Long before Al Gore invented the Internet or made us aware of An Inconvenient Truth, a book was published that altered our awareness of the natural world and arguably founded modern ecology. On September 27, 1962 Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. It became an immediate best seller and has sold over two million copies.
Carson’s essential message was elemental, shocking and very pessimistic. Using the effects of DDT as her primary example, she argued that chemical and pesticide over use was ruining the environment and threatening human health. Her bottom line arguments were two-fold.
1) The Earth/environment is a sponge not a filter. What goes in stays in.
2) For every action there is a reaction. Once DDT or other pesticides enter the biosphere, they not only kill bugs, but they also make their way up the food chain to alter and infect crops, birds, animals, fish populations and eventually effect and endanger the health and long term viability of human beings. Here the warning was clear: “If humankind poisoned nature, nature would in turn poison humankind.”
At the time and even now, some of her critics accuse her of being a Luddite.