Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson’s Powerful Impact on Environmental Problems

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

The Beautiful Earth

Those who dwell among the beauties
and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life.
Rachel Carson
How marine biologist, author, and conservationist, Rachel Carson created life-changing awareness of environmental problems...
Rachel Carson live in nature

Rachel Carson

Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths (Wikipedia).

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

Perhaps the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century, Rachel Carson (1907-1964) is remembered more today as the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel than for her studies of ocean life.
Her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and questioned the scope and direction of modern science, initiated the contemporary environmental movement (RachelCarson.org).
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In her books on the sea Carson wrote about geologic discoveries from submarine technology and underwater research — of how islands were formed, how currents change and merge, how temperature affects sea life, and how erosion impacts not just shore lines but salinity, fish populations, and tiny micro-organisms. Even in the 1950's, Carson’s ecological vision of the oceans shows her embrace of a larger environmental ethic which could lead to the sustainability of nature’s interactive and interdependent systems. Climate change, rising sea-levels, melting Arctic glaciers, collapsing bird and animal populations, crumbling geological faults — all are part of Carson’s work. But how, she wondered, would the educated public be kept informed of these challenges to life itself? What was the public's "right to know"? (RachelCarson.org)

Biography.Com

Early Life and Education
Marine biologist, environmentalist and writer Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907, in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Carson first alerted the world about the environmental impact of fertilizers and pesticides. She grew up on a Pennsylvania farm, which gave her a lot of first-hand knowledge of nature and wildlife. She graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, and went on to further studies at Johns Hopkins University.Environmental Activism
Rachel Carson taught at the University of Maryland for five years before joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1936. Her first book, Under the Sea-Wind  (1941), described marine life in clear, elegant and non-technical prose. She retained her government job through the 1940s, in part to help support her mother and her sister's two orphaned daughters. In 1951 she published The Sea Around Us, which became an immediate best-seller and freed her from financial worry.

Reviews of Silent Spring

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.  
Silent Spring, released in 1962, offered the first shattering look at widespread ecological degradation and touched off an environmental awareness that still exists. Rachel Carson's book focused on the poisons from insecticides, weed killers, and other common products as well as the use of sprays in agriculture, a practice that led to dangerous chemicals to the food source. Carson argued that those chemicals were more dangerous than radiation and that for the first time in history, humans were exposed to chemicals that stayed in their systems from birth to death. Presented with thorough documentation, the book opened more than a few eyes about the dangers of the modern world and stands today as a landmark work. (Amazon.com Review )
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