Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27 - Rachel Carson

Marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907, near Pittsburgh. After earning a Master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins, she became a scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1930s and served as editor-in-chief of all its publications. As a full-time writer she wrote the bestseller The Sea Around Us (1951), then focused on environmental destruction caused by synthetic pesticides. She had long hoped someone else would publish an exposé on DDT but realized only she had the background and the freedom to do it. In 1962 she published Silent Spring after years of research in the United States and Europe. Her landmark book was fiercely attacked by chemical companies, including DuPont, but it led to a reversal in U.S. pesticide policy and a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It also helped to inspire a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970). Carson died of breast cancer in 1964.

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