science

Axe-in-Hand

In this essay from the “November” section of A Sand County Almanac, a reflective Leopold is at his most philosophical. One is reminded of Thoreau hoeing his beans in Walden as Leopold describes the decision process that lies behind which… Read More ›

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 ›