born 1907

Rachel Carson was a biologist and writer known for her profound impact on the environmental movement. Her most famous work is Silent Spring, concerning the harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

Fans praised Rachel's ability to write science accessibly; critics tried to discredit her because she was both “a woman” and “a spinster.” In spite of, or perhaps because of its controversy, Silent Spring was a huge success that led to the ban of DDT and the creation of the EPA. Unfortunately, Rachel succumbed to breast cancer before she could see many of the long-term impacts of her work.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Rachel Carson (16)

"One of the most interesting and engaging characteristics of island species is their extraordinary tameness—a lack of sophistication in dealings with the human race, which even the bitter teachings of experience do not quickly alter."

The Sea Around Us | 1950

"You do not have to travel to find the sea, for the traces of its ancient stands are everywhere about."

The Sea Around Us | 1950

"No one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry."

National Book Foundation award acceptance speech | 1952

"Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience."

Rachel Carson accepting non-fiction book award | 1952

"I can remember no time, even in earliest childhood, when I didn't assume I was going to be a writer."

Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature | 1954

"It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself."

The Sea Around Us | january 1960

"Beginnings are apt to be shadowy, and so it is with the beginnings of that great mother of life, the sea."

The Sea Around Us | 1961

"Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song."

Silent Spring | january 1962

"We are rightly appalled by the genetic effects of radiation; how then can we be indifferent to the same effect in chemicals that we disseminate widely in our environment."

Silent Spring | 1962

"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."

Silent Spring | 1962

"Most of all, I shall remember the Monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force."

Letter to Dorothy | 1963

"Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the Earth without making it unfit for all life?"

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring {via CBSnews} | 1963

"Man's attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself."

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring {via NRDC} | 1963

"We in this generation, must come to terms with nature, and I think we're challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves."

The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson | april 1963

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder...he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."

The Sense of Wonder | 1965

"One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'"

The Sense of Wonder | 1965
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curated with care by Alix Nunan {july 2014}