We all have our personal heroes — remarkable people who we have encountered in person or in print. Foremost amongst my list of formidable people would be Rachel Carson. Ms. Carson (as I like to refer to her) was the author of a profound and what proved to be prophetic work entitled “Silent Spring”. This runaway best-seller published in 1962 issued a clarion call of the modern environmental movement. In the book Ms. Carson, for the first time, fully documented the dangers that pesticides wrought on earth, poisoning our atmosphere, water and food. In addition to the depth of her research were her superb writing skills creating a work,which I would argue to be (one of) the most influential book of the 20th century — changing forever the way that people and policy viewed our environment.
Excerpts from the book illustrate the depth of her research and the craft of her writing and why it impacted so profoundly on its readers.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Aside from this watershed book, Ms. Carson is considered to be one of the greatest nature writers — as evidenced by her titles “The Sea Around Us”, “The Edge of the Sea”, “A Sense of Wonder”. An accomplished biologist and pioneer ecologist she discovered many truths about post WWII chemicals (such as DDT) and its effects on wildlife, livestock and water, and eventually humans. She chronciled the interdependence of the natural world and manages to convey these truths in layman terms and through storied imagery. After the publication of her magnificant book, Ms. Carson courageously defended these truths against the largely male chemical industry proponents, assaulting their interests against a mere female in science, lacking the “proper” academic credits. She continued to champion her truths right up to her untimely death two years later in 1964. However, her truths won out and the legacy of her work continues in the present day environmental movement.
In a celebration of this spring, why not find out more about Ms. Carson and her works at www.mywpl.ca
A listing of relevant titles are at:
Also check out Pinterest board at WPL site for more interesting information on Ms. Carson at: