Modern Environmentalism In Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

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Silent Spring, loud

It is generally agreed that modern environmentalism begins with ‘A Fable for Tomorrow’, the first chapter in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). The fairytale-like opening to the book begins with the words, ‘There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings’, painting a classic pastoral picture where she describes civilization far from modern ills coexisting with nature yet away from the perceived danger of the wild. However pastoral peace swiftly gives way to destruction- 'Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community: mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens; the cattle and sheep
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But according to John Passmore, the author of Man's Responsibility of Nature, 'problem of ecology' is different from 'ecological problem'. The former is a scientific problem as we see it, as we prove it and as we research it. While the latter is "a feature of our society, arising out of our dealings with nature, from which we should like to free ourselves, and which we do not regard as inevitable consequences of what is good in society". Carson uses this device of ecological problem to argue if 'weed' and 'pest', as we call it, is actually a problem or a societal construction. She questions the negative connotation given to these insects and plants and weighs if it is worth risking human life and wildlife to eliminate this 'ecological problem', that strikingly seems manmade to…show more content…
Although the book, somewhere, looks at the environment through a human centric approach. This can be conspicuously noticed in chapter 8: And No Bird Sings where Carson writes about the disappearance of robin and complaints made by people regarding the lack of birds ornamenting the trees and the beauty that it brings along. The chapter falls short of emphasizing that elements in nature belong not just to please the human eye but to be part of the intricate web of nature. Some parts of nature may not be aesthetically appealing but still plays a significant role in the ecosystem it belongs to. Carson does provide this perspective in the chapters discussing weed but fails to do so in chapter
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