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Rachel Carson, “A Cry in the Wilderness that Changed the World”

By John Halstead

[Snip] In 1961, the Western world was witnessing an alarming decline in bird populations. Biologist Rachel Carson identified the cause: insecticides like DDT were poisoning food chains, from insects upwards. In her book, Silent Spring, Carson wrote:

“Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song. …

“These sprays, dusts, and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes — nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good” and the ‘bad,’ to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in soil — all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects. Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life? They should not be called ‘insecticides,’ but ‘biocides.’”

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