Two years into her tenure as an English composition major at Pennsylvania College for Women, Rachel Carson found herself so fascinated by a required biology course that she decided to abandon literature to become a scientist.
She eventually earned a master's degree in biology at Johns Hopkins University, and embarked on a career that combined her talents by showcasing her literary gifts and establishing her as the most eloquent spokesperson for conservation of our time.
The success of Carson's second book, The Sea Around Us, offered her hard-won financial independence in the late 1950s, and the freedom to resign from her job as chief of publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to focus on her writing. Carson used her time to delve courageously into researching the hazards of pesticide misuse. Four years in the making, Silent Spring burst upon the world in 1962, so eloquent that it moved thousands of Americans from apathy to action, and so prophetic that it has become the symbol of the new environmental movement. The book sparked extensive chemical industry efforts to discredit Carson both personally and professionally, but her meticulous research, credibility and commitment won out with the public.
Rachel Carson refused to believe that the destruction of the environment is the inevitable price of progress. Uniting the gifts of the scientist with the talents of the poet, she interpreted nature in accessible terms and revolutionized a nation's attitude about the natural world.
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