Rachel Carson


Nature lovers the world over ushered this week in with Earth Day 2019, so we’re keeping the celebrations alive with stories about #HistoryHeroes who made it their life’s work to Save the Planet. Today we highlight a woman who was an ecologist before that was even a thing: Rachel Carson. Her groundbreaking work (no pun intended) called into question the age-old assumption that “man” could master nature.

Carson grew up in awe of the marine world. Her first three books, written in the 1940s and 50s, were biographies of the seas, drenched in wonder at the miracle of life in, around, and under water. She studied islands, currents, how marine species interact, and how temperature affects water habitats. As she studied, she learned; as she learned, she wrote with a desire to teach. She came to recognize, even in the 50s and 60s, that rising sea-levels and melting glaciers, collapsing bird and animal populations were all linked to human mis-management and abuse of the environment.

A gifted writer, Carson raised the consciousness of a generation, demonstrating how vital natural ecosystems are to human survival, and warning of the dangers — to all beings, including humans — of the misuse of chemicals, fossil-fuels, air and space travel, war and bombs.

Carson embraced an ethos of taking care of our planet in order to take care of ourselves. As such, she could be — should be — considered the mother of environmentalism and today’s sustainability movement.

Carson's fourth book, Silent Spring, reveals how in post-World-War II society governments and industry sullied Mother Earth like never before. From the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture to the unmitigated rise in the use of fossil fuels to toxic dumping in the oceans and spewing pollutants into the skies, the later half of the 20th Century was not a happy time for our planetary home.

Asking, can “man” control nature? Carson answer, Yes. But only at “his” peril. She urged the public to "question authority" and fight for the rights of those with no voice: earth's non-human creatures.

Rachel Carson stood up for the rights of the planet even before science proved we must. Now we know, we have no time to lose. This makes Carson a true visionary and 20th Century revolutionary. That's why she's a Time Traveler Tours & Tales #HistoryHero. We are grateful to Erzsi Deak of Oregon, USA and Forqualquier, France, for nominating her.

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 destruction.
— Rachel Carson

Who's your #HistoryHero?

Do you know of a #visionary who saw the truth before anyone else did? Nominate them for HistoryHero BLAST in the comments below.