Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 - April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
(Carson was born in Springdale, a suburb of Pittsburgh.
Click to visit the Rachel Carson Homestead website.)
But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity.
Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man's future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.
How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.
In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.
In nature nothing exists alone.
It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.
Nature has introduced great variety into the landscape, but man has displayed a passion for simplifying it. Thus he undoes the built-in checks and balances by which nature holds the species within bounds.
One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew i would never see it again?'
Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species- man- acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.
The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.
The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.
The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.
The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth, are never alone or weary of life.
Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is- whether its victim is human or animal- we cannot expect things to be much better in this world.
We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature.
Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?
(Today is also the birthday of Henry Kissinger.)