Thursday, January 24, 2013

An then there was Silent Spring

Since the publishing of Rachel Carson's groundbreaking book "Silent Spring" in 1962 much has changed. First, nearly all of the pesticides (most were insecticides) identified in the book have been eliminated from use, second, the EPA review process has been established and, finally, also unfortunately, many new noxious weed species have come to our shores. In my re-reading of the book after about 40 years, I found a couple of quotes that are appropriate to highlight here. (1) Near the end of chapter 2, "The Obligation to Endure" she states: "It is not my contention that chemical insecticides [read: pesticides] must never be used. I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely…..ignorant of their potential for harm." And then in chapter 6, "Earth's Green Mantle" she adds: "Selective spraying….takes advantage of the inherent stability of nature…the object is not to produce grass on roadsides…but to eliminate the tall woody plants…and to preserve all other vegetation". Sounds like Environmentally Sensitive Weed Control to me!