May 27 marks the 107th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Louise Carson, the environmentalist whose research led to the 1972 banning, in the United States, of [DDT].

The American-born marine biologist and writer is best known for her 1962 book Silent Spring, which is credited with launching the global contemporary environmental movement.

Silent Spring focuses on the impact of synthetic pesticides on the environment—with the title referring to the absence of birdsong across swathes of agricultural landscape following the widespread introduction of pesticides and other intensive farming practices.

The book sparked a public outcry, bringing to widespread attention the effects of these chemicals both on the ecosystem and on human health.

Although her research was attacked by chemical companies, a decade after her book was published, and years after her death, her book led to a nationwide ban of DDT, a colourless and crystalline organochloride with insecticidal properties, and other pesticides. Silent Spring demonstrated that these pesticides could cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly to birds.

Reprinted from The Independent



A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.  It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.  
- Rachel Carson


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Google Doodle celebrating the birthday of marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson (1907-1964).  

Rachel began her career at the US Bureau of Fisheries before turning to nature writing.  Her fourth book, Silent Spring (1962), documented the effects of pesticides such as DDT on the environment.  The book inspired a grassroots movement to protect the environment that led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970.  The EPA banned agricultural use of DDT in 1972.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded Rachel the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying:

Never silent herself in the face of destructive trends, Rachel Carson fed a spring of awareness across America and beyond. A biologist with a gentle, clear voice, she welcomed her audiences to her love of the sea, while with an equally clear determined voice she warned Americans of the dangers human beings themselves pose for their own environment. Always concerned, always eloquent, she created a tide of environmental consciousness that has not ebbed.

Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man’s future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.
—  Happy birthday to ground-breaking, ceiling-smashing biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
—  Rachel Carson