Revisiting “Silent Spring”

From The New Yorker magazine:

Fifty-five years ago this week, Rachel Carson published the first part of “Silent Spring” in The New Yorker. Carson exposed, in detail, the dangers of the pesticide DDT; her work jump-started the American environmental movement and helped bring about the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. This week, we’re bringing you “Silent Spring” in its entirety, along with a few recent pieces on the environmental challenges that define our era. Raffi Khatchadourian tells the story of the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster. Elizabeth Kolbert surveys the effects of global warming. And Jane Mayer, in a piece published this week, explains how “a tiny clique of fossil-fuel barons has captured America’s energy and environmental policies,” resulting in Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. These days, we have especially urgent reasons to revisit Carson’s work: the movement that she helped inspire has never been more necessary.

—David Remnick

Silent Spring—I

Some evil spell had settled on the community; mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens, and the cattle and sheep sickened and died. Everywhere was the shadow of death.

Silent Spring—II

As man proceeds toward his announced goal of the conquest of nature, he is writing a depressing record of destruction—destruction of the earth he inhabits and destruction of the life that shares it with him.

Silent Spring—III

Can we afford to pour chemicals into the environment that have the power to strike directly at the chromosomes? Is this not too high a price to pay for a sproutless potato or a mosquitoless patio?


The Climate of Man—I

Donald Perovich offered a comparison that he had heard from a glaciologist friend. The friend likened the climate system to a rowboat: “You can tip and then you’ll just go back. You can tip it and just go back. And then you tip it and you get to the other stable state, which is upside down.”


The Gulf War

BP estimated that a thousand barrels per day were flowing out of the Deepwater Horizon well—a provisional number that, NOAAannounced, would be verified when the weather allowed. But the estimate, obviously inadequate, drew heavy criticism.


On Climate, the Koch Brothers Are No Longer Covert

Now that they have been flushed from the shadows, the Koch brothers and their political operatives have proudly taken credit for obstructing the U.S. government from addressing climate change.


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