Fifty Years ago today Houton Mifflin published Silent Spring, an environmental classic that has had more far reaching effects on Civilization than any other American documents (excepting, of course, the Bill of Rights, Constitution and Emancipation Proclamation). I know that when I read this as a 13 year old (everyone in my extended family read it in heated sequence--I was the last back then) I was transfixed, and I suspect that my career path was likely deflected significantly by that book.
Most middle aged and older Americans can remember the firestorm of denunciation Rachel received by the hitherto largely free-wheeling pesticide industry. The enormous power of her pen and her determination has produced shock waves that have not only restored countless animal populations and led to much cleaner water and air for all of us to drink and breathe, it reinvigorated--nay! it catapulted the entire environmental movement worldwide.
The America that I love and honor is the one that generates the likes of Jefferson, Lincoln, John Muir, Thoreau, Rachel Carson and Michael Pollan. I take this fatidic opportunity to give my thanks to that tradition, and honor the Queen of American environmentalism--to whom we all (not to mention the birds and wildflowers) owe so much.