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Rachel Carson Report

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Rachel Carson

By Keilah Hildebrand

        Rachel Louise Carson is famous for using her writings to help the world advance toward the global environmental movement.  She was an American marine biologist, writer, and naturalist.  Although she has only written four books, she also has created magazine articles which have contributed to her many different writings.  She is known as one of the most influential people of the 20th century.  Rachel Carson was the first to alert the world to the environmental impact of fertilizers and pesticides, which has helped greatly preserve the world we live in.

        Rachel Carson was born May 27, 1907, in Springdale, Pennsylvania, along the Allegany River to Maria McLean and Robert Warden Carson. She was the youngest of three children. As a young girl, Carson enjoyed exploring the forests and streams that surrounded her farm. She also spent much of her time working on the farm. This helped her develop her love for nature. She was also a very dedicated writer and published her first story at only age eleven for St. Nicholas Magazine in 1918.

        Rachel Carson had a very vast education. While in her teen years she attended Parnassus High School in Kensington, Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors and at the top of her class of forty-four students. She received a scholarship to Pennsylvania College for Women (which is now known as Chatham University) in Pittsburg Pennsylvania. She majored in English with the ambition of becoming a teacher. However, she ended up switching her profession to biology, influenced by her professor Mary Scott Skinker. Carson graduated in 1929. She won a summer scholarship at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Maryland. Subsequently, Carson then received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

Carson’s career was full of writing and lots of scientific research. During the Depression, she was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts, and she gained her income from writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun. Although the income was small, it still supported her. In 1944 Carson gets promoted to Information Specialist in the Information Division of FWS. She then became the editor in chief for all of the publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles. But in her free time, Carson turned all of her government research into writings of her own. She started by writing an article called “Undersea” for Atlantic Monthly, which soon turned into a book called Under the Sea-Wind. In 1951 Carson’s manuscript for The Sea Around Us gets sold to Oxford University Press. After that, Carson went on to write three other books.

Concerned by the reckless use of artificial chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long-term effects of misusing pesticides. In one of her books, Silent Spring (1962), she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government. She called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world. The chemical industry attacked Carson and other in government as an alarmist, but she bravely spoke out to remind us that humans are a weak part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. In 1963, testifying before congress, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment.

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