Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" - Published Fifty Years Ago Today

When Silent Spring first came out, I was a sophomore in high school.  Within a few weeks of publication, a few of my classmates had read it.  In late spring, I checked it out from the Burien (Washington) library, and read it.  It bothered me that chemicals were so destructive, especially as I was taking chemistry that year.

I re-read the book twice - once in the mid-70s (checking the book out from the Cordova (Alaska) library), and once in the mid 90s, reading it while staying with my friend James L. Acord, at his studio in Richland, Washington.

The book had a profound influence on the environmental movement.  Back in the late 1960s, when many young people were distressed by the growing use of chemicals in everyday applications, there was a wide range of reaction.  My ex-wife became macrobiotic, and I appreciated that approach.  I've since tried to eat as organically as possible, grow our own food as organically as possible.

On Tuesday, Alaska Public Radio's Steve Heimel devoted his weekly program, Talk of Alaska, to Carson's book and its anniversary.  You can hear the program at this link.

Here's the Band Primal Scream's Silent Spring:

The lyrics:

If all the birds have cursed the sky
A flaming fortress, hunting prey
A feathered bird deflowered dies
The flowers die
My knife has turned on life itself
My skin is bathed in poison rain
A room right on an empty shelf
Empty shelf
All the time in the world
And you never changed a thing
All the time in the world
And you stood back and watched
The silent spring, silent spring
The hovering of every breath
A legacy of decay infests
Just let me imagine mother earth
Mother earth

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