Rachel Carson: Humanizing Nature
Rachel Carson was instrumental in changing the way the world viewed conservation. Her initial written works demonstrated the idea that humans were not the center of the earth’s ecosystems by describing the environment from the viewpoint of non-human creatures (Cafaro, 2011, para. 45-48). Carson’s most eminent publication, Silent Spring, was released at the beginning of the 1960s (Cafaro, 2011, para. 25). The book advocated Carson’s concept of enlightened anthropocentrism through the insistence that new scientific innovations should be questioned as to why, whether, and for what purpose they are put into practice (Walker & Walsh, 2012, p.19). Another issue sparked by Silent Spring regarded whether humans should alter nature for our purposes or attempt to leave it unchanged (Cafaro, 2011, para. 67). Silent Spring helped to spark a national debate about scientific responsibility, limitations on advances in technology, and chemical pesticides in general (Lear, 2013, p. 1). The fact that her arguments stimulated such intense discussion is a testimony to how influential she truly was. Furthermore, Silent Spring led to the banning of dichlorodiphenyltricholoroethane (DDT) production by 1972, along with the implementation of government regulations to safeguard the environment (Hecht, 2012, p. 154; Lear, 2013, p. 1). Carson also made individuals realize that what they put into the environment must be regulated in order to keep the effects from haunting them for generations to come. This undeniable truth continues to resonate today.