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All I can say is that this book completely rocked my world Carson s writing is so lyrical, so engrossing, and so compelling it s just impossible not to be mesmerized by the lilt of her sentences And she presents her arguments with such magnetic conviction you cannot help but be convinced of their legitimacy I ve never been a science person , but her descriptions of cell life, soil creatures, and even beetles truly had me on the edge of my seat By the same token her words about pesticides are nothing short of chilling, and since I ve read Silent Spring I ve evolved into a passionate environmentalist Fair warning this isn t an easy book to read emotionally A few times I had to put it down, wondering if I had the courage to keep going and face the truth of what s happening to our world But every time I went back, and I m so, so glad that I did Read Silent Spring I promise you ll never be the same, and that you won t regret it. We stand now where two roads diverge But unlike the roads in Robert Frost s poem, they are not equally fair The road we are travelling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster The other fork of the road the one less travelled by offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth. p.240 I found Rachel Carson s famousSilent Spring a beautifully written book, that in the breadth of its interests ecological collapse, cancer, invasive species, toxic build ups in the environment, natural defences against pests and so on reminded me of Darwin.A while back I read Elizabeth Kolbert s book The Sixth Extinction, while both cover similar ground a testament to the lack of impact of Carson s book, Kolbert s prose style suggested that she was a journalist covering a story, and once she was done she would bugger off back to her own planet and leave us to it Carson I felt, was in contrast, entirely committed and in awe of the complexities of ecology, of the web of life, although at the end I felt she was probably too optimistic in her faith in supporting natural predators, and probably too in the power of changing public opinion While it is often enough said that the banning of DDT is attributable to Carson s book she herself is clear that already in the 1950s DDT was of of rapidly declining value because of the development of resistant insect populations.Reading, all the stories she was telling about pesticide resistance, invasive species, unintended consequences of chemical use, the discovery of chemicals in the fatty tissues of creatures in remote from where the chemicals had been used were all very familiar to me from repeated news stories, again suggesting to me that Carson s big point was ignored This is not really a book about specific chemical usage in the years up to the publication of this book 1962 it isabout human attitudes towards nature It reminded me too of the Vietnam war not because of the use of herbicides but because of the technological mindset, that by deploying enough technology you could get what you wanted The issue of whether the technology was appropriate to the task, or if the situation could be sufficiently well understood by those who controlled the technology, whether those people understood themselves sufficiently and their powerlessness in the face of the world, were all taboo After reading Herland I wondered too that if this book had been written instead by Rachel s fictional but no less talented brother Billy, maybe it might have been takenseriously and maybe the USA might even have adopted the precautionary principal. How could I forget the first book I read about pesticides, and how they are destroying our planet Rachel Carson is literally my hero After reading Carson s book, I decided this is what I wanted to do with my life I spent many years in the field of environmental geology, and I have her to thank I believe this book is as relevant today as it was when she wrote it in 1962 She has an ease of writing, that not only expresses her deep concerns for the environment, but also feels highly personal Her love of nature shines through on every page Time has surely been the test of her writing, as I look around today and see what profound affects these chemicals have had on our world, our planet, and our health It is fascinating to read of one highly intelligent woman s concerns for the future, and how we had the opportunity to act years ago As fascinating a read now as it was then Highly recommended. She was warned She was given an explanation Nevertheless, she persisted Mitch McConnell, about Elizabeth Warren Poisoning the Planet with Impunity Part 2, 2017 Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall He will end by destroying the earth Albert SchweitzerThis lovely, eloquent, poetic book, published in 1962 and nominated for The National Book Award, was read to me by the woman who played the part of Rachel in the movie, Kaiulani Lee, in a gentle voice that belies the storm the book still faces even today The book was written by a scientist, marine biologist Carson, who had written the perhapspoetic and less scientific but also popular The Sea Around Us, published seven years before, and its successor, The Edge of the Sea These books were essentially about the love of nature and the sense of wonder we need