Dr. John Hollins, past Chair CACOR Board, adapted a CACOR-Discussion posting by Dr. Nicole M0rgan, 2018-09-05
What would it take to really make America great again?
A message from Rachel Carson for America in 2018 *
Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) was an American marine biologist who wrote a book in 1962 entitled “Silent Spring”. This book addressed the effects of pollution on the natural world, in particular the effects of DDT. Her insights and understanding captured the attention of citizens and governments in the western world and catalyzed the creation of ministries of environment in many countries, including Environment Canada and the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.
A new book reviews her writings from half a century ago (Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson). It reminds us of the fragility of nature in the face of a US administration ready to mindlessly exploit its natural resources for commercial and political gain.
With an eye to what it would take to really “make America great again”, Carson wrote:
The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth — soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.
By long tradition, the agencies responsible for these resources have been directed by men of professional stature and experience, who have understood, respected, and been guided by the findings of their scientists.
A century after Walt Whitman remarked in his abiding treatise on democracy that “America, if eligible at all to downfall and ruin, is eligible within herself, not without,” Carson adds a remark of searing prescience:
It is one of the ironies of our time that, while concentrating on the defense of our country against enemies from without, we should be so heedless of those who would destroy it from within.