September 06, 2012


September is a month of mixtures. There is the heady energy of going back to school, which I always enjoyed. It is also the dot on the end of summer and vacations as so many of us head back to work.

It is also the month when Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was published. Silent Spring (1962) was a pivotal book that awakened the world to the dangers of unregulated chemical pesticides, how they contaminated the environment and threatened not just the survival of wildlife but also of humankind. Carson would not have classified herself as an activist or pioneer, yet her book launched the environmental movement.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring is a new biography of Rachel Carson--On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder. We’ve just received a copy here at the Institute and I can’t wait to dig into it.

During this time, we should reflect on the momentous and hard-won gains we have enjoyed because Rachel Carson stood by her data, despite withering attacks by the chemical companies—and what we stand to lose should environmental regulations be rolled back.

In gratitude to a true heroine,

Reah Janise Kauffman