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Rachel Carson

Area of Work. A marine biologist, writer, and an expositor of protecting the environment for the future, Rachel wrote many articles and three moving books about the sea, and a final book, Silent Spring, for which she is remembered. She was not by nature a crusader, but when aerial spraying of DDT killed the birds in a friend’s bird sanctuary, she began to study the effects of pesticides on the chains of life. Silent Spring provides an authentic and chilling warning that the chemicals we use in pesticides can create greater problems than they intended to solve. Rachel warned that if we do not learn to respect nature we might face a spring when no bird songs could be heard.
Education. At the Pennsylvania College For Women, a required college course in biology made Rachel change here assumptions about her career. She majored in zoology, and after graduating with honors, she received a scholarship from Johns Hopkins, where she got a Masters Degree in genetics in 1932.

Challenges. Rachel first broke barriers as a women. She took her first job with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. In 1936 she became the first women to pass the civil service exam. Over the next fifteen years she rose in the ranks until she was the editor of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After resigning from government service, she wrote best selling books. Silent Spring set off a national controversy and made her the subject of attack by the pesticide industry. She challenged DDT, whose inventor had received a Nobel prize After reading the book, President Kennedy called for testing of the chemicals mentioned in the book. Her Work Background. Her years at U.S. Fish ; Wildlife Service coincided with World War II experimentation with deadly chemicals. Insects were used to test these agents. Powerful pesticides were a byproduct of the tests. Rachel was the first one to see the dangerous effects of introducing these deadly agents into our food chain.

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Achievements. Rachel set off the controversy between environmentalists and the pesticide industry that is still raging. Silent Spring warns that for “the first time in the history of the World every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals from the moment of our conception until death.” Rachel came to be regarded as the mother of the modern environmental movement.”The environment” and “ecology” have since become household words. She was one of first to realize how the poisons in pesticides enter into our food and leach into our water supply. In this way everything and everyone becomes polluted. She was one of the first to foresee the connection between cancer and other diseases and modern technology.

Her Legacy. Until her voice was heard, the scientific community viewed man as seeking dominance over nature. Rachel maintained that the balance of nature is a major force in the survival of the human being. After her death in 1964 the use of DDT was banned. In 1970 the United States Environmental protection Agency was established, largely as a result of her pioneering vision.


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