Rachel Carson

Silent spring

Clem read this edition of SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson

2012 was the 50th anniversary of the book SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson. If you’ve read WASHASHORE, you know that this book had a big impact on Clem. The title describes the author’s vision of a world in which all the birds had been poisoned by pesticides, and no birdsong was heard in the spring. At the time Carson wrote this book, there was no environmental movement, and nobody talked about “going green.”

I lived near a wetlands growing up. Because he wanted me and my siblings to play outside without being bothered by mosquitoes, my Dad used a “fogger” to spray our backyard with powerful pesticides. Everybody did.

He didn’t know that pesticides were causing tremendous damage to birds and other species. Very few people knew that.

But Rachel Carson did the research. And because of her powerful book, and the courage she showed in standing up to powerful people who said she was wrong, the most troublesome pesticide of her time, DDT, was finally made illegal in the U.S.

Here is some information about Silent Spring. You can also learn about the Natural Resources Defense Council.

More about Rachel Carson

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson. Biographer Linda Lear provides tons of information about Carson’s life and writings on this website. Lear wrote a fine biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, for adult readers. www.rachelcarson.org

Rachel Carson: A Twentieth-Century Life by Ellen Levine. This good biography is written for ages eleven and up, and includes excerpts from Carson’s books and letters and lots of photos. It’s part of the “Up Close” biography series published by Viking.

“Rachel Carson’s Legacy” is a 43-minute video about Carson’s life, based on a one-woman play by actor Kaiulani Lee. The video also includes documentary footage. This originally aired on the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal. You can view it online at: http://video.pbs.org/video/1442629512/


Osprey photo by Darcy Zimmerman (c) 2013