to appreciate the world around us.But Carson saw horrific, ignorant things happening to the environment in the fifties She took four years to carefully research and document all across this country the poisoning of the country Carson and her publisher braced themselves for the response they knew was surely coming Even before publication they were sued by chemical companies, unsuccessfully, and were on publication almost immediately and unrelentlessly vilified by what was then Corporate Farming America yes, the people who are bringing the planet Frankenfood , something that has continued unabated to this day by an amalgamation of anti environmental climate change deniers and so on Hundreds of dollars then were spent by the chemical industry in an attempt to discredit the book and to malign the author she was described as an ignorant and hysterical woman who wanted to turn the earth over to the insects The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man The concepts and practices of applied entomology for the most part date from that Stone Age of science It is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the most modern and terrible weapons, and that in turning them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth CarsonOccasionally there are books that change the world One such book was Uncle Tom s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe that almost singlehandedly turned white women firmly against slavery by depicting the cruel sale of slave children taken from their mother Silent Spring, similarly warns us of the health concerns for especially children, even warning of the possibility of future birth defects Carson, a scientist writing in a popular science mode, carefully lays out the case against DDT and other indiscriminately sprayed chemicals that were destroying ecosystems, endangering lives She made the link between these poisons and cancer and other man made diseases As a direct result of the message in Silent Spring, President Kennedy set up a special panel to study the problem of pesticides Though it took ten years to do it, DDT and many other poisons was banned in 1972 Carson with Silent Spring almost singlehandedly ushered in the environmental movement based on her study of 1950 s pesticide We would not have had the EPA without Carson, possibly When I was a kid in the sixties we drove through a putrid fog from Grand Rapids to Chicago We swam in Lake Michigan in the midst of dead fish I doubt you could swim in the lake on the Chicago side Lake Erie was a dumping latrine But beginning in the mid sixties we turned around the destruction of the environment, though it in truth that destruction was just slowed down, as you know The world s oceans have raised a frightening 2 degrees in just the past fifty years And so on We stand now where two roads diverge But unlike the roads in Robert Frost s familiar poem, they are not equally fair The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster The other fork of the road the one less traveled by offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth CarsonTo those of you romanticizing deregulation freedom from the oppressive state, let s support Big Biz Profits instead of protecting Greedy Poor People and the environment, right on , and the roll back of The Clean Water Act we needFlints.Save the planet, I say Prove Schweitzer wrong Vote for the planet and take to the streets. I picked this up because it s a a classic of American nature and environmental writing, and ostensibly marks the beginning of American environmental activism in the modern sense i.ewe deserve not to be poisoned than leisure grounds for posterity I found the rhetorical style interesting She breaks the book up into chapters on where toxins come from, how they accumulate and spread, and what effects they have on wildlife, food, and human health In each, she offloads tale after tale of dead birds, poisoned farm workers, and nearly inhuman acts of government negligence and the corporations that facilitate them I found this droning repetition of evidence boring, a dull and depressing tirade, but I suppose that kind of argumentative overload has power, if not appeal.I felt some of her language and opinions were surprisingly dated She often referred to insects using words like horde and militaristic symbols of weaponry and defense Here s an example from p 246 the broader problem is the fact that our chemical attack is weakening the defenses inherent in the environment itself, defenses designed to keep the various species in check Each time we breach these defenses a horde of insects pours through There are a couple odd implications here, like nature being a designed clockwork system of checks and balances, and insects as a kind of evil constantly trying to overthrow it Of course, further down the page she writes, The balance of nature is not a status quo it is fluid, ever shifting, in a constant state of adjustment The two statements seem at odds, and the bulk of the book effuses the latter sentiment, but I found it strange that she would occasionally be so careless with her language I pick nits, of course, but perhaps it demonstrates that this book lies at a transition between American attitudes toward nature.I was also intrigued by her almost unconditional support of biological