Saturday 25 September 2021

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson, by Anita Croy (EK books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925820690

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is one of six books in the series Scientists Who Changed the World. Rachel Carson was famous for altering the course of history by alerting the world to the dangers of environmental poisoning from pesticides and other manmade farming chemicals. She did this largely through her writings, including her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) which warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and which questioned government policies. Carson warned the world of the great environmental catastrophe humanity faced if it continued to alter nature through its behaviour.

The effects of Carson’s work were felt around the world and refused to go away. It continued through 1962 and much of the following year, remaining a topic of bitter debates, on television, and in the US Congress. When CBS aired a special show dedicated to the controversy of Silent Spring, between 10 and 15 million Americans watched the show. Carson appeared in front of the Science Advisory Committee where the explained how pesticide pollution spread, killing far more than its intended victims.

This book aimed at readers aged nine and upwards, is visually attractive with frequent use of photographs and graphics against coloured pages with numerous headings and sub-headings. The information is presented in a straightforward, clear manner with more than just information about Carson. It also mentions twentieth century biologists and environmentalists and gives important dates in the ecology dramas through the decades of Carson’s life. Since her death, many laws have been passed to protect the environment in the United States such as The Clean Air Act, which controls air pollution, and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which established a national program for disposing of nuclear waste.

The book includes a glossary and more information such as books and websites, as well as an index. This is certainly a valuable resource for young readers.


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