Tags

Silent Spring is remembered for the birds. When I ask people to name words, phrases, or images that Rachel Carson’s book evokes for them, “thin eggshells” is among the most frequent responses. Yet this consequence of pesticide exposure—bird eggs so fragile they crush under the airy weight of their own brooding parents—is scarcely mentioned in Silent Spring. Perhaps we like to equate Carson with eggshell thinning because it is a problem that largely fixed itself after DDT and a handful of other pesticides were finally restricted for domestic use. In this way, Carson’s predictions of disaster can be simultaneously viewed as both prophetic and successfully averted. A comfortable reckoning.

Steingraber, Sandra (2010-03-23). Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (p. 30). Da Capo Press. Kindle Edition.

Advertisements