control techniques over pesticides generally, the use of cultivated predators to control a pest population , readily advocating the importation of effective predators with I think no examples of the kinds of ecological disaster that can ensue when such tactics are pursued without very careful consideration cane toads, anyone Again, perhaps a sign of the times.All in all, certainly worth my time I d like to read someanalysis on the book and on Carson herself the preface to this editions is great , and I m very keen to read her natural history writing, esp on marine life. 5 Reposted in honour of her 111th birthday David Attenborough said that after Charles Darwin s The Origin of Species, Silent Spring was probably the book that changed the scientific world the most.Why Because marine biologist Rachel Carson explains in no uncertain terms exactly how mankind was changing the natural world for the worse in unimagined ways through pesticide use Agriculture wasn t concerned with wildlife or waterways, just livestock and crops.I remember as a child hearing that DDT was so safe you could sprinkle it on your cornflakes A couple of decades later we were told pretty much the same thing about Roundup, a herbicide, not a pesticide, which has also fallen into serious disrepute recently.I understand it was the editors who recommended that Carson add an opening chapter She wrote A Fable for Tomorrow , and what a chapter it is There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings The town lay in the midst of a checkerboard of prosperous farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchards where, in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields Even in winter, the roadsides were places of beauty, where countless birds came to feed on the berries and on the seed heads of the dried weeds rising above the snow Then, it all changed Mysteriously, things began sickening streams, plants, animals, people The songbirds are gone, the fish are gone A grim spectre has crept upon us almost unnoticed, and this imagined tragedy may easily become a stark reality we all shall know She does say that this is just a representation of any of a number of towns in the world, and she knows of no single town that s lost everything Well, back in 1962, anyway What has already silenced the voices of spring in countless towns in America This book is an attempt to explain With that simple chapter, we get it The enormity of what s at stake.Thus began today s environmental movement There have always been conservationists and environmentalists, but this book gave them a voice and opened the eyes of the rest of us.And explain she does, clearly, factually, fascinatingly, and she includes the anecdotal stories we still seem to need to grab our attention Much of what she describes is now part of the regular school curriculum, and there are lots of mainstream articles about soil health, microbes, worms and the interrelationship between even the smallest parts of nature.Some of her examples have a horrible fascination where they describe the unintended consequences of wiping out one pest intentionally which either kills other things or facilitates the spread of another, worse pest In Clear Lake, California, they were spraying annoying gnats with DDD, a close relative of DDT but supposedly less harmful to fish By the third season they sprayed, they were losing birds and discovered the build up in fatty tissues How Why Well, grebes eat fish, which eat other fish which eat planktonand this stuff keeps building up One, a brown bullhead, had the astounding concentration of 2500 parts per million It was a house that jack built sequence, in which the large carnivores had eaten the smaller carnivores, that had eaten the herbivores, that had eaten the plankton, that had absorbed the poison from the water The last chapter, The Other Road refers to the famous Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken Carson explains that our two roads are not equal The way we re going is fast and easy but leads to disaster The other fork of the road the one less travelled by offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth The choice, after all, is ours to make She holds out hope forbiological solutions and says in 1962 many specialists are working on this in their respective fields biology, entomology, biochemistry, genetics, too many to enumerate.She quotes professor Carl P Swanson, a Johns Hopkins biologistAny science may be likened to a river It has its obscure and unpretentious beginning its quiet stretches as well as its rapids its periods of drought as well as of fullness It gathers momentum with the work of many investigators and as it is fed by other streams of thought it is deepened and broadened by the concepts and generalizations that are gradually evolvedWhy haven t we learned yet It s hard to believe that we have celebrated the 50th anniversary of this book without demanding our governments respect independent scientific reports and give corporate lobbyists the short shrift they deserve What will be left of the world on its 100th anniversary, I wonder This is an everybody should read this book This is nonfiction concerning the harmful effects that chemicals, which were created to make life easier for man pesticides, weed killers, etc have on