Silent Spring
Rachel Louise Carson (1907-64), was an American marine biologist, and author of
widely read books on ecological themes. Carson was born in Springdale,

Pennsylvania, and educated at the former Pennsylvania College for Women and

Johns Hopkins University. Rachel Carson taught Zoology at the University of

Maryland from 1931 to 1936. She was an aquatic biologist at the U.S. Bureau of

Fisheries and its successor, the Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1936 to 1952.

Rachel Carson wrote 4 books including The Sea Around Us for which she was
awarded the 1952 National Book Award for nonfiction. At the end of Rachel

Carson's career she wrote Silent Spring, which questioned the use of Chemical

Pesticides and was responsible for arousing world wide concern for the
preservation of the environment. Silent Spring takes a hard look at the effects
of the insecticides, weed killers and other common products as well as the use
of sprays in agriculture. By introducing these deadly substances, we have
poisoned or lakes and streams, or wild and domestic animals, and even ourselves.

The book focuses on the importance of balance within the environment. Rachel

Carson wrote... "Where spraying destroys not only the insects but also
their principle enemy, the birds. When later there is a resurgence in the insect
population, as almost always happens, the birds are not there to keep their
numbers in check." Carson examines the way dangerous chemicals have been
used without sufficient research or regard for their potential harm to wildlife,
water, soil, and humans, creating an evil chain of poisoning and death. The over
use of DDT, dieldrin and other pesticides eventually poisoned an entire world of
living things. Silent Spring not only recognizes the severity of the chemicals
usage but recognizes the effect of substance use on a community. It helped
people to look at the whole picture, to look into the future instead of the now.

Carson helps to change this way of thinking by offering solutions to the
existing problems. She helps to show that nature will take care of nature. Many
times the best solutions are the introduction of other plants or animals. For
many thousands of years man has been battling nature, when if he took a step
back, he would see that if he just worked with it his problems could be solved.

Rachel Carson helped many people to see this ideal and is partly responsible for
starting the environmental movement that has become so apparent in today's
society. There are many people that do not support Rachel Carson's findings
about DDT. These people challenge her experiments and say that the results would
have been worse had the controls not been manipulated. The direct effect of DDT
may be different on all types of animals. What the people fail to notice that
challenge her statements are the chemical bonds that are produced with DDT and
other chemical substances. The significance of Rachel Carson's book was not the
scientific accuracy but instead the position it took on DDT. Why this book is so
recognized has nothing to do with the actual data, it has to do with awareness
and the beginning of global consciousness. Suddenly we are not just a species we
are a planet. Carson helped us to realize that everything you do has a greater
effect on something else. The arguments of human death due to the banning of DDT
are serious ones, and need to be addressed. Many critics say that in many ways

Silent Spring has caused more death than it has prevented. In no way do i feel
that, that was Rachel Carson's intention. This book is merely a tool for
awareness and offers solutions to specific agricultural problems. The critics of

Carson are looking to this book, as an answer to all environmental questions
instead of looking to it as a guide. I don't feel that in any way Rachel Carson
wrote this book for that reason. There are two issues in which i do not feel
have been addressed properly. The first is the relationship with government and
big business and the second the issue of human survival from insect born
diseases. There has been little mention about how the legislation would change
the thinking. This book was released in the early 60's and just recently have we
been seeing changes with law and business practice. DDT was shown in Rachel

Carson's book to be the root of all evil. It failed to show the good it had done
and the lives that it had actually saved. By avoiding both sides of the story
she subjected herself to much criticism.