Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Rachel carson's silent spring

Author: Rumi Saikia
Read time: 2mins 45secs

Man’s attempted solution to conquering pests has taken a twist he couldn’t have imagined in his worst possible dreams. Man forgot that nature exists in balance and that there are always consequences to his actions. His invention of the pesticide was a weapon that has made irreparable damages over the ages and sadly, even today. Carson rightfully mentioned that pesticides are, in fact biocides that have been wiping out life as we know it one species at a time.

We can probably imagine a world where no birds sing outside our windows, no butterflies adorn our gardens and no squirrels squeal with joy at the sight of nuts, but we can never live in it. The sad part though, is, that world is not too far away. We have endangered wild fauna like foxes, several species of birds including pheasants, blackbirds, sparrows, doves to crows, owls and humming birds by our incessant use of chemicals. We have underrated the interaction of all living beings in the environment in which we live. We understood the science of killing, but failed to understand the science of ecology that balances life. Who would have thought that DDT that was meant to be used to get rid of malaria, typhus and body lice has almost gotten rid of certain types of fishes, reptiles, birds and domestic and wild animals? It is ironic that Arsenic, a major agent of homicide is used in sprays to kill insects, but remains deposited on plants and animal tissues and find their way into the human body anyway. The saddest and the scariest part of these chemical usage is by the time their presence is detected in the human body, they have accumulated enough to cause permanent damage already.

Chlordane that is like the elder sibling of DDT is described as one of the most toxic of insecticides and anyone handling it can be poisoned sooner or later. Heptachlor, another deadly agent has the ability to store in high quantities in fat and a composition it undergoes known as heptachlor epoxide is particularly known to be three to four times as toxic than heptachlor. The chlorinated naphthalenes, dieldrin, Aldrin, endrin, the organic phosphates, Palathion, Malathion, Systemics are all man made poison from natural components and their effects on both animal and plant kingdom has been catastrophic. Although the pollution of our environment affects many resources, of these the most water is the most severely affected and to quote Carson “one of the most alarming aspects of the chemical pollution of water is the fact that in river or lake or reservoir—or, for that matter, in the glass of water served at your dinner table—are mingled chemicals that no responsible chemist would think of combining in his laboratory.”

Rachel Carson has aptly described in her book Silent Spring, how life on earth has gone downhill ever since the invention of insecticides.Read it in her words here!