Friday, September 28, 2012

Fifty years after the publication of the book that formed the basis of the environmental movement, what we have learned from biologist who saw the need for science to nature?

near a stream in southern England, ornithologist JA Baker, met a little dark scene in 1961. "A heron was frozen stubble. Their wings were glued to the ground by frost. His eyes were open and life, the rest had died. As I approached, I could see the whole body at will in flight . But he could not fly. gave me peace and saw the eyes of the sun dying of curable with the cloud. "

the situation of the bird was very natural. Was not his only goal. That year, a large number of dead birds were found scattered on the ground. Real Estate at Sandringham, for example, the number of thrushes, larks included, moorhens, goldfinches, finches, hawks, ravens, hooded, partridges, pheasants and pigeons. Nationally, more than 6,000 dead birds were reported to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a huge jump in the previous years. "We are overwhelmed," said RSPB conservation director Martin Harper.

The UK is not alone. For years, reports in the U.S. suggest that the number of birds, including the American national bird, the bald eagle, were down dramatically. Ornithologists also noted eggs are often not sitting while many of those who were dismissed have not hatched. Something was happening to the birds of the Western world. proposed several causes - poisons, viruses or other pathogens - but nobody has a definitive answer or seemed sure of the cause - with one exception: the biologist Rachel Carson. During most of 1961, had locked himself in his country home in Colesville, Maryland, to complete his book,

Silent Spring . They provide a clear identification of the murderers of birds. Powerful synthetic insecticides such as DDT were chains of food poisoning bugs on the rise.

"sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes - nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the" good " and "bad", which is still the song of birds and jumping fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly movie and persist in soil - all this though his goal may be just a little evil weeds and insects, "he wrote. One or two authors had already suggested modern pesticides are dangerous. written eloquently No Carson. serialized in New Yorker

the summer of 1962, Silent Spring

published September of the same year. It remains one of the most effective against malpractice complaints industrial written and is credited with activation popular awareness of the environment in the United States and Europe. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have their origin directly

Silent Spring . "In the '60s, we were just waking up he had the power to harm nature," says Jonathon Porritt, a former director of Friends of the Earth. "Rachel Carson was the first to voice concerns how that came through loud and clear to society. " Or, as Doris Lessing said: "Carson was the creator of environmental concerns."

We have much to thank Carson: a powerful green movement, the awareness that we can not punish indiscriminately our wildlife and an understanding of the fragility of the food chain in nature. But the environment is in better shape today? We saved the planet? Or is in more danger than ever before? Fifty years after Silent Spring

was published in the planet is warming, sea level rise and collapse of coral reefs, these issues have acquired a new importance and urgency.

Rachel Carson had a rare combination of gifts. It was a brilliant marine biologist and writer whose prose was beautiful in its precision and exquisite lyricism. In 1952, he won a National Book Award in the USA

The Sea Around Us

. However, his most famous work,

Silent Spring

is surprisingly difficult to pass. "It is dense and technical, and not a book for the beach," says Conor ornithologist Mark Jameson, author of the book

Silent Spring Revisited

, an examination of the legacy of Carson. "According to the current standards of scientific writing is awkward."

literary fashions have changed, of course, but other factors, intriguing give

Silent Spring

resonance strange to modern ears. In particular, relentless style Carson is surprising and unexpected because it is full of stories of misuse of pesticides, which often have a slight variation in hue. He slaughtered in Clear Lake, California, grebes and gulls, poisoned by a pesticide used to eradicate mosquitoes danger. There are cases of spraying DDT to kill - spongy, and fire ants - which ended with blackbirds and meadows. There are links between pesticides and genetic damage in humans. And the list goes on. If she is not a talented writer, the effect could be soporific.

His relentless approach was deliberate, however. Carson tried to do more than to end an unfair practice. I decided to write "a book that challenges the paradigm of scientific progress that defined postwar American culture," says his biographer Mark Hamilton Lytle. She kneaded his testimony anyway.

was a valiant effort. Despite the legitimate criticism of government policy is a risky business in the United States then. "The science and technology and those who have worked in these areas were revered as saviors of the free world and the trustees of prosperity," said another biographer Linda Lear. "In

Silent Spring , Rachel Carson exposes these experts for public review and said that maybe they had not done their homework and, at worst, had hidden truth. "

From this point of view, the book is not only a cry for the environment. This is an attack against the paternalism of the post-war science, but to be fair to those who practice, many provide the background control and manuscripts Carson pending the expected response of the industry U.S.. furious. Giants Chemistry And America did not disappoint. They tried to continue

New Yorker and his publisher, Houghton Mifflin. When this approach failed, has launched a $ 250,000 advertising campaign far Carson and science. She was ridiculed for being hysterical, unscientific and being a single woman. "It was alarming, according to them," said Lear. "I kept the cats and birds loved. Even a former agriculture secretary was known publicly ask" why a single woman without children was so interested in genetics . "His unpardonable is that it had exceeded its place as a woman. "

Carson suffered from breast cancer and the effects of radiotherapy. However, she defended herself. In women, the National Press Club, spoke links have been established between science and industry. "When a scientific organization speaks:" I asked, "whose voice we hear - the science industry or service" The question remains as relevant today as it did in 1962 .

The scandal has had a beneficial effect for Carson. Sales Silent Spring skyrocketed, reaching one million by his death in April 1964. Under the pressure of their opinions, President John F. Kennedy recognized the value and then asked its Scientific Advisory Board to investigate the allegations. Your report justified Carson. The widespread use of pesticides has been to allow poisons that accumulate in the food chain, which poses a real risk to humans. Ten years and two presidents later, the production and use of DDT in agriculture was banned in the United States. Officially Britain forbidden to use a few years later.

Carson opponents have long memories, however. Websites, many institutions established by the U.S. industry law supported that it was a serial killer who has killed more people than the Nazis, for example. The ban on DDT was responsible for these sites argue for the death of countless malaria in Africa which have been audited had not ceased to western pesticide.

Roberts points bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, as typical victims. "When a woman has her first baby dolphin, the transfer of a very important part of your body burden of chemicals, including toxins, your firstborn. Therefore, 70% of first-born calves die within a year. "

have not improved matters on earth. The neonicotinoid insecticides used in seed treatment, have been associated with the syndrome of bee colony collapse, a condition that 800,000 hives were destroyed in the United States only in 2007, while the vultures in Asia have been eliminated by chemical methods used on farms diclofenac. As Carson wrote: "Chemical warfare is never won, and all life is caught between his violent."
is a lesson that seems to have been lost for decades, however. "Carson believed that we should have a balance between ourselves and nature, but the need for a male domination of the planet seems as strong as it was in 1962," says Porritt. "We came much less than I expected that. "

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