Thursday, April 9, 2015

Silent Spring: Rachel Carson Illuminates Dangers of Toxic Pesticides

By Edith Carpio

In Silent Spring, author Rachel Carson pointed out that humans have taken power over everything; commercially, industrially, etc. But we, I at least, have never stopped and thought about exactly how much power we have. We have so much power that we even have control over the environment. The way that we treat our environment, which is very poorly, is the way the environment is going to react. We put extreme amounts of toxic chemicals into the air and our environment responds with problems like climate change.

Carson also points out that the poisons that we put into the environment, such as strontium via nuclear explosions, are forever. They stay in the chemical makeup of grass, corn, wheat, and in human bones, forever. I never realized that some of the poisons we put out there have no expiration date.

The way in which Rachel Carson writes is very entertaining. There was one point where she wrote when talking about insecticides, they should not be called ‘insecticides’ but biocides, because they kill every living thing. I don’t think she meant it to be humorous but she made a bold point and at the same time it entertained the reader. Which is why I think her points are more than just points, she says them in a way that the reader will remember them and not just read and forget about it seconds later.

Carson writes about chemicals existing everywhere, which gave me a new sense of paranoia I didn’t know I could have. I was aware that chemicals are in the environment but I never really thought they could be in me. After she pointed that out, I questioned why people with actual power aren’t taking more action; after all, isn't the people’s health the main priority? If the detrimental state of the environment is not important enough for people to care about, how about the possible dangers these chemicals pose to humans? Shouldn’t that be a call for action?

I think a lot of threats that insecticides pose go unnoticed by the public for a reason. People of power in the agriculture industry who do the massive amounts of spraying of insecticides do not want the threats to be known to the public. They keep the problem from the public by throwing millions of dollars into protecting the pesticides industry from government regulations. These threats should be announced to the public. I think that if the public knew about it, we’d realize that more than just insect life is being harmed and then we’d do something about it. I don’t think people are knowledgeable enough about the topic to care about it.  The way that Carson writes about environmental problems is the way people should learn about them.

The thing about Carson is not only is she educating readers about environmental problems that need more awareness, but also provides historical and biological facts about the things she defends such as soil, birds, insects, vegetation, etc. Her style of writing is unique and has caused me to think differently about the environment and the necessary measures to protect it from ourselves.

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