Rachel Carson and Her Contributions to the Environmentalism Movement

Who was Rachel Carson?

In a nutshell — my hero!

Rachel Carson is the American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book, Silent Spring, is credited with advancing the environmentalism movement.

After World War II, the world went crazy over chemicals. Industries and governments believed that humans could tame and control nature through the use of synthetic chemicals. People believed that DDT was a miracle and it was severely overused.

Rachel Carson, who had already wrote several biology and naturalist books and conservation pamphlets for the US government, decided to write Silent Spring to expose the dangers of widespread DDT usage. In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson dared to ask the hard questions about whether and why humans had the right to control nature; to decide who lives or dies, to poison or to destroy non-human life.

Chemical companies sought to discredit her as a Communist or hysterical woman with an affinity for cats.

Her tenacity helped in shaping a growing environmental consciousness.
The Clean Air Act became law in 1963.
In late 1969, President Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act, regarded as the most important piece of national environmental legislation. 

Her efforts sparked the movement leading to the establishment of Earth Day.

Learning Resources

What kind of Mom who studies the environment be if I didn’t turn this into an opportunity to teach the kids about Rachel Carson and her contributions to the Environmental Movement? Especially on Earth Day?!

Rachel Carson colouring sheet
I will be adding this into Teghan’s learning activities for Earth Day.

Rachel Carson learning unit on Brain Pop
Geared towards upper elementary kids.

Rachel Carson facts and worksheet bundle on kidskonnect
Another one for upper elementary kids.
With a basic membership, you can download the sample. It’s only $5-ish USD a month, but we already have a few subscriptions for learning resources.

The kids love watching The Who Was Show on Netflix, so I was thrilled when I found the book on Rachel Carson. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to get it for a while due to it not being considered essential.

Do you know this book?

I once, by chance, picked up a kids book at the library.
It seemed to be older, maybe from the 90’s.
The story is an allegory to Silent Spring and even mentions the book and the dangers of DDT after the story.
The story involves a kingdom that prides itself on their gardens and flowers. They didn’t really have much of a bug problem, but a wizard showed up and convinced the king to use his magic powder. People started getting covered in spots and sores, people were getting sick and even the wizard got sick. In the end, the princess convinces everyone to stop using the powder and people get better.

It was about two years ago.
The librarians have no idea, book store employees aren’t able to help me.
I’ve asked other parents and even university professors.
Have you by chance read this book?
Let me know in the comments.

Happy 50th Earth Day!

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25 thoughts on “Rachel Carson and Her Contributions to the Environmentalism Movement

  1. I haven’t heard of Rachel Carson but she sounds like a great person for kids to learn about. I think it’s important to raise kids who honor the environment in which they live.

  2. Nicely done. I keep thinking I should read Silent Spring one of these days – such a pivotal historical artifact. (I’m a historian by training.) I seriously cannot believe there was DDT-coated wallpaper for kids’ rooms at one point! Eeew!

  3. What an inspiring woman! Thank you for sharing about her. My kids really enjoy the Who Was … series, so we will have to look for this one!

  4. Thanks for sharing such great info. I’ve never heard of her before but she sounds like an inspiration. And definitely someone to teach kids about.

  5. I didn’t know about her! I love learning new things and definitely will share the books with my kids!

  6. Thank you for writing this post. Rachel Carson is a much less-known female than many others in our society. Unfortunately, she’s done more than enough to deserve recognition!

  7. Very interesting! I will be sharing with my family. I’ve actually heard of her before but didn’t know she had a book.

  8. I love Rachel Carson’s writing although I haven’t yet read Silent Spring.

    I came across her when I was looking for a creative nonfiction writer who wrote with great passion about the sea and I discovered her little known debut Under the Sea-Wind, which I learned is also her personal favourite of all the books she wrote. In fact, it is the first in a trilogy of books she wrote about the sea, but a week after publication, in 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, and the world was severely distracted from any other subject.

    10 years later she published the second book The Sea Around Us (1951) to great acclaim and it became a NYT bestseller. The first book deals with creatures of the sea, and she narrates the story through their eyes, a female sanderling named Silverbar, Scomber the mackerel and Anguilla the migrating eel. The second, I have just finsihed and is all about the sea, the ocean, the currents, streams within oceans, tides, formation of islands, the sea as mother, teacher and playground of humans.

    A wonderful role model, thanks for your lovely post, I hope you get to read her sea books if you haven’t already.

  9. I absolutely love this! I love the educational resources you shared. I’m not a teacher any longer, but I know many who are. Will be sharing this with them! Yay history!

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