May 27 - Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson

   Posted on May 27, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on May 27, 2011:

Some Rachel Carson she started an entire movement—

...A movement that is worldwide in import, with life-and-death stakes.

Rachel Carson, born in Pennsylvania on this day 1907, is credited with starting the modern environmental movement. She was a marine biologist who was a gifted writer; she wrote three books about ocean life that earned her financial security and a certain amount of fame—two of them were even best sellers.

She turned her attention to the problems caused by synthetic (“man”-made) pesticides. She was able to use her writing skills, her fame, and her connections with both the scientific community and with publications such as The New Yorker to shine a spotlight on the effects of pesticides such as DDT on creatures such as birds, and her book Silent Spring eventually caused the nationwide ban on DDT.

Spraying poison willy-nilly should give us all the willies!

Thanks to Rachel Carson, more people began to think globally rather than locally, long-term rather than short-term, and holistically—taking into consideration the entire ecosystem rather than just one insect farmers want to get rid of.

Carson chatting with some kids in a forest...

Carson had to deal with breast cancer, a respiratory virus she may have caught because she was weakened by radiation treatments, severe anemia caused by radiation treatments, and cancer spreading to her liver—but after all that her cause of death almost two years after the publication of Silent Spring was a heart attack. She was just 57 years old.

Still, Carson made a huge impact for the better by showing that human activities sometimes have a huge impact for the worse on the environment.

Schools, research vessels, several buildings, many 
conservation areas, and this bridge have all been
named after Rachel Carson.

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