How do we rescue the Earth from us people? 60 years ago, Rachel Carson addressed this question in her book, Silent Spring. She’d been a shy but defiant biologist in government service. Her book had science behind it, and the rhythm of poetry all through it: one woman’s outcry—as she herself was dying of cancer—against pesticides, most notoriously DDT, what she called “the chemical barrage” being “hurled against the fabric of life.” She was hurling her prose at not just DDT but Dupont, Monsanto, the big business of agriculture, and the slick ad slogan: “better living through chemistry.” Silent Spring became a historic bestseller and a rallying cry for the twentieth century. It’s an unmet challenge for the twenty-first.
Biologist Sandra Steingraber and Blogger Maria Popova join Chris Lydon in this installment of In Search of Monsters. They discuss Carson’s legacy and the pressing implications of Silent Spring today.
Listen to the full episode here:
Additionally, check out these related resources:
• Climate change is a national security issue – QI Research Fellow Adam Weinstein in Responsible Statecraft, September 1st, 2022.
• Climate Change: The Greatest National Security Threat to the United States – Quincy Brief from Eurasia Director Anatol Lieven, October 25, 2021.
• The Ocean and the Meaning of Life – Maria Popova, June 6th, 2021.
• The Fracking of Rachel Carson – Sandra Steingraber