The Italians threw DDT at brides like they were throwing rice during World War II. When more than a million people in the country were sprayed with this toxic pesticide, everyone believed they were saving themselves from the dangers of malaria, typhus and yellow fever.
Instead, they were exposing their reproductive, endocrine and central nervous systems to cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. This is just one of many historical examples of reckless pesticide use. And also an important reminder that what we don’t know can kill us.
Thanks to Rachel Carson, people started asking questions about pesticide use in the 1960s after the publication of her book, Silent Spring. The world woke up to the insidious dangers of synthetic chemicals and also to the prospect that maybe our government-approved scientists weren’t giving us the full story.
Fast forward to 2019 and the aftermath of Rachel’s transformative research. It caused a paradigm shift in the way we view scientific progress and the need to stay vigilant. Rachel made history fighting big government and chemical companies and one woman’s concern for the health and welfare of humans and our world was the catalyst to an environmental movement.
In this next millennium, we face new questions and new challenges to the transparency of these same institutions and companies, whether the conversation is about additives to our food, our water supply or any of the related environmental ecosystems that affect all living organisms on this great planet.
What matters is that we see ourselves entrusted with the same shared responsibility to each other as Rachel Louise Carson did.
In honor of Rachel’s legacy, we hope you enjoy this recorded interview and video recap of her legacy and take heart in her fearless example that “one woman or man can change the world” (Rosa Parks).
Photo Credit: BillMoyers.com
Radio interview with Rachel Carson talking about Silent Spring
Honoring Rachel Carson in “A Not So Silent Spring” and why we need to keep asking the tough questions.