Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

Rachel
Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson
1907
1964

American Conservationist, Marine Biologist and Author, best known for advancing the Global Environmental Movement and for her book "Silent Spring "

Author Quotes

The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth ? soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.

To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.

By long tradition, the agencies responsible for these resources have been directed by men of professional stature and experience, who have understood, respected, and been guided by the findings of their scientists.

For many years public-spirited citizens throughout the country have been working for the conservation of the natural resources, realizing their vital importance to the Nation. Apparently their hard-won progress is to be wiped out, as a politically minded Administration returns us to the dark ages of unrestrained exploitation and destruction.

It is one of the ironies of our time that, while concentrating on the defense of our country against enemies from without, we should be so heedless of those who would destroy it from within.

About the book, I sometimes have a feeling (maybe 100% wishful thinking) that perhaps this long period away from active work will give me the perspective that was so hard to attain, the ability to see the woods in the midst of the confusing multitude of trees.

After Roger was asleep I took Jeffie [Carson?s cat] into the study and played the Beethoven violin concerto ? one of my favorites, you know. And suddenly the tensions of four years were broken and I got down and put my arms around Jeffie and let the tears come. With his little warm, rough tongue he told me that he understood. I think I let you see last summer what my deeper feelings are about this when I said I could never again listen happily to a thrush song if I had not done all I could. And last night the thoughts of all the birds and other creatures and the loveliness that is in nature came to me with such a surge of deep happiness, that now I had done what I could ? I had been able to complete it ? now it had its own life!

I know you dread the unpleasantness that will inevitably be associated with [the book?s] publication. That I can understand, darling. But it is something I have taken into account; it will not surprise me! You do know, I think, how deeply I believe in the importance of what I am doing. Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent? It is, in the deepest sense, a privilege as well as a duty to have the opportunity to speak out ? to many thousands of people ? on something so important.

It seems reasonable to believe ? and I do believe ? that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.

Last night about 9 o?clock the phone rang and a mild voice said, ?This is William Shawn.? If I talk to you tonight you will know what he said and I?m sure you can understand what it meant to me. Shamelessly, I?ll repeat some of his words ? ?a brilliant achievement? ? ?you have made it literature? ?full of beauty and loveliness and depth of feeling.? ? I suddenly feel full of what Lois once called ?a happy turbulence.?

Mostly, I feel fairly good but I do realize that after several days of concentrated work on the book I?m suddenly no good at all for several more. Some people assume only physical work is tiring ? I guess because they use their minds little! Fridaynight ? my exhaustion invaded every cell of my body, I think, and really kept me from sleeping well all night.

Sometimes ? I want [the book] to be a much shortened and simplified statement, doing for this subject (if this isn?t too presumptuous a comparison) what Schweitzer did in his Nobel Prize address for the allied subject of radiation.

The other day someone asked Leonard Bernstein about his inexhaustible energy and he said ?I have no more energy than anyone who loves what he is doing.? Well, I?m afraid mine has to be recharged at times, but anyway I do seem just now to be riding the crest of a wave of enthusiasm and creativity, and although I?m going to bed late and often rising in very dim light to get in an hour of thinking and organizing before my household stirs, my weariness seems easily banished.

This is a book about man?s war against nature, and because man is part of nature it is also inevitably a book about man?s war against himself.

When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence ? it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half-truth.

How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?

Mankind has gone very far into an artificial world of his own creation. He has sought to insulate himself, in his cities of steel and concrete, from the realities of earth and water and the growing seed. Intoxicated with a sense of his own power, he seems to be going farther and farther into more experiments for the destruction of himself and his world. There is certainly no single remedy for this condition and I am offering no panacea. But it seems reasonable to believe ? and I do believe ? that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.

The most alarming of all man?s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world?the very nature of its life.

When we review the history of mankind in relation to the earth we cannot help feeling somewhat discouraged, for that history is for the most part that of the blind or short-sighted despoiling of the soil, forests, waters and all the rest of the earth's resources. We have acquired technical skills on a scale undreamed of even a generation ago. We can do dramatic things and we can do them quickly; by the time damaging side effects are apparent it is often too late, or impossible, to reverse our actions. These are unpleasant facts, but they have given rise to the disturbing situations that this committee has now undertaken to examine.

A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.

I am always more interested in what I am about to do than in what I have already done.

Man's future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.

The ocean is a place of paradoxes.

Who has decided ? who has the right to decide ? for the countless legions of people who were not consulted that the supreme value is a world without insects, even though it be also a sterile world ungraced by the curving wing of a bird in flight. The decision is that of the authoritarian temporarily entrusted with power; he has made it during a moment of inattention by millions to whom beauty and the ordered world of nature still have a meaning that is deep and imperative.

A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods. I always thought so myself; the Maine woods never seem so fresh and alive as in wet weather. Then all the needles on the evergreens wear a sheath of silver; ferns seem to have grown to almost tropical lushness and every leaf has its edging of crystal drops. Strangely colored fungi ? mustard-yellow and apricot and scarlet ? are pushing out of the leaf mold and all the lichens and the mosses have come alive with green and silver freshness.

Author Picture
First Name
Rachel
Last Name
Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson
Birth Date
1907
Death Date
1964
Bio

American Conservationist, Marine Biologist and Author, best known for advancing the Global Environmental Movement and for her book "Silent Spring "