I certainly wouldn’t have known this except my Wisconsin phenology calendar pointed out today is Rachel Carson’s birthday. She would have been 115.
As a conservationist and nature writer, Carson is probably most known for her book Silent Spring, which led to regulating the synthetic pesticide DDT. Her extensive writings motivated the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and she’s often considered the “Mother of the Modern Environmental Movement.”
How fitting that Carson’s birthday would show on my calendar between the cricket frogs beginning their calls and the Black-eyed Susans starting to bloom. Contrary to the scientific thinking of her day, Carson maintained the ecological view that everything in nature is intertwined and necessary to one another. She was particularly outspoken against humans trying to control nature for their own benefit.
Carson’s idea that we—nature, species, humans—are all part of a greater system speaks strongly to me. Ours is a system created by and gifted to us from God. Yet it’s not ours to control. This idea that “in nature nothing exits alone” means all parts of nature are as important as the other. Each human is as important as another. Human rights extend far beyond our own personal rights. The greater system—God’s creation of nature, species and humans—has so much greater value than personal gain, money and power.
Looking for a good read?
Check out Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World. Author Andrea Barnet shows how four women of different generations and disciplines challenged the prevailing norms of the 1960s. Their contributions to social change benefit us still today. It’s an inspiring read and reminds us how we all have a place and responsibility in this world.