result in bullying of a person. People who were kind and gentle can become nasty and rude. If we take that small scale example and apply it to the whole world, we see that people plague the minds of other adults and children by spreading violence, hatred and intolerance. In a real world example in history, we can take the Holocaust. The Holocaust did not happen overnight. The general hatred of the Jews started with rumors filled with hatred, and misunderstanding. People allowed these fears to fester in their hearts and intolerance and ignorance, even bigotry grew. That led to blatant segregation of the Jewish people. To combat all hatred, we must start with ourselves and work our way up. We must start with our actions, by not supporting people and business that promote hate and by not buying into the ideas inspired by hate. We have to do more than just say words, we must use our actions.

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