A few weeks ago, huff the Hubs and I watched an interesting docu-series on life in the 1960’s. While watching, we learned about an awesome lady named Rachel Carson. I didn’t know anything about her until this documentary and quickly decided that EVERYONE needed to know about this wonderful woman!
Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907, near Springdale, Pennsylvania. As a child, Rachel loved to read; mostly stories about the natural world and animals. Being inspired, she wrote stories while playing on her family’s farm.
When Rachel graduated high school, she studied at the Pennsylvania College for Women; first as an English major, but quickly changed to biology. While at PCW, she kept up her love of writing and wrote for the school newspaper.
She was admitted to Johns Hopkins University for their graduate program, but had to stay in Pennsylvania because of financial problems. Soon, however, she was able to transfer to Johns Hopkins and earned a masters in zoology. After earning her degree, tragedy struck and Carson had to care for her family after her father died. She took a position with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and wrote copy for a radio program designed to garner the public’s interest in wildlife.
Her boss loved her work and, in 1936, she was given a position as a junior aquatic biologist (only the second woman at the time). Carson continued her work and research, writing several books about wildlife and nature. In 1962, however, her most well-known book, Silver Spring was published.
Silver Spring was an investigation into the harmful affects of pesticides used on crops and the environment. Her book was the catalyst to the modern environmental movement and helped speed up the outlawing of DDT.
Though she was met with criticism and push-back (mostly from chemical companies and those lawmakers in their pockets) Carson didn’t waiver. She continued to find more and more research showing just how harmful these chemicals were.
Carson passed away in 1964. Six years later, under President Nixon’s administration, the Environmental Protection Agency was created; many credit Carson’s work to its creation. During President Jimmy Carter’s time in office, he awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Thanks, Rachel, for helping to protect our environment and our food!