silent spring: a cry for change 50 years in the making

silent spring

I recently downloaded the digital edition of Silent Spring onto my Kindle per the recommendation of Amazon, who included the astutely written critique of the conventional farming industry’s use of pesticides/insecticides/herbicides (referred to here as ‘chemicals’) in its list of top 100 must read books.

I was riveted from page 1. Rachel Carson, an ecologist who lived only a few years beyond the book’s publication in 1962, used evidence-based, scientifically-sound arguments to reveal how pollution, more specifically, the farming industry’s use of chemicals, is infecting our food, water supplies, and bodies with toxic chemicals. These chemicals, in effect, are causing irreversible damage by way of cancer, other diseases and death to people–both children and adults–farm animals and wildlife.

Some interesting points she makes that are now public knowledge about the chemicals used in conventional farming:

-Some synthetic chemicals were first discovered after World War II, when leftover gunpowder was found in laboratories to effectively kill insects. These same chemicals are still being used more than 50 years later to spray conventional farm crops.

– Numerous synthetic chemicals were discovered by the German scientist Gerhard Schrader. Some were used for lethal nerve gas during Nazi Germany, while others became farm crop insecticides.

-Toxins from these chemicals are stored in the body, and passed down from mother to infant, including in breast milk.

Ultimately, Carson argues that using synthetic chemicals in farming practices is harming people and the environment in irreversibly destructive ways.

At the time of publication, Carson was considered to be an alarmist. I see her argument as fact; indisputable fact. Silent Spring is an environmentalist’s manifesto. It’s a statement, a battle cry half-a century-old, about not only honoring the natural world, but about protecting our children. Who can argue with that?

P.S. Shop local. Go organic.