the environment This was first published in 1962 and the author is credited for opening the door on his topic However, even now, 55 years later, it is still considered a hot topic Great strides have been made in this arena, but vigilance must me constant While reading this, I kept thinking that ignorance is bliss ONLY for those who don t have to pay the price This book made me rethink my own gardening and lawn habits.what I should or should not use to curb weeds and crabgrass Definitely food for thought. Advocacy is tricky When you re trying to motivate people to take action, you need to decide whether to appeal to the head, to the heart, to some combination of the two, or perhaps to somedelicate faculty Upton Sinclair miscalculated when he wrote The Jungle, aiming for the heart but instead hitting the stomach and as a result, the book was interpreted as an expos of the meat industry rather than a plea for the working poor Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac, eschews appeals to expediency, and instead focuses on the spiritual joys of wild nature but his book didn t result in any legislation Rachel Carson seems to have found the right formula an urgent and multifaceted appeal to self interest Silent Spring is often grouped along with Jane Jacobs s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which came out just the year before, in 1961 The comparison is apt, for both books were written by academic outsiders, by women working independently in male dominated fields, and both books created a sensation In subject matter, too, the books are surprisingly close Jacobs describes how top down city planning, which doesn t take into account the needs of city dwellers or the complex economies of cities, only causes ruination Carson describes how indiscriminate use of pesticides destroys ecosystems and fails even to permanently kill the pests Both books, in other words, criticize a practice taken for granted, a practice that attempted to mold the world using brute force while remaining ignorant of the systems it attempted to shape.Even today, Carson s book retains its moral urgency and its morbid fascination Not only is Carson a knowledgeable scientist, but she is quite a gifted author She knows how to drive home her point using vivid and often frightening examples, detailing case after case of poisonings, in animals and humans And she supplements her examples with scientific explanations, showing us how poisons spread through the environment, are absorbed into the body, and disrupt natural processes She knew that the chemical industry was going to fight her tooth and nail, so she did not leave any stones unturned in her research She systematically goes through the effects of pesticides on soil, water, birds, and plants, offering case after case in support of her thesis Now that we take it for granted that pesticides shouldn t be applied with such wholesale zeal, this can actually be a little tedious When advocacy is effective, it renders itself obsolete But Carson does not make the mistake of focusing only on the environment She emphasizes again and again how pesticides can enter foods, can combine in the body, can kill livestock and desolate fish, can enter the skin through commercial lawn products in other words, she emphasizes that this problem is not abstract and distant, but is one that closely affects the reader It is this focus that makes the book so effective she appeals to the stomach, the heart, the head, and also to Aldo Leopold s spiritual values but most of all, she appeals to self interest, the strongest motivator of all. This is a classic It has not lost its validity It has an important global message still today, 54 years after publication Everyone should read this at least once This reads as a horror story, but it is true The scientific studies are numerous, clear and to the point The demise of habitats and living creatures are lyrically depicted The author expertly alternates between poetic expression and scientific accuracy Eloquent prose That s the essential.Carson shows through carefully identified and quantified examples the inherent danger of pesticides, that they not only do not work and that they have serious side effects She goes one step further and identifies better alternatives biotic controls Here is what I wish I wish another author would follow up her analyses and describe how pesticides and herbicides are used today Further it would be interesting to know whether her suggestions concerning alternative methods have come to fruition The audiobook narration by Kaiulani Lee was superb Perfect speed, perfect intonation and performed with a poetic lilt when the lines so demanded Beautifully and masterfully performed. ^READ BOOK ⇧ Silent Spring ⇜ Rachel Carson S Silent Spring Was First Published In Three Serialized Excerpts In The New Yorker In June OfThe Book Appeared In September Of That Year And The Outcry That Followed Its Publication Forced The Banning Of DDT And Spurred Revolutionary Changes In The Laws Affecting Our Air, Land, And Water Carson S Passionate Concern For The Future Of Our Planet Reverberated Powerfully Throughout The World, And Her Eloquent Book Was Instrumental In Launching The Environmental Movement It Is Without Question One Of The Landmark Books Of The Twentieth Century