The book ‘Silent spring’ by Rachael Carson can interpreted as an embodiment of Carson’s deep conventional conceptions in regard to natures balance and the web of life. For approximately a period of thirty years after its publication ‘Silent Spring’ has come to be acknowledged as a book that evoked the ominous image of the dangers of DDT as well as the general concept of pesticides on ecological life forms (McGillivray pp 25). In fact it is recognized as an important icon of change that led to the beginning of the United States Environmental Movement back in the 1960’s. The books major argument is based on the fact that the unexamined and uncontrolled use of pesticides narrowing down to DDT was a harmful and killing danger that not only affected the birds that it heavily presents a case on but also on humans. Just looking at its title is enough to communicate that it was an evocation of a spring season with no birdsongs coloring the environment as implied by the fact that all birds had vanished on account of the abuse of pesticides.
Some scholars claim that Carson was happiest when writing about the resilience and strengths of natural systems. Apart from ‘Silent Spring’ other works that demonstrate his passion towards this subject include ‘Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us in addition to The Edge of the Sea which consisted of hymns which explored the interconnectedness of living things and natural ecosystems or nature. Although Carson rarely uses the term nature in her works Carson is known to...
hold an ecological take on nature in which she describes using poetic yet precise language the complexities that characterize the web of life (McGillivray pp 25). This is most especially the ones that link the mollusks to birds of the sea in addition to the fish that thrive in the deepest and inaccessible parts of the oceans. The above characterizes the take that she pursues in this particular book.
In this light, on the basis of which she criticizes DDT, Carson considered DDT as the world’s most powerful pesticide known to expose ‘the vulnerability of nature (Carson pp 29)’. Unlike other pesticides that were only believed to bear harmful effects to a few insects, DDT had the capability of destroying hundred different kinds at the same time. When it was first introduced for civilian usage as a pesticide only a few were concerned about it negative effects. Edwin Way Teale a nature writer warned against how pesticides such as DDT could upset nature economy. He cited that ninety percent of the insects found in nature are good and killing them would create an imbalance in nature. Rachael Carson also presented her views in the readers digest but they were quickly brushed off. She later expressed his views on the issue using his book ‘Silent Spring’ which to some was not greeted with a good welcome.
The Message contained in Carson’s book is beautifully and very vividly delivered using a very effective style and there is no doubt that it has a lot of enhancements from the substantial reputation of Carson as a writer
and scientist. The books initial arrival came soon after the revelation that Thalidomide as a tranquilizer was a major contributor to bird defects which hence adds to the impact that the book served to achieve. Carson hence had done what many authors had been unable to achieve. This is tying the diverse information facets in regard to the abuse of pesticides to the ubiquitous exposure, environmental impacts and biological magnifications into a single story that was easily understandable and readable by a general public which is not in any way steeped by science.
One very impelling and famous chapter is “A Fable for Tomorrow,” much criticized for its fictional account in literary terms which resembles a Gothic tale. It talks about a town where all life seemed to be harmonious with the environment until a ‘strange blight (Carson pp 45)’ befalls the town as well as its country side, famed for its abundantly varied bird life, and all birds disappear. This description helps the writer to get a firm grip on doom that is to befall the town which helps the reader to anticipate the message. This omnipresent prophesy of unfolding danger compel the readers attention to wards the message
When the ‘Silent Spring’ received its first publication in 1962 it attracted to its self a storm of controversies in regard to the use if pesticides.The message was so clear, to warn the general public on the adverse negative effects lying in the use of pesticides. Through out the book, Carson cites numerous case studies that document the ill effects of pesticides on the environment. This are reinforced with facts explaining, citing many instances, on how pesticides have done less good than harm in the eradication of pesticides for which it had been designed to eliminate (Lytle pp 98). She also makes it so clear that out of the many ill effects which are long term that pesticides are known to attract towards the environment and even human being, ‘many more still remain unknown (Carson pp 79)’. As one of her critiques wrote, this book dealt a major blow to the pesticide industry. This controversy is what triggered the enactment of the legislation on environment in addition to government agencies that were established to regulate pesticide use.
To focus on our main argument Carson’s book as highlighted earlier is heavily influenced by his deep conventional conceptualization of natures balance as tied to the web of life. Carson’s nature can be best described as a fanatic defendant of a cult of nature balance which comes as the central metaphor of the whole body of work (Lear pp 120). Carson nature in writing this book which can be described as highly integrated and priced is characterized by a relation of mutual benefit and interdependence as well as the regulating balances and checks on the environment. This was a new ecological scientific rendition that depicts the concept of nature economy which can be dated back to antiquity.
This balance of nature can be attributed to providing Carson with a norm that can form a basis on which the interference of humans on the environment could be assessed
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