Rachel Carson's Silent Spring Essay

1888 words - 8 pages

Research Paper: Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, born during the industrial boom in a small town called Springdale. There, a glue factory very near to her home exposed Carson, at a young age, to some of the effects chemicals can have on a small town. As Carson grew so did her ambitions to learn more about the environment. This determination won her a scholarship to Pennsylvania College for Women and later she furthered her education at Johns Hopkins University, studying Marine Biology. She was a woman always supportive to her family, so when financial trouble hit home, Carson left school to aid. She ended up writing her first book Under the Sea-Wind in 1941, which put financial issues at bay and left her with the ability to continue her studies, (Griswold). In the 1950`s Carson began to research the use of pesticides and their effects on the food chain and environment, leading to her most influential book being published in 1962. Silent Spring written by Rachel Carson changed the course of history because it informed the general public about what harms humans can do to the environment of our world and to the human race itself.
There are multiple points in Silent Spring that make the book so noteworthy in the history of environmentalism. The first being that Carson shows how the common person isn’t extremely informed about the pesticides that are being used every day all over their fields, homes and towns. Also they know nothing about how irreversible most of the damage is. Carson points out, “The most alarming of all mans assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible” (Carson 6). Carson argues that there’s almost no way to undo the effects of these pesticides, leading her to explain how the chemicals can pass throughout the chain and into living organism`s cell tissue. The chemicals that are sprayed over areas are absorbed into the soil, transferring into living organisms, initiating a domino effect of death throughout the chain, (Carson 6).
A major historical point Silent Spring lends hand in is the trust society had found in common industry. The companies during this time were interested in only production and income, not that present day is much different. The less capital the companies put out, the better. These companies were not going to test out the pesticides used on their crops or land when there were no laws to enforce it or any reason to spend money on it, so long as weeds and insects didn’t infest the soil that would be used. The industries that were using these damaging pesticides reacted with defense to the publishing of Silent Spring so noted Griswold in the NY Times, “The industry’s response to Silent Spring proved more aggressive than anyone anticipated. As Lear notes,...

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