Monday, May 2, 2016

Silent Spring Alerted Public to Dangers of Widespread Pesticide

By Jonathan Sanzari

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring conveyed vivid detail about nature and the impact of chemicals on the environment. She also did a very good job of incorporating different approaches into her writing style. Many people call her writing style an “ecological” approach. I concur with that statement, being that her previous published books were Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea

She is passionate about her writing and about the subjects she covers. In Silent Spring, Carson addressed the rising problem of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT. It was being sprayed all over natural habitats and she shows how that would permanently affect them and the humans that it came in contact with the chemical. 

The book was published in 1962. According to NRDC, DDT was “developed in 1939, it first distinguished itself during World War II (WWII), clearing South Pacific islands of malaria-causing insects for U.S. troops while being used as an effective delousing powder in Europe.”

Carson was born in 1907. That means she was 32 when the government was developing DDT to use during WWII. Carson was influenced by the heavy usage of the chemical and the role it had as the commonly used chemical that prevented mosquito outbreaks and killed weeds. 

It wasn’t until 1958, however, that she really took action on this issue. Carson was 51, when she received a letter from a friend in Massachusetts explaining that all the birds were dying in an area on Cape Cod due to the DDT sprayings that were being done, according to NRDC.

Carson’s Silent Spring was a book that was truly impactful and eventually led to the halt of manufacturing DDT. Carson’s educational and informal book served partially as a public service announcement. She warned that the commonly used pesticide was a horrific chemical concoction that has long-term health risks and even impacts nature permanently.

Her book featured statements by well-known scientists and chemists that raised attention to DDT’s side effects. Silent Spring was on the New York Times best-seller list for 86 weeks and was also an international best-seller. Her research, detailed storytelling and imagery did not go unnoticed. She is a one of kind advocate that is all about supplying the facts to the people. I highly doubt the government was planning on announcing the side-effects of DDT to the public anytime soon.

Carson’s Silent Spring made citizens reevaluate their use of the dangerous and harmful chemical. She really put pressure on the government once she published the book. She was on a mission to deliver the truth and to paint a picture of the future if we continue to use the chemical. Readers were influenced to really look out for the poisonous pesticide and to prohibit the use of it. Since DDT was eventually banned, the companies that made it found alternatives to still profit. They produced cousin products of DDT that are still available to buy today. Make sure you do your research before you by a lawn-care product.

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