Extra Credit Blogpost: Arming Mother Nature by Yoojin Lee

The Arming Mother Nature event in the Chicago Humanities Festival was presented to us by Jacob Darwin Hamblin, who also wrote a book with the same title. Arming Mother Nature is about the effects and consequences of literally, “arming” mother nature.

A few decades back, scientists and governments from all over the world began to think: “We have guns that can kill hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. We have bombs that can wipe out an entire town. However, when a natural catastrophe like an earthquake or tsunami occurs, the results are even more devastating than any man-made weapon. So what happens… if we can somehow control nature to act at our bidding?”

This whole controversial topic relates with U.S. History because many American scientists, and the U.S. government itself, experimented with the idea of arming mother nature. Dating as far back as World War II, scientists in America theorized about what would happen if the US could control weather phenomenons such as tornados, earthquakes, etc. However, they realized that it was impossible, so they “banned” it.

What they DIDN’T ban was biological warfare. Weather catastrophes aren’t the only things Mother Nature owns; biological things- living things, are all creations of her, too. President Franklin Roosevelt approved an American biological weapons program in 1942. This happened during WWII, when America realized that many other countries such as France and Japan had their own biological weapons programs. Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or some type of bacteria that is targeted towards harming humans. During the Cold War and the Korean War, the US significantly increased their interest in biological warfare. The importance of the program was magnified; however, biological warfare capabilities were still limited.

America has been accused of using biological warfare. The Chinese and North Koreans claim that during the Korean War, America dropped a bomb that contained viruses that caused breakouts of disease in North Korea. America denied it completely. Whether or not the US actually did so is still debated. There is evidence on both sides. Some “witnesses” claim to have actually seen the US drop bombs filled with disease-carrying insects. Others say that it was a part of a disinformation campaign.

My personal view on biological warfare (and the whole idea of “arming” Mother Nature) is very negative. I think that nature is meant to be left alone. On a religious perspective, I would say that it is not right to “play God”. On a moral perspective, I would say that warfare itself is very wrong. To make it even worse, TARGETING human beings and making them get diseases… that just takes it to a whole new wrong level. I would say that it was a good thing when Nixon ended the biological warfare program in 1969; although biological weapons may still exist, they are now only for defensive purposes only.

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