Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zelong’s Work for Sustainable Farming
While Rachel Carson was writing and defending Silent Springin the U.S. in the 1960s, a soft-spoken scientist named Pu Zelong was teaching farmers in Communist China how to forgo pesticides and instead use parasitic wasps to control the moths and other insects that were decimating crops in the world’s most populous country. Professor Pu’s work brought together the concepts of “soil” – which meant local, rural, humble, and Chinese – and “ocean” – which meant foreign, modern, elite, and Western. The Chinese government required all science to be rooted in the soil. Though little known in the West, Pu Zelong should be celebrated worldwide as a pioneering environmentalist. This story told through the memories of a farm boy (a composite of people Pu Zelong inspired) weaves a rich tapestry from strands of Chinese culture, the natural history of insects, and the global effort to develop sustainable agriculture.
Illustrated by: Melanie Linden Chan
Published by: Tilbury House