Rachel carson and silent spring pdf
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Silent Spring-Rachel Carson-1962
Has Silent Spring by Rachel Carson been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. Give me spots on my Apples and leave me the birds and the bees. Though it took place more than 50 years ago, the story told in this book summary still has great relevance today. Indeed, recent years have been the warmest on record, and biological diversity and ecological resilience are being put to the test on a daily basis.
Unless you enjoy studying insects, you probably look at bugs as an unwanted nuisance. This can be true for farmers as well, many of whom are eager to rid their land of crop-eating pests.
The poisons that emerged during this period were a byproduct of the work WWII scientists were doing in the field of chemical warfare. Over chemicals were developed in the period between the mids and the s. And during this time, pesticide production skyrocketed to five times its previous rate; in , we produced between , to , pounds of pesticides, but by we were up to , to , pounds. Earlier forms of pesticides used organic chemicals like arsenic, a highly toxic mineral that remained a basic ingredient in a number of weed and insect killers in the early s.
But studies showed that even arsenic has toxic, carcinogenic side-effects. Areas that have been contaminated by arsenic have caused sickness or death in a variety of animals, including horses, cows, goats, pigs, deer, fish and bees. This is especially true for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane , a popular ingredient in pesticides that is better known as DDT. These chemicals destroy enzymes that protect the body, prevent oxidation, cause various organs to malfunction and infect cells, slowly causing irreversible and malignant damage.
Scientists did come up with some generally effective ways of killing pests, but just as arsenic had some pretty bad side effects, so did these new chemically manufactured pesticides. While there are a number of ways chemicals like DDT might cause unintentional harm, a primary concern is how it can damage the environment by entering our water systems. Harmful chemicals can pollute our waters in a variety of ways. Hospitals and laboratories produce radioactive waste; nuclear explosions spread poisonous fallout; cities and factories dispose of domestic chemicals; and then there are the pesticides we spray on gardens, crops, forests and fields.
Water purification plants remove some harmful substances, but synthetic chemicals like DDT can escape detection. For instance, a sample of drinking water taken from a Pennsylvania orchard, and tested on fish in a laboratory setting, was found to contain enough insecticide to kill every fish in just four hours.
And a stream containing water that had drained from a sprayed cotton field was also lethal to fish, even after it had gone through a purification plant. There are numerous other case studies that highlight the amount of damage these chemicals can cause in animals. Birds are especially vulnerable. All across the United States, birds have lost the ability to fly and been left paralyzed and sterile by chemical spraying.
The following spring, robins across the campus were found dead, dying or incapable of reproducing. And when healthy new migrant birds appeared, they would also be dead or dying within a couple of weeks. It turned out that the birds were eating poisonous earthworms that had fed on leaves that were sprayed with DDT. Experiments revealed that the epidemic of dead birds was a direct result of DDT ingestion, with the tissue of the dead birds containing high levels of the chemical pesticide. As you might imagine, what is lethal to fish and birds is probably not good for humans.
Nonetheless, in the early s, it was a common misconception to think of these chemicals as being harmless. After all, many people only knew of DDT as a powder that was used in wartime to kill the lice that would plague soldiers, refugees and prisoners.
Since it was applied directly to the hair and skin, many people assumed that such chemicals must be safe. When used in its powder form, however, the chemical is not easily absorbed through the skin and therefore it is far less dangerous.
Even the smallest amounts can cause irrevocable harm. Experiments on animals have shown that just three parts per million can inhibit an essential enzyme in the heart muscle, while five parts per million cause liver cells to disintegrate. While there was still much testing to be done in the early s to determine how harmful chemicals like DDT were to humans, the author knew that the potential was high. In fact, at that time, the average amount of exposure to DDT was already far exceeding the levels known to cause harm to the liver and other organs and tissues.
Those working in environments that offered direct exposure to DDT, such as agricultural workers, showed levels of But even people with no known exposure to DDT were still showing an average of between 5. This was due to the poison entering our food chain: DDT was used to protect fields of alfalfa; that alfalfa was used to feed hens; the hens then lay eggs contaminated with DDT, and we ate those eggs.
At this point, given how harmful pesticides are to the environment, you might be wondering how effective they are at doing their intended job. Amazingly, even here they tend to cause dangerous problems. There was once a time when the deer population in this area was living in harmony with its environment, thanks to a variety of natural predators like coyotes, wolves and pumas.
But then a misguided campaign was launched to help protect the deer by killing off these predators. Now the deer were starving and dying at a higher rate than before, and the entire environment ended up being damaged due to their desperate search for food.
