Rachel Carson died on this day in 1964. Although she was already a well-known writer prior to Silent Spring, she is best remembered for this book that made the case against the indiscriminate spraying of pesticides such as DDT. In clear lyrical prose, her work focused attention on the danger these chemicals posed to wildlife as well as the risk of cancer and other health problems in humans. Carson herself died from complications from breast cancer. She was 56.
Here’s a quote from a CBS interview with Carson a year before her death about humanity’s place on this planet.
“We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature.
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
“Now, I truly believe, that we in this generation, must come to terms with nature, and I think we’re challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves.”