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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers Rachel Carson
Carson with her book
Carson with her book

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Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

Carson wrote that pesticides should be called "biocides" because they killed many living things, both bad and good. Although she was alarmed by acute pesticide poisoning (like Huckins' dead birds), she was even more concerned about the slow poisoning of plants, animals, and people from pesticides. To make her point, she wrote the first chapter of Silent Spring as a fable about a town. The town is a wonderful place until everything and everyone--the animals, plants, insects and people--slowly starts to get sick and then die. She ends the fable by saying that although the town is not real, the fable is based on a collection of true stories. Each of the tragedies had already happened somewhere because of pesticides.

Carson wrote Silent Spring to educate regular people about the dangers of pesticides. She asked, "How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?" She hoped that by bringing together scientific facts and presenting them in understandable language, she could stop the fable from becoming a reality.

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