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Rachel Carson Environment Essay

Essay Topic:

“The Influence and Growth of the Environmental Movement“ In today’s fast-paced society, people seem to ignore one of the most important factors of why we are alive: planet earth! It provides us with water, “fresh” air, and a limited supply of natural resources. Mother earth has been a gracious host but it seems as if humans might be overstaying their visit. Modern day greedy businessmen try to squeeze every last drop of juice from earth.

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But soon, the earth will be all dried up with no more juice to offer.

Fortunately, thanks to the work of many environmentalists all around the world from the present day, the world may be able to recover from all its injuries caused by the insatiable human race. Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring”, which spurred the environmental movement, helped raise awareness for the environment, warn humans of the dangers of using pesticides such as DDT, preserve several plant and animal species, and make the atmosphere cleaner Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which was published in 1962, was undoubtedly a critical turning point in history which prompted attention to environmental issues.

Some say that Carson’s book was a “marker for the beginning of the modern American environmental movement” (Geary). Carson was a revolutionary and had an astounding influential power. Silent Spring highlighted many of the damages done to the environment by the use of pesticides (Kelly). This of course, attracted many scientists to begin researching the issue but had other benefits as well. Her work was so intriguing and influential that “the vibrations of [her] work resounded not only in academia but in the mind of the public as well” (Kelly).

Truly, Carson’s concerns caught the attention of many people, both scientists and the public. Because of her efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 (Kelly). Rachel Carson spearheaded the Environmental campaign and helped raise awareness about the growing risks of damages caused to the environment. In addition to the growth of awareness during the environmental movement, some dangers to animal life also grew. In her book, Rachel Carson explores the effects of pesticides.

The most famous of these was dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), which had been used to control pest insects, like mosquitoes and lice, in many countries (“The Environmental Movement”). Although Carson warned of the dangers of using these long-lasting pesticides, some insisted on the continuation of their usage. Farmers liked DDT because it helped to control insect damage to their crops (“The Environmental Movement”). Obviously, there are effects to the use of such pesticides. Carson explains that, overtime, DDT and other long-lasting pesticides had become part of the food chain.

This is due to “the chemicals, remaining on plants and  water after sprayings, were ingested by small animals, which were then eaten by larger animals, including humans” (“The Environmental Movement”). Carson definitely foresaw the dangers of using pesticides towards animal life and had a kind heart towards the lives of those several animal species that were being affected. She pointed out that these pesticides killed not only harmful insects like mosquitoes but also the ones that were innocent, such as bees, fish, and birds (“The Environmental Movement”).

The environmental movement helped to preserve numerous species on planet earth. The earth is home to a vast variety of plants and animals. But, even with the slightest change to the environment, can completely devastate an ecosystem (“The Environmental Movement”). Protecting and preserving this rich animal life on earth was an important part of the environmental movement. In fact, “one of the most significant issues of the environmental movement has been the fight to protect animal and plant species from becoming extinct” (“The Environmental Movement”).

This concern for animal extinction and preservation had several positive effects. For example, Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966 in hopes of lowering the extinction rate (“The Environmental Movement”). This law was a huge improvement for animal extinction rights and preservation. However, this law only applied to fish and wildlife, and only to species native to the United States (“The Environmental Movement”). A few years later, another law would be passed to further help the preservation efforts.

This law was The Endangered Species Conservation Act, passed in 1969, which broadened coverage to offer greater protection to larger numbers of animals (“The Environmental Movement”). Another law passed in 1973, the Endangered Species Act, further strengthened protections for endangered species. This law helped define the term ‘endangered’ species as “one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” (“The Environmental Movement”). With the help of many federal agencies, combined with the efforts of other organizations as the World Wildlife Fund, a significant impact was made to elp preserve the lives of several plant and animal species throughout the environmental movement. During the environmental movement, some environmental hazards became the focus of attention and posed a severe threat to planet earth’s well-being. An important focal point of the environmental movement was global warming. Global warming is the warming of the earth’s climate due to the increase of harmful gases caused by human activity—such as carbon dioxide, methane, and CFCs (“The Environmental Movement”).

One of the ways to decrease greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions is to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are oils that are created inside the earth but that are not renewable— which include coal, natural gas, and oil CFCs (“The Environmental Movement”). The process of extracting these fossil fuels can be dangerous and devastating. Mining for coal can have a devastating impact on the landscape, leaving scars like deep holes and mountains with their tops shaved off as well as produce toxic waste that pollutes waterways (“The Environmental Movement”).

There are drastic results that can occur to the burning of fossil fuels. The danger in burning natural gas results in emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane (“The Environmental Movement”). Of course, fossil fuels are an important cause in pollution, but another factor comes from the daily life of humans. Humans use their cars as an everyday transportation method but, the truth is, that it also increasing the CO2 levels in the air. Another factor of pollution comes from deforestation. Deforestation is the clearing of forests in order to make room for new development projects.

Unfortunately, the logging of forests also results in increases in carbon dioxide (“The Environmental Movement”). Clearly, the world would be much cleaner if it weren’t for all these damaging emissions from gasses and fossil fuels. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, helped to spearhead the important environmental movement that would change the way people look at the environment forever. Through her efforts, she was able to give people knowledge about the environment, warn humans of the risks of using harmful pesticides, protect many different plant and animal species, and, most importantly, make the earth a healthier place to live.

Maybe if humans work together a little harder, they might be able to keep the earth juicy for just a view more centuries. Environmental activist Rachel Carson speaks in favor of curbing the use of chemical pesticides and the aerial spraying of crops, before a Senate subcommittee on June 4, 1963. AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION. (“Silent Spring”) A fogger machine sprays the pesticide DDT through residential streets while people watch from their porches in 1949. At one time, people thought that DDT was not harmful to humans, only to disease-causing insects.

The Library of Congress. (“The Environmental Movement”) Bibliography Durbin, Paul T. “Conservation and Preservation. ” Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Ed. Carl Mitcham. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 418- 420. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. “The Environmental Movement. ” American Social Reform Movements Reference Library. Ed. Carol Brennan, et al. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2007. 151-190. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Nov. 2012 Geary, Daniel. “Environmental Movement.  Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 226-231. Gale Virtual Library. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. Kelly, Evelyn B. “The Rise of Environmental Science. ” Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 7: 1950 to Present. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 83-87. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. “Silent Spring. ” American Decades Primary Sources. Ed. Cynthia Rose. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 553-556. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. Silent Spring. ” Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Joyce Moss and George Wilson. Vol. 4: World War II to the Affluent Fifties (1940-1950s). Detroit: Gale, 1997. 337-342. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. Works Cited “The Environmental Movement. ” American Social Reform Movements Reference Library. Ed. Carol Brennan, et al. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2007. 151-190. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. Geary, Daniel. “Environmental Movement.  Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 226-231. Gale Virtual Library. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. Kelly, Evelyn B. “The Rise of Environmental Science. ” Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 7: 1950 to Present. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 83-87. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. “Silent Spring. ” American Decades Primary Sources. Ed. Cynthia Rose. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 553-556. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

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