Thursday, April 15, 2010

Silent Spring – Opinion Piece

By Amanda Valenti

There are many issues in Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. She mentions a lot about pesticides and the effects it has on animals and humans. Many animals had most of their population wiped out by certain sprays and many humans suffered tragic illnesses from lack of knowledge about the poisons in use.

One issue that was brought up was the killing of weeds, which was very interesting. She brought up a good point when she wrote, “they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” People are always outside weeding and getting rid of the small little flowers in their grass and gardens, believing they hinder the growth of their other plants. It was interesting to read that there are some weeds that can actually help plant growth.

The use of Marigolds surprised me. I thought people would generally want them out of their gardens. “Marigolds are now used in many places for combating nematodes,” Carson wrote. They are proven to help roses flourish, where the original idea was they inhibited the growth of the plants around them.

Another issue that was shocking was when officials told people not to worry about the spraying of aldrin. It seems as though the informants should have known better and researched valid sources to find out whether or not it was deadly. “One must assume that none of these officials had consulted the published and readily available reports of the United States Public Health Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and other evidence of the extremely poisonous nature of aldrin,” Carson noted.

Information like that is so important and imperative to deliver the truth. To deliver such lies that can affect so many lives is sickening. These actions raise many questions as to what is truth and what is said just to shut the public up. Peoples’ lives and animals’ lives were sacrificed because of the misleading information that was released.

The Michigan Audubon Society pointed out an interesting problem with the spraying: “‘In the specs between shingles on roofs, in eaves-troughs, in the cracks in bark and twigs, the little white pellets of aldrin-and-clay, no bigger than a pin head, were lodged by the millions….When the snow and rain came, every puddle became a possible death potion’,” Carson explained.

A fact that was truly astonishing was when Carson mentioned how cats become practically endangered. “The World Health Organization, spraying in Venezuela, is reported to have reduced cats to the status of a rare animal,” she reported. Considering the abundance of cats, it is hard to fathom cats coming to that point where they were considered so rare.

In the US now, kittens are up for adoption all the time, so to visualize them as less boggles the mind. If a substance is so dangerous it drives an over-populated animal to the brink of extinction it should have raised a red flag to release updated information to the public about the truth.

The pesticides seemed to have no harm in the beginning, yet when it is finally sprayed and death tolls are taken among animals, and illness are recorded among humans, that is when the true results come out. It seems like a no-brainer to test theses harmful poisons before spreading them around, such as when one man dumped his extra on the side of the road killing beautiful plants that could have drawn people from all over.

It was like the creators of the pesticides thought people were invincible along with the animals. The sheer volume of illness and death the noxious poisons caused was purely unnecessary, to say the least. Stronger regulations needed to be put in place in order to keep all living things safe.

Luckily, today there are more regulations and testing done before such substances are rained over the terrain, but people are not in the clear yet. There are still people suffering from the past and more facts that are unknown with current toxins. The best that can be done is to keep studying and keep regulations tight, which is an important value to learn from this book.

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