Forty years ago, Rachel Carson became the unlikely founder of the radical ecology movement when she published Silent Spring. Poet John Burnside writes that her message is even more powerful today
In 1962, a powerful group of chemical industry representatives, government officials and salaried "experts" on the environment set out to prevent the publication of a much-loved naturalist's last book. The naturalist in question was Rachel Carson, bestselling author of books about the sea; the last book was Silent Spring. It is a moment every life-respecting person cherishes: like the lone protester in Tiananmen Square, halting a column of tanks with nothing more than his hopelessly vulnerable body, Carson placed herself - her reputation, her failing health - in the path of the juggernaut that, at the time, everyone still blithely referred to as "progress" - and slowed it a little.
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