Rachel Carson Reflection


Environmental Studies


1.31.04



While watching the Rachel Carson and Silent Spring video three major ideas struck me as interesting. The first was the idea that some people actually believe that nature was created for us. In other words, we have free reign to control the environment in any way that we wish. This stance on the environment may not have been true of the people who created DDT because they may have been ignorant of the side effects. They might not have thought to thoroughly check what DDT did the environment and to people. This type of ignorance is present all throughout our society, a good example of this of is the cigarette business. Now, if these people who created DDT did in fact understand what they were doing to the environment and they chose to do nothing about it, that is purely unacceptable and I think that is the stance that Rachel Carson took. One thing that the companies that created DDT were guilty of was the idea of playing God through chemicals. I believe that even in the earliest days, we as a culture understood the fact that there were ecosystems. My reasoning behind this is the Bushman culture that we observed in the other video in the class. They grew to understand what overkill would do to the ecosystem that they lived in. This idea compared to the fact that we as a society are more advanced gives me clear reason to believe that the scientists knew that the eventual extinction of certain insects would cause a great rift in that ecosystem. Unfortunately, I am not educated enough to predict what that change in the ecosystem would be, but I’m sure that it would have a detrimental effect. While I’m talking about effects, I feel the need to briefly discuss the vast effect that Silent Spring had on the United States. I can assume that Rachel Carson thought her book would have a largely felt impact, but not as large of an impact that it did have. It is a reassuring thing to see that one small seemingly inconsequential person can greatly impact a nation’s thinking. Not only that, Silent Spring helped educate a country about something that would not have been uncovered unless much time was dedicated to it and also it educated the country about something that needed to be known. My feeling is that we need more people like Rachel Carson, who educate people about things that we have assumed or taken for granted in the past.