The life of Rachel Carson, American marine biologist and environmentalist
She changed mankind’s relationship with nature, questioned the agricultural and scientific practices of her time and left her mark on the 20th century. This is the story of Rachel Carson.
One of the most important figures in the ecologist fight
She changed mankind’s relationship with nature, questioned the agricultural and scientific practices of her time and left her mark on the 20th century. This is the story of Rachel Carson, one of the most important figures in the ecological fight.
She was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania
In this small American town overlooking a river, she discovered her passion for the natural world. That was it: she would be a marine biologist. She began her studies at the marine biology laboratory in Woods Hole, the oldest in the country, before obtaining a masters in zoology from Johns Hopkins University at the age of 25. During the 1930s, she wrote for various publications, as well as the “US Bureau of Fisheries.” In 1940, this agency was reorganized and became the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the main department responsible for wildlife conservation.
Over the decade, she continued her research and received various promotions within the department
She also began to take an interest in the impact of DDT, which in 1939 became the first pesticide to be widely used. Aged 34, she published her first book, “Under the Sea Wind,” followed 10 years later by “The Sea Around Us.” The fruit of her research and expeditions in the 1940s, the book was highly acclaimed: it won the prestigious National Book Award in the non-fiction category and spent 32 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In 1951, she resigned from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to devote herself entirely to writing
At 48, she published “The Edge of the Sea,” the third installment of her ocean trilogy. This trilogy, combining scientific knowledge and poetic writing revolutionized the American public’s relationship with the marine world. During the 1950s, she became a fervent critic of the excessive use of pesticides, despite the increasing awareness of their impact on biodiversity and the various controversies surrounding them.
Aged 55, she published her most important work: “Silent Spring,” a bestseller documenting the catastrophic impact of pesticides on nature and mankind
During the 1960s, the book became a reference point for the modern ecologist movements that had begun to emerge. After John F. Kennedy read the book, the American administration began to pursue a stricter policy on pesticides. In June 1963, she testified before the Senate, demanding they limit the use of pesticides. On April 14, 1964, at 58 years old, Rachel Carson died of breast cancer. On January 31, 1972, the use of DDT was banned in the United States. On June 9, 1980, Rachel Carson received Posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
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