Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Scattered reports of problems with pesticides had appeared in the technical literature from the fifties onwards, but it was only in 1962 that a wide-ranging critique of pesticides was published for a popular audience. Brought out by a major trade press, this book charted the tremendous increase in the production and use of these chemicals since World War II, and documented their failings. Focusing on chlorinated hydrocarbons and DDT in particular, it described their physiological effects, their impact on human health and wildlife, and the inadequacy of existing pesticide regulation. The book demonstrated how pesticides were not only harmful, but ultimately self-defeating, since pests soon developed resistance while beneficial insects and animals that helped keep them in check were killed. Further pesticide applications to counter a resurgence of the targeted species and infestations of new insects that weren’t a problem before began an escalating cycle. The book proposed replacing this hubristic attempt to master nature, which was destroying the earth’s capacity to support human life, with a philosophy of wise management of ecosystems and the development of ecologically sound biological control of pests. These changes, the author stressed, should not jeopardize nutrition and the American economy, and pesticides should not be

...

Lima