Magazine article Humanities

Rachel Louise Carson: 27 May 1907 - 14 April 1964

Magazine article Humanities

Rachel Louise Carson: 27 May 1907 - 14 April 1964

Article excerpt

Rachel Louise Carson

27 May 1907-14 April 1964

Writer and scientist

Carson was fascinated by the ocean and its mysteries as well as by the shoreline of life between the sea and the land. Her nature writing enthralled millions of readers, introducing them to the myriad of intricate interrelationships that were basic to the science of ecology. Embedded within her writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature, distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly. Believing that science and literature were equal in their ability to illuminate and inspire, Carson sought to educate the public about the natural world in terms that, while scientifically accurate, also embodied the poetic truths she found in nature....

Reluctantly concluding that no magazine would publish an article on such a distasteful subject as pesticide pollution, she embarked on a book.... As her research progressed, however, Carson came to believe that everything that meant the most to her was being threatened by the careless use of these new chemicals. Likening the effects of pesticides to those of atomic radiation, she became an unabashed crusader for change in the government's policy of pesticide approval and use. The result, Silent Spring (I 962), was a powerful critique of the Cold War culture that condoned such crude and shortsighted tampering with the natural world. The book indicted the chemical industry, the government, and agribusiness for indiscriminately using pesticides without knowing more about their long-term effects. …

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