The Human intrusion towards the balance of Nature in Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring: A Review

Shreeja Ghanta & X. John Paul

VIT University, Vellore, Tamilnadu, India

Volume 8, Number 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF


This paper revisits Rachel Carson’s Silent Sprint in order to show how seminal the work has been in the wake of the global concerns over the climate changes and environemental disaster in our times. Carson’s focus was on the balance of nature and the web of life and she presented the horrible effects of the tremendous use of chemicals since World War II. She highlighted the impact and effects of DDT and chlorinated hydrocarbons to the world. Carson rightly marked that the chemicals are homicides rather than pesticides. Her work is celebrated worldwide because of her ability to foresee the future.

Keywords: Pesticides, nature, interdependence, balance, Environmentalism

“…man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. The rains have become an instrument to bring down from the atmosphere the deadly products of atomic explosions. Water, which is probably our most important natural resource, is now used and re-used with incredible recklessness.”Rachel Carson


Carson’s Silent Spring brought out much-needed environmental consciousness following the excessive use of harmful chemicals like the DDT. But the book also invited adverse reactions from the people of the chemical industrialist and she had made long preparation to repel such attacks. Carson was employed with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from 1936-1952. She knew the practices and policies that existed in her time. She understood that government leaders and industry were interested in creating sweeping changes, but she wondered if they did know the implications of their decisions pertaining to environment and mankind. Carson created legacy through her Silent Spring.

            In the late 1950’s with the Industrial Revolution booming, the era was exposed to the use of chemicals especially farming and agriculture was quite indebted to it. With the increase in the desire to control the pests, there were increase in the pesticide manufacturers which thus lead to the birth of DDT and other lethal chemicals. But all was not well with the boon of these chemicals. Birdwatchers saw the decline of birds, there was no more bird songs as reported by Olga Huckins to the editor of Herald in 1958…Full Text PDF

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