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Rachel Carson: Finding the Balance

Rachel Carson Painting

The 1962 classic, Silent Spring, grabbed the world’s attention and is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Its author – conservationist and marine biologist RACHEL CARSON (1907 – 1964) – warned of detrimental and potentially permanent impacts of chemical pesticides on the earth’s natural systems.

What’s less well known is that Carson did not support a complete abandonment of synthetic pesticides, but rather advocated their responsible use alongside a more biotic approach to pest control. In addition to depleting our ecosystems, Carson correctly forecast that irresponsible use of synthetics would create resistance in the very pests they were targeting.

While Carson was initially opposed by chemical companies, her ideas inspired broad changes in U.S. policy on pesticides and ultimately led to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

With a message at once measured and thoughtful, Carson’s legacy teaches that one person can bring about positive change that will impact millions of lives.

*Artwork by Thomke Meyer.