Tag Archives: Social Responsibility

Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”

This is my first book review for the Social Responsibility competency. I don’t know if I’ll actually use all of the books on my list for this competency, but I’m going to blog them so I can reference them in the future if appropriate for my required reflection papers.

Summary. Silent Spring was written in 1962 as a reaction and warning on the prevalent use of chemicals and pesticides such as DDT in the 1950s. Carson, a biologist, wrote at great personal cost about the effects of chemical sprays, dusts and aerosols applied to farms, gardens, forests and homes. Many of these effects were hidden by the powerful chemical companies. Chapters in the book describe the uses of chemicals and their effects on our surface waters, underground seas, the soil, plants and grasses, birds, fish, our food, children, farm workers, pesticide workers, and reproduction. In addition, Carson describes the ineffectiveness of non-selective chemicals, how parasites and insects surge in population after a treatment of chemicals. She offers alternatives to widespread overuse of non-selective chemicals, including using natural predators to control insects. PBS did a special on her in the 1990s, and what struck me is the voice of a lone woman against powerful chemical companies. That voice was heard and is often credited for the beginning of the environmental movement.

Reflections. I am personally interested in this book as I have run into references to it throughout my study of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Often research and articles on this topic reference Carson’s work. I wanted to get to the source; to read the first thoughts of a researcher in this area. We learned from Dr. Covrig in Roundtable summer 2007 that we should follow the roots & fruits of research. Carson’s work is definitely a “root” in the environmental movement and referenced in environmental illness studies as well.

From a leadership perspective, Rachel Carson is an inspiring role model. From her own biological research, she was convinced that something was wrong with current policy. In the face of incredible opposition, she published a book that shook the foundations of current agricultural practice. And policies changed as a result; the use of DDT was banned in the United States.

Some Questions Still Remaining

  • We still use pesticides, insecticides, weed killers, etc. How are they different from what Carson described?
  • What convictions do I have that I’m willing to stand up for as Carson did?
  • Why are chemicals still saturated through all of our lives – our bedding, our food, our cosmetics, our clothes, etc?
  • Are those investigating cancer examining potential causes and prevention from our environment?

Why Me, Lord?

Do you ever ask God, “why me?”

Yes, I know, sometimes we say, “why me, Lord?” when troubles and trials come to our lives. But I mean when good things happen. Do you ever ask, “Why did you bless me, Lord?” I do. “Why did you give me this idea, Lord? I already have enough work to do. Why is this latest idea so insistent in my brain? Why did you give me this opportunity? Why have circumstances turned out the way they have for good in my life?”

Deuteronomy 7: 7-8. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you.

Why does He love us? Why does He love me & bless me so much? Why have I been blessed with good things and success?  Certainly not to give me a big head. Certainly not because of my own worth. No! It’s because of His work!

Deuteronomy 4:5-8. “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

Do you ask the same questions? Maybe you should. Listen to The Chosen: Not a Big Head, But a Big Heart. And reference this study guide. Consider the blessings YOU’VE been given. Are you using them to be a blessing to others?