Rachel Carson is often given credit for advancing the environmental movement globally. She was a marine biologist as well as conservationist. One of her main contributions to the environmental movement, a movement which focuses on preserving the earth, was the book Silent Spring, a book that highlights the effects of manmade production of chemicals and industry and what it does to the environment.
Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She was an avid explorer as well as reader, and took an interest in writing stories. By age 10, she had published her first story, published in St. Nicholas Magazine. She would often read this magazine, as well as many others that concerned the natural world. In 1925, she finished at the top of her class in high school in a class of 45 students.
Carson would go on to attend the Pennsylvania College for Women, which is known as Chatham University now. This is where she would end up pursuing the sciences, in this case Biology. She would eventually attend Johns Hopkins University in 1929, continuing her studies in zoology and genetics.
Carson completed her masters in zoology in June of 1932, and went to work at a local radio station. Here she would write educational broadcasts for a weekly radio show called Romance Under the Waters. This lead her to her job at the U.S Bureau of Fisheries, a department of the United States government whose goal was to preserve fishing areas and their habitats in the United States.
Carson became just the second woman to be employed by the bureau. She was given the position of junior aquatic biologist, and her main responsibilities were studying reports from fish populations and create brochures for the American public to read. She tried to leave the bureau in 1945, but there were very few jobs for naturalists. She eventually rose up and became a supervisor for a small writing staff, and became chief editor of publications in 1949.
After having some success with a few books, as well as having an adaptation documentary of her book, The Sea Around Us, win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, she started to shift towards conservation. She completed the third book in her sea trilogy, a trilogy that is about life at the bottom of the sea, that she had written, all of which were well received by critics.
In 1962, Carson became best known as her most famous book Silent Spring was published. This book described the negative effects of pesticides on the environment. Her concern with pesticides stemmed from the 1940s, but no one would take her seriously until this book was finally published. The book was republished in 1994 with an introduction from then vice-president Al Gore, and in 2012 was made a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society for its help developing modern environmental movements.
Carson died shortly after her great book was published. She died of a heart attack on April 14th, 1964, but her legacy did not end there. Her work towards preserving the environment has continued to this day, and her book Silent Spring is still an instrumental piece for environmental movements everywhere.
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