American marine biologist, Rachel Louise Carson was the author of Silent Spring, a groundbreaking book that is nationally credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Other books on conservation by Rachel Carson include Under The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, and Witness for Nature. She was also the author or numerous articles, one of which was deemed too good for the publication it was intended for, and turned into one of her award-winning books.
Rachel started her career as an aquatic biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Her environmental attention turned to conservation and she fought to bring environmental concerns to the attention of the American people. She was born in 1907 on a small family farm in Pennsylvania. An avid reader as a child, she began writing stories as young as eight years old. Her first story was published when she was only ten in St. Nicholas Magazine. She graduated at the top of her high school class in 1925. She went on to attend Pennsylvania College for Women (today known as Chatham University), where she graduated magna cum laude in 1929 with a degree in Biology. She continued her studies at Johns Hopkins University, earning a graduate degree in Zoology in 1932.
When her father died suddenly, she left school, where she had been pursuing a doctorate, to financially support her aging mother. Shortly thereafter, her sister died, leaving her as the sole source of support for her two nieces as well. Her responsibilities at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries were to analyze and report field data on fish populations. This research led to a series of articles for several newspapers. She continued writing, publishing her first book in 1941. She went on to write a series of articles, expanding a number of them into the book, Under the Sea Wind. Following this with the publication of The Edge of The Sea, her reputation was firmly established.
Finally, her bestselling book, Silent Spring, was published in 1962. This environmental science book detailed the harmful effects haphazard use of pesticides has on the environment. This book is widely accepted as having given root to the environmental movement in the US. Having been concerned about industrial chemicals as early as the 1940s, she accused chemical plants of recklessness and governing agencies of overlooking the potential dangers.
For her work in advocating for clean air and a healthy environment for everyone, Rachel Carson received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences (US & Canada), National Book Award for Nonfiction, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded posthumously in 1980).
A proponent of environmental safety and responsibility, responsible use of pesticides, and clean water, she famously said, “But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” Rachel Carson is more than a role model for women. She is largely responsible for creating the awareness of green living that still exists today. Her legacy has an everyday impact on men, women, boys, and girls in every part of the US.