Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Considering Silent Spring

By Molly Rothberg

The 1962 book, Silent Spring is what launched the modern environmental movement. Author Rachel Carson examines the damaging and negative effects that pesticides have on the environment, specifically on birds and other animals. What Carson points out in the beginning of her book is the enjoyment of listening to the sound of birds in a community, as humans and elements of the natural world work together towards the growth of the spring season. The reader comes to realize that chemical poisons silent these pleasant sounds and spring becomes silent. In this first chapter, we understand how Carson gets the title of her book.

Deeper into the book, Carson explains how the chemical poisons affect the nature of the growing world. Insecticides are poisons that affect animals and birds over a period of time leading potentially to death. Carson discusses water pollution and how insecticides in soil cause the chemicals to combine with other chemicals, leading to pollution of streams and lakes.

Chapter 7 titled, “Needless Havoc,” discusses the effects of large spraying campaigns. These spraying operations have a record of killing non-targeted birds and animals. In the Midwest, this was a huge issue, when it led to the killing of a large number of wildlife.Birds are killed enmasse because they eat both insects and worms, so when a spray operation occurs birds are affected tremendously. The DDT users did not stop this action and Carson focuses on the fight against DDT's widespread use . Additionally, the river life also became affected because salmon had their food killed by the damaging parasites.

Insecticides contaminate everyone and chemical poisons have an incredible effect on the human body.  The ecology of the human body gets upset when exposed repeatedly to poisons. Towards the closing of her book, Carson illustrates the human body and how it becomes impacted by chemical poison. We need an alternative solution for insect control. There are campaigns in which these other solutions have been effective, inexpensive and safer for the environment. 

After reading Silent Spring, I had a different outlook on pesticides and pollution. Frankly, it made me think twice about how it not only impacts nature, but also the human body. Carson’s book is an inspiring example of being motivated by love of nature and rising to its defense.

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