Rachel Louise Carson’s legacy, Silent Spring, has been immortalized (at least for the day) via a Google Doodle released in celebration of the long-gone environmentalist’s 107th birthday. The beautiful doodle features Miss Carson casually observing the wonders of nature that she committed much of her adult life to protecting.
Who Is Rachel Louise Carson?
Born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Miss Rachel Louise Carson went on to write Silent Spring, a comprehensive tome that details the many detrimental effects industrial chemicals and pesticides pose to the environment. The book, which was officially released in 1962, inspired such critical acclaim that Miss Carson is considered to be the originator of what we now view as the Green Movement.
Why Is Silent Spring So Special?
What Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring specifically covered was how the use of a synthetic pesticide known as DDT (or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was, at the time, affecting bird populations.
Scientific America explains:
“Carson reported that birds ingesting DDT tended to lay thin-shelled eggs which would in turn break prematurely in the nest, resulting in marked population declines.”
This was a huge discovery that directly led to the formation of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1967. It also played an indirect role toward the rise of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, as well as the passing of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act in 1963, 1972 and 1973, respectively.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Silent Spring also introduced the world to the way in which pesticides like DDT always inevitably ended up in human tissue (think people who eat meat). Even worse, they “caused cancer and genetic damage.”
What’s interesting is that her book was not initially well received. A few months prior to its official publication, it was serialized in The New Yorker. Not surprisingly, given, of course, the mantra that ‘haters always gonna hate,’ Rachel Louise Carson’s words got excoriated left and right by numerous executives. One even went so far as to allege that the adoption of Carson’s proposed solutions would lead to a return of the Dark Ages.
What Happened To Rachel Louise Carson?
Though Carson inspired decades of legislation, she, unfortunately, died of breast cancer on April 14, 1964, less than two years after her book was published.
She has since received a plethora of posthumous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has also had numerous sites (the Rachel Carson Bridge, elementary schools, middle schools, etc.) named after her. And as of May 27, 2014, she now also has a Google Doodle in her honor!
Image via [Google]