Remembering Silver Spring's Rachel Carson, Environmental Pioneer | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Remembering Silver Spring's Rachel Carson, Environmental Pioneer

Play associated audio
The Rachel Carson House, a National Historic Landmark in the neighborhood of Quaint Acres in Silver Spring.
Jonathan Wilson/WAMU
The Rachel Carson House, a National Historic Landmark in the neighborhood of Quaint Acres in Silver Spring.
Rachel Carson's study, where she did much of her research and writing. (Jonathan Wilson/WAMU)

In a two-story rambler, conservationist Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, which is widely considered one of the greatest environmental books ever published. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Carson’s death, and to learn more about her life and impact, Environment reporter Jonathan Wilson visited Carson’s former home to talk with Diana Post, a co-owner of the property.

Why Silent Spring remains relevant:

“It was the genesis of the modern environmental movement — the fountainhead, so to speak. It from it grew the EPA. The EPA was founded in 1970, and as a result – they themselves acknowledge — of Silent Spring. So there was a great deal of activity and environmental activity and legislation — The Clean Water Act, The Clean Air Act, The Endangered Species Act — all were emerging in the decades after Silent Spring published.”

Carson’s day-to-day life in Maryland:

“We know that she was a workaholic-type person. She loved work, she loved research and she loved poring over facts and making them understandable to the public. And this is what she devoted four years to writing Silent Spring to — in this house, in either her study, or when she wasn't feeling well [Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1960], in her bedroom.”

Exposing the dangers of pesticides:

“[The public and the agriculture industry] were in awe of the new bright shiny toys that they had to control weeds, to control insects: DDT, 24D, and some of the others. And they didn't really have enough of the negative information about these chemicals, and the field of toxicology was just emerging, and Rachel Carson contributed to its success... So when she wrote Silent Spring, they realized that they needed to look around, read labels, find alternatives or risk possible harm — possibly cancer or other untoward effects.”

Music: "Younger Than Springtime" by Ray Conniff from The Broadway Collection

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, May 27, 2015

Life is hard, confusing, funny and devastating. You can see two plays that focus on characters who are just trying to figure things out.

NPR

How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity

Perhaps no one did more to show us the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photos of farm workers and others have become iconic of the era.
NPR

Santorum Hopes To Catch Lightning In A Bottle A Second Time

The former Pennsylvania senator, who won Iowa in 2012, hopes he can do it again. But with a more crowded field, he might find it difficult to stand out.
NPR

How Will The Next President Protect Our Digital Lives?

For the first time in a White House race, the candidates will need a game plan for cyber policy for Day 1 in the Oval Office and will have some tough choices to make.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.