In the first post in a new series on the uses of environmental history, the blog of the Rachel Carson Center has published Prof. John R. McNeill's reflections on the potential usefulness of environmental history beyond the satisfaction of academic curiosity. The series offers adaptations of presentations made at Renmin University, Beijing, for the new Journal for Ecological History of Renmin's Center for Ecological History. "Environmental historians do not need to become more useful and practical. We should do so if we want to," McNeill writes. McNeill also describes his experience offering his knowledge of mosquito-borne diseases in the Caribbean to a U.S. Congressional briefing on the Zika virus in September 2016. Shortly after that briefing, Congress voted to approve $1.1 billion for Zika control efforts. For his answer to his own question, 'Did we actually have any impact?", read his full post on the RCC blog.