Silent Spring - Fifty Years Later

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson


Many believe the modern environmental movement began with the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring." Carson's influential book linked the use of pesticides with diminished bird populations, human illness, and loss of habitat for aquatic life. While her arguments were not universally accepted, Carson popularized the notion of a web of connections between human activity and the natural world.

Recent books echo the warnings of Carson's classic environmental text. In "Tomatoland: how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our most alluring fruit" journalist Barry Estabrook writes about the hidden costs of all-season fresh tomatoes. McKay Jenkins searches for harmful chemicals in everyday household items in "What's gotten into us?: staying healthy in a toxic world."

It's not all gloom and doom. The environmental movement has also inspired a greater appreciation for nature. Eric Rutkow's new book "American Canopy: trees, forests, and the making of a nation" traces the history of trees in America. In "Wild Play: parenting adventures in the great outdoors" David Sobel describes how to incorporate nature into family activities. For an overview of environmental writings, check out the anthology "American Earth: environmental writing since Thoreau."

--Jennifer A., Headquarters

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