The 1963 episode of CBS Reports entitled “The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson” contains all the elements of the biopolitics of environment at stake in this essay. Throughout the episode, the host moves back and forth between Carson’s perspective on the overuse of pesticides and the response of Robert White-Stevens, a chemical engineer who speaks as a representative of the chemical corporation American Cyanamid. Carson speaks to the impact of the new synthetic molecules on humans and nonhumans alike; White-Stevens attacks this perspective as regressive to the extreme. For him, “the real enemy to the survival of man is not chemical but biological, in the shape of hordes of insects that sweep over our croplands.” To this science-fiction image of an invading insect army, White-Stevens adds still more vituperation: “if man were to...

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