I am so glad I was born well after Silent Spring was written and listened to. I got to grow up with the knowledge of the overarching theme of this book and the benefits that came from it. While there are still poisonous pesticides and fertilizers in use out there today, they are far fewer in prevalence than it sounds like back then and I know many of the chemicals mentioned have been banned in the US. Of course, I also know that companies have a way of going around them or doing what they want anyway, but still. I’m pretty sure I’m still better off now than in the time that Carson was writing when it comes to the wholesale release of pollutants into every single part of our environment. Maybe I’m wrong.
I’d been meaning to read Silent Spring for some time, having first heard of it from Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World, but this year’s Read Harder Challenge gave me the perfect opportunity. It’s a perfect choice for #6, a book about nature. Having read Silent Spring now, or listened to the audiobook actually, I get how it launched the environmental movement. That these poisons were unregulated and people were just doing whatever to see if it works is terrifying. Despite the time difference, I can’t help wonder what effect lingers and what effects do we still get through the water supply from the usage of other countries and what are we still putting out there illegally? As mentioned above, I was taught some of these things, like the concept of seepage, but never really understood where it all came from. This makes a lot of sense, and again, it’s terrifying.
Carson writes eloquently and is easy for the lay person to understand. She gives many examples of the things that go wrong and the times they have gone wrong and what we could have done better. She advocates for the environment using practical reasoning and careful study. She has seen what works and what doesn’t and is willing to weigh the cost with you. I loved everything about her work except that it needed to be written in the first place. There’s always more work to be done, too.
I found the audiobook version on Scribd, which was incredibly helpful for getting through Silent Spring. I feel like all the scientific terms and some of the bug names would have driven me crazy otherwise. The book was also available, in ebook form, from my local library, and is always available for purchase. To check a variety of options, click on the cover image for Booklikes and here for Goodreads.