Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pollution Essay: Silent Spring, How Rachel Carson Changed the World :: Environment Environmental Preservation

Silent Spring - How Rachel Carson Changed the World On September 27, 1962 Rachel Carson released her sixth book, Silent Spring. On publication day, the advance sales of Silent Spring totaled 40,000 copies and another 150 copies were sent to the Book of the Month Club (Frontline: Fooling With Nature, 1998). Silent Spring remained on the bestseller list for almost a year. The world was beginning to take notice. Countless experts and organizations have proclaimed Rachel Carsonà ¢s book the starting point of the environmental movement. Carson described numerous case studies where the use of hazardous pesticides, insecticides, and other chemicals led to environmental problems all over the world. Whether directly or indirectly, everything in the environment is connected and affected by each other. Silent Spring describes, in depth, the harmful effects that chemical control has placed on all components of the environment. They include: air, water, land, wildlife, plant life, and humans. I will discuss each of these categories as examined in Silent Spring along with my personal analysis. First I will discuss the damage from chemicals released in the air. Aerial spraying of pesticides, mostly DDT, began on a small scale over farms and forests. With the development of new insecticides and the availability of planes from the war, the sky almost literally turned into a shower of toxic chemicals. The justification behind the massive sprayings of the 1950à ¢s was to exterminate exotic species like the fire ant, and the gypsy moth. The spraying was extremely careless, and resulted in heavily populated towns and cities repeatedly being sprayed with DDT (Carson, 1962). Unfortunately, people and wildlife sprayed with DDT along with other chemicals had no warnings and no way to protect themselves. The government, without consent of those affected, risked the health of those exposed to the pesticides and the quality of the environment. Nearly everyone was exposed to the risks, in a direct or indirect way, from the extensive aerial spraying. As described in the book, the gypsy moth is not a native of the United States. It had persisted in the U.S. for a great number of years without any need for extensive control measures. Carson states, à £Yet drastic action was suddenly taken against them under the end-justifies-the-means philosophyà ¤ (Carson, 1962, p.156). Therefore, unnecessary health risks and damage to the environment were considered acceptable in order to eliminate the gypsy moth, which has repeatedly been unsuccessful. One reason the gypsy moth still thrives is because, like many insects, they have developed resistance to the chemicals targeted against them.

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