You may be surprised at what the Rachel Carsons of our world can teach us. Although the late Rachel Carson (1907–1964) is not around to comment on today’s crises, she and her successors still help. Carson was a biologist who revered the myriad expressions of life in the natural world. She informed a global public about the chemical industry’s unregulated use of pesticides—products such as DDT that damage the web of life. As a result, use of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a synthetic insecticide that disorganizes nervous systems) began to be restricted and in the 1970s many countries banned it.
Rachel Carson valued nature so much that neither the anger of the chemical industry nor her fight with breast cancer could stop her from publishing her landmark book Silent Spring, in 1962. She succumbed to her illness eighteen months later, yet the book became a bestseller. It inspires Earth stewards today. What would she say to our youth who fear for their future?