Happy International Women’s Day! Today I wanted to just share with you guys a brief post about one of the most influential female environmentalists who has inspired me through my entire degree and career.
Rachel Carson famously published Silent Spring in 1962 which described the indiscriminate use of pesticides and their impact both on the environment and human populations. Her research on the effects of aerial distribution DDT and other pesticides mixed with fuel oils in the 1950’s was unlike any other at the time. It was integral in unveiling the problem of developing resistant strains of pests, damage to bird populations, and the concerted efforts of the government and producers to cover up the long-term consequences of such projects. Eventually her research and book would influence the formation of the EPA, lead to important court rulings on environmental protection, and was an important role model for many women who would join the environmental movement in the decades to come. Posthumously she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Beyond publishing Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was an accomplished Marine Biologist and author of award winning books such as The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea (reissued as Under The Sea Wind). She was one of few female environmentalists of her time, and navigated the male dominated field making way for female scientists, scholars, and environmentalists in the future.
Her research has gone on to inspire many female scholars who study a huge array of topics of sustainability and environmental protection. These include the ways in which environmental destruction and race, poverty and gender intersect, how pesticide/fungicide resistant insects and fungus are developed by overuse, and how chemical agents effect both the environment and human populations.
So if you want to know more about Rachel Carson, I highly suggest you get a copy of Silent Spring – I especially like this edition as it has some of her essays and notes. Additionally, if you want more information on environmentalists who are making waves, check out this great list by BET of 16 Black Environmentalists You Should Know.
Thanks again everyone – Heather