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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of


CURWOOD: Ninety-five years ago Anton Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya premiered in Moscow. It contains one of literature's most eloquent pleas for protecting the environment.

(PINE: "What must human beings be to destroy what they can never create? God's given us reason and power of thought so that we may improve our lot and what do we use these powers for but waste? We've destroyed our forests, our rivers run dry, our wildlife is all but extinct, our climate ruined. And every day, every day where everyone looks our life is more hideous.")

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: That was Larry Pine as Dr. Astrov in Louis Malle's film "Vanya on Forty-Second Street". The destruction of the forest as a metaphor for the destruction of civilization runs throughout Russian literature, from Pushkin to Tolstoy to Pasternak, and, of course Chekhov.



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