This Land — Abbey, Carson, and Leopold

Silent Spring Critique

Silent Spring is a very tight argument against the indiscriminate and unregulated use of pesticides, especially insecticides, particularly DDT. Carson’s argument, in fact, is so tight, so well constructed, that the book is extremely difficult to excerpt without losing a… Read More ›

The Other Road

  Carson is nearly swept away in her veneration of poisons coming out of the biologist’s laboratory rather than the chemist’s — especially the andricides — but she recovers to emphasize natural, non-violent methods of insect control, finally leaving us… Read More ›

Nature Fights Back

We learn of our failure to eradicate insect pests through the use of broad-spectrum chemicals; how, in fact, these same chemicals have often worsened the problem or created new ones. We are then introduced to non-violent biological controls, now known… Read More ›

One in Every Four

Carson presents one of the earliest broad treatments of environmental causes of cancer. She was, herself, suffering from breast cancer while writing this text, though she does not reveal the fact. Read “One in Every Four” in Silent Spring by… Read More ›

Elixirs of Death

Set your time machine for the early 1960s and get ready to take notes for what is likely the most easily understood chemistry lecture ever delivered. Professor Carson is at the lectern—the world is her classroom. Read “Elixirs of Death”… Read More ›

Under the Sea Wind Critique

Rachel Carson introduced herself as an ecologist and a writer through publication of “Undersea.” The article met with considerable success and she was encouraged to develop her ideas into a book-length work. The result was Under the Sea Wind, a… Read More ›

Return

We travel full circle — a year, a generation of eels — to feel the rhythms of life syncopated by the rhythms of other species, then step back to observe the larger rhythms of the Earth itself. Read “Return” in… Read More ›

Seine Haul

Carson takes us to the top of the food chain as we participate in the efforts of a fishing crew intent on netting a school of feeding mackerel. We go below to swim with the prey, only to discover a… Read More ›