This is exactly the kind of problem that can arise with chemical pesticides. This is what happened in , when the US Forest Service sprayed , acres of woodlands with DDT to combat the spruce budworm pest. The following summer it became apparent that the spraying had caused an even greater problem: the DDT had also killed the natural predators of the spider mite.
As a result, the spider mite turned into a worldwide pest, spreading at such a rate that they damaged the majestic trees of the Helena National Forest and the slopes of the Big Belt Mountains. You might be asking yourself: How did these dangerous chemicals ever make it into production and use? Unfortunately, there was a lack of proper tools and government regulation when they were being introduced.
In the decades following WWII, there were no procedures for chemists to test for these kinds of pollutants and no way to remove them from the water we use.
Therefore, chemically polluted water went undetected and the FDA and Department of Agriculture did little to follow-up and determine if our food was being contaminated. And without protective regulations, the government itself often launched chemical spraying projects without conducting adequate research into potential dangers. These include mass sterilization of pests, and employing parasites, predators, pathogens and pheromones to control the population and lure pests away. Approaches like these not only avoid the pitfalls of chemicals, they are also less dangerous to us and the environment.
At the very least, we must stay informed about the chemicals being used on our environment and our food and the risks that come with them. Humanity has a long history of trying to control and dominate nature, rather than living harmoniously with it, and this has resulted in the creation of many destructive forces. One such force is the dangerous use of pesticides.
While this was intended to rid us of weeds and pests, it has actually had a much more detrimental effect on all living things. We must introduce stricter regulations on the use of pesticides and, at the very least, educate ourselves on their harmful impact. They can do lasting harm to your health, so be careful and do your research before spraying them in your home.
So, in the years following WWII, many synthetic poisons were created to combat these pesky bugs. These chemically manufactured poisons were also far deadlier than the ones used in the past. The chemical compounds that followed, however, would prove to be even more dangerous. Silent Spring Key Idea 2: There is undeniable evidence that chemical pesticides have an unintended and deadly impact on nature. Silent Spring Key Idea 3: By working their way into our food chain, pesticides are a poisonous threat to humans as well.
Silent Spring Key Idea 4: The use of pesticides also destroys the delicate balance of ecosystems, doing more harm than good. Part of the problem stems from the fact that these chemicals kill indiscriminately. A classic example of this system breaking down involves the Kaibab deer in Arizona. Silent Spring Key Idea 5: To combat the harmful effects of these chemicals, we must learn to be responsible and find holistic alternatives.
Meanwhile, pesticide companies simply claimed that their products were harmless and helpful. In Review: Silent Spring Book Summary The key message in this book: Humanity has a long history of trying to control and dominate nature, rather than living harmoniously with it, and this has resulted in the creation of many destructive forces.
Actionable advice: Consider alternatives to poisons!
Silent Spring Summary | FREE PDF |
Use viewing skills and note taking strategies to understand and interpret a video clip. Participate in a class discussion about the risks that Carson took when speaking out about established practices, as well as how science and society influence one another. Watch a slideshow of photographs that highlight important aspects of Carson's life and career. Write a paragraph that describes how Carson's personal qualities helped her to be a more effective scientist. Estimated Time One minute class period. Extensions are provided for classrooms that wish to study this topic in greater depth.
Although the term did not yet exist when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in , a major component of its argument conforms to the spirit of the precautionary principle , which suggests that when a risk is unknown — because not enough research has been carried out, perhaps — the prudent course of action is always to hedge against potentially dangerous effects by slowing or even halting progress until more is known. In the book, Carson completes a thorough survey of current spraying practices and their massively detrimental effects on local ecosystems, but her most dire warnings come…. One tactic used by Carson is a comparison of the dangers of pesticides to those of nuclear radiation, which had a much higher public profile in the s given the dropping of the atomic bombs in World War II just two decades earlier. Because of its newfound power, argues Carson, humanity is at a crossroads. On the one hand, the increasing acceleration of technological development seems to…. Silent Spring. Plot Summary.
Silent Spring. Plot Summary. All Symbols Silence. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.
Rachel Carson's alarm touched off a national debate on the use of chemical pesticides, the currency now, but in Silent Spring contained the kernel of.
Has Silent Spring by Rachel Carson been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. Give me spots on my Apples and leave me the birds and the bees.
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Я тебя предупредил! - кипятился панк. - Это мой столик. Я прихожу сюда каждый вечер. Подними, говорю. Беккер терял терпение. А ведь он мог быть сейчас в Смоки-Маунтинс, со Сьюзан.
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Беккер снова вздохнул, решительно подошел к двери и громко постучал. Пора переходить к решительным действиям. Немец рывком открыл дверь и собрался было закричать, но Беккер его опередил.