Rachel Carson Silent Spring
Changed how we think about the world
She fought for anything she believed in
Deadly impact on pesticide
We have to come to terms with nature, to work with it and not against it
Fascination with the wilderness
She was a biologist and achieved a degree in zoologist despite living a time in which it
was not common for a woman to do so
The most famous pesticide used was DDT and it became more and more popular
DDT a poisonous chemical used to kill insects and pests were sprayed on humans in
order to prevent diseases
o Especially during the World War II, prevented a lot of diseases such as typhoid
fever which are caused by hair lice
The chemicals in DDT were unknown to why it killed insects, it was avoided as an issue
o The question was never asked or rather it was avoided because it was so effective
at a singular task of killing pests
1950 the DDT planes sprayed over a bird farm and it killed hundreds of birds.
Hokins bird farm. They sprayed the farm and the birds started dying
TEPP is so potent and was sold over the counters at groceries.
She questioned the integrity of the entire pesticide industry.
Dieldrin was introduced to kill fire ants which is 40 times more toxic than DDT
Many pressures mounting against Rachel Carson such as rejection from magazines
despite being a successful author, being threatened by lawyers and chemical corporations,
she is criticized of not being a real scientist
o Criticisms include a one-sided biased approach rather than an objective balanced
representation of solely the facts
o Plays on emotion
o Misconception of her was that she wasnt against the use of pesticides altogether
but rather a more cautious and regulated approach while asking the right questions
concerning side effects.
She was originally rejected by readers digest
Carson built a strong case to write her book
o She was often sick and ended up with 2 tumours (cancer)
o She passed away but was able to finish her book on time
Houghton Mifflin published her book o It became a best seller
After her book was published:
o arguments started to come up
o There is a chain reaction of an environmental movement and it consists of not an
individual but many others. It is a collective effort.
o CBS news interviewed her
Which then led to a ban of DDT in the US and in Canada David Orr, What Is Education For? from Earth in Mind: On Education,
Environment, and the Human Prospect. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2004, pp.
Orr is a professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio.
Review of David Orr Reading: What Is Education for? (2004)
If today is a typical day we will lose 116 square miles of rain forest... Etc. Not the work
of ignorant people, rather it is the result of the people with BAs Etc.
Elie Wiesel argued that the designers of the Holocaust were some of the best educated
people on earth and their education did not serve them an adequate barrier from barbarity
In Wiesels words It emphasizes theories instead of values, concepts rather than human
beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and
efficiency rather than conscience.
Only people have lived sustainably on the Earth could not read... No education is a
guarantee of decency, prudence, or wisdom; it is not education, but an education of a
certain kind that will save us.
Six Myths of Modern Education:
1) Ignorance is a solvable problem.
Ignorance is not a solvable problem; it is rather an inescapable part of the human
Ex. With CFCs and what they did to the ozone
2) With enough scientific knowledge, we can manage planet earth
Higher education has largely been shaped by the drive to extend human domination to its
fullest, human intelligence may have taken the wrong path
It makes far better sense to reshape ourselves to fit a finite planet than to attempt to
reshape the planet to fit our infinite wants.
3) Knowledge and human goodness are on the rise
An information explosion of data, words and paper should not be mistaken for a rise of
wisdom and knowledge, while some knowledge is on the rise some is also being lost
Despite all of our advances we still do not have anything like the science of land health
that Aldo Leopold called for half a century ago