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Rachel Carson, an avid environmentalist and another remarkable lady in history
For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.
– Rachel Carson
As a biologist, Carson was fascinated with nature and science and her desire to protect natural areas inspired her for the rest of her life.
Rachel Carson wrote the book ‘Silent Spring’ instigated by her friends experience with the dying birds at a bird sanctuary in Massachusets. Carson’s friend was observing the mass dying after the government sprayed the area with DDT from the air.
During World War II, government research was developing synthetic pesticides and was using DDT widely.
At that time farmers began to use pesticides on their crops which is unfortunately common practice to this date.
Rachel Carson was concerned about the effects that large scale spraying of DDT and pesticides may have on the health of people as well as the environment. It was being used in huge quantities across the country and so she began extensive research on pesticides.
She found that pesticides could adversely affect the environment and make people sick.
Carson began to research and to write a book about the subject and eventually published ‘SILENT SPRING’ in 1962.
The book became very popular and brought the environmental issues of pesticides to the general public.
Focusing on the dangers of chemical pesticides, Carson’s book led to a nationwide ban on DDT and some other pesticides in 1973.
Furthermore her book and activism sparked a movement which ultimately led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
As one can imagine, the book ‘Silent Spring’ came under attack by the powerful chemical industry. Determined, Rachel defended her facts in testimony before the U.S. Senate.
Rachel Carson’s Legacy inspired the environmental movement that began in the 1960s and gained national and international momentum by the 1970s.
Extensive anti-pollution and anti-pesticide protests have been organized and many environmental laws passed since. This remains an important issue, and there is more work to be done.
Since the publication of ‘Silent Spring’, several generations have grown up embracing Carson’s ideals of ecological awareness, environmental protection, and conservation.
A lifetime achievement, Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
Yet another strong and determined lady dedicating her life to an important calling – the protection of our environment and the lives of every single human being – by standing up to large and profit oriented companies.
by Rachel Carson, Linda Lear (Goodreads Author) (Introduction), Edward O. Wilson (Afterword)
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.