Rachel Carson (United States of America)

Rachel Carson is a famous American Marine Biologist. She is well known for preventing the production and abuse of DDT spraying. Besides being a scientist, she is also a novelist, written the famous “Ocean Trilogy”: Under the Sea, The Sea around Us and The Edge of the Sea, and also a book which has influenced people to raise concern on environment protection throughout a century, called Silent Spring.


Carson was born in 1907 in Pennsylvania. When she was young, she had the talent of writing when she was young and her academic performance was outstanding. She graduated at the first place and then she entered into the Pennsylvania College for Women (as known as the Chatham University today) and studied Literature and English at first. Afterwards, she met a biology professor who has changed her life and taught her a lot of biology knowledge about nature. Receiving great influence from the professor, Carson turned into studying Biology and graduated on it. Carson then received a scholarship from Johns Hopkins University, studied and graduated on master degree of zoology and genetics in 1929.


Carson aimed at further studying doctoral degree, however meanwhile her father has died and her family encountered financial difficulties. She then earned a position of junior aquatic biologist in U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in 1935, which she is the second female being employed from the Bureau in history.


When the time she was working in the Bureau, Carson did not give up her writing skills and she has gained a lot of knowledge on marine environment and published her first publication: Under the Sea. This book depicts birds and the ocean environment, combining the fascinating writing skills and rich scientific marine knowledge. This book has received mostly positive response but the sale was dissatisfied. Financial difficulties of Carson’s family had not been solved and Carson had once thought of giving up her writing career and continue with her writing publishing in magazine instead.


However, Carson received another opportunity to write her second book: The Sea Around Us. This book was a great hit and it has remained on the New York Times Best Seller List for 86 weeks and won the 1952 National Book Award for Nonfiction and a few more awards.


In 1955, she finished her the final series of the Ocean Trilogy: The Edge of the Sea, receiving excellent response as same as the previous episodes.


The most well-known story of Rachel Carson is her publication of Silent Spring, concerning the abuse usage of DDT. DDT is a pesticide used by the US government to eradicate insects to prevent malaria. However, the aerial spraying of DDT was found out to be toxic to land, animals and human. It caused massive birds extinction due to this and the food chain had been damaged. Moreover, DDT could also cause cancer in human body. Carson has criticized the use of DDT heavily in Silent Spring but the producer of DDT accused her of being a “hysteria women”. However, as the more and more of the disadvantages of DDT arose, in the 70s, US government has ordered to prohibit the production of DDT and most of the Western countries has followed to stop producing DDT. Carson’s work has contributed a lot to protect environment, which she did not intend to have such a global reaction at first.


Thanks to the beautiful writing and her love on environment, DDT was prohibited now mostly (DDT was found out to make the insects have immunity due to the over-usage), but some of them are still being used in the Third countries. However, her effort is still remained effective to people nowadays and people who try to being an environment activist would have read the books of Carson. Her experience would be a great reference to modern people to think about how to create a co-existence between human production and the mother nature.


Rachel Carson (From: Wikipedia)


Her Famous Book: The Sea around Us and Silent Spring











Written by Yip Pok Hei