Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The Legacy of Rachel Carson
This past Saturday, May 27th, would have been the 90th birthday of Rachel Carson, had she not died an untimely death from cancer in 1964. Carson wrote books which allowed people to appreciate both the science and the beauty of the natural world and she was deservedly popular. This popularity was challenged when her Silent Spring was published in 1962. She became the lightening rod for the anger and dismissal of the chemical industry and politicians who defended the use of pesticides and herbicides, including DDT.
Whatever her personal religious faith might have been, Carson gets at least honourable mention as an eco-saint. As her biographer Paul Brooks rightly points out, “her attitude toward the natural world was that of a deeply religious person.” She was selfless in upholding her position, even though she was very ill at the time Silent Spring was released. Her courage and scientific integrity changed the worldview on use of chemicals, although we continue to foul our own nest with Bisphenol and Atrazine and Roundup and...It is discouraging, although this shouldn't dampen our gratitude. I've included a few images here to celebrate her legacy.