Outside/In: No, Nature Isn't 'Coming Back' Thanks To Covid-19

Apr 9, 2020

On this week's Outside/In, Sam digs into a (shockingly controversial) debate over the now-extinct passenger pigeon, and its reputedly gargantuan flocks. Also: we debunk (and demystify) some coronavirus-related fake news about wildlife.

Listen to the program:

As people in Italy and China and increasingly across the globe are self-isolating and staying home, some accounts have suggested the return of wildlife to human spaces: specifically, the return of dolphins and swans in Venice, and elephants getting drunk off corn wine in a village in Yunnan, China. Sounds like a moral lesson for humanity, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it might not be the lesson you think it is.

Sadly, nature did not press the reset button. This is some good ol' fake animal news here.

Natasha Daly, writer for National Geographic, explains why you can't really trust these narratives - even if you want to.

Read Natasha Daly's article for National Geographic here. 

Also, the great passenger pigeon debate and a follow-up interview with anthropologist Elizabeth Chiltin about the role America's indigenous populations played in shaping the continent - and the subsequent erasure of that influence by colonial powers.

You can find the podcast episode on the passenger pigeon, Tempest in a Teacup, here. 

This broadcast was produced by Sam Evans-Brown and Justine Paradis.