It's very possible to live in the US now and not have any contact with any of the organisms that you rely on actually dying. You're not watching the harvest of plants, you're not watching the animals you eat die - so there is an illusion, a lived feeling that you're not actually participating in the deaths of anything. And you certainly don't have to watch the immiseration of people elsewhere in the world whose labor is often going into the products you consume. Even today in the Arctic, the proximity to those basic life and death choices, and the reliance on the deaths of others, remains clear.
Environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth explores life and death in the Arctic region of Beringia - a space where scarcity and extreme weather challenge modern society's notions of growth and consumption, and starkly reveal our relationship to the natural world, and the deaths we rely on to live.
Bathsheba is author of Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait from Norton Books.