HerStory Thursdays: Rachel Carson


RachelCarsonDigitalLibrary2006054 In 1962, a book was published that changed the outlook of environmental conservation everywhere. This book, Silent Spring was written by a woman named Rachel Carson.

Rachel Carson was born in 1907, in a small town in Pennsylvania where she grew to love nature. In 1929, Carson graduated from what is now known as Chatham College with a degree in Marine Biology, and then in 1932, received her Masters in Zoology from Johns Hopkins University.

During the depression, Carson worked for the U.S Bureau of Fisheries writing radio scripts, but supplemented her income by writing articles on Natural History for a magazine. In 1936, she was made a scientist and editor with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services, and rose to become the Editor-In-Chief of all publications.

Rachel Carson turned her work into something the American people could easily understand and read, as evidenced by her acclaimed book  The Sea Around Us she published in 1952. That same year, she also retired from government work to focus entirely on writing.

In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a book that turned many of the American population both curious and horror-filled as they read about the chemical and environmental damage being done by their government and agricultural companies alike. She then testified against these companies when an investigation into them was launched.

Rachel Carson is considered one of the reasons why DDT, a pesticide that caused great harm to crops and people alike, was banned. Even forty years after DDT was banned, there are still adverse affects being felt by people and ecosystems all over the world.

Rachel Carson also is credited with helping create the Environmental Protection Agency, her book and testimony in front of Congress led to the creation of the Agency.  Rachel Carson died in 1964 from breast cancer.

Without Rachel Carson, we likely would still be using DDT, would not have the EPA and our environment would be a lot worse off.