"Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent... It is, in the deepest sense, a privilege as well as a duty to speak out to many thousands of people..." —Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson

The Rachel Carson Council, an association for the integrity of the environment, founded in 1965, seeks to inform and advise the public about the effects of pesticides that threaten the health, welfare, and survival of living organisms and biological systems. The Council promotes alternative, environmentally benign pest management strategies to encourage healthier, sustainable living. ...more

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365 Companies Throw Support Behind EPA's Clean Power Plan

Sustainability advocacy group Ceres obtained signatures from 365 companies and investors for a letter it sent to 29 US governors, voicing support for the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

The letter comes right before finalization of the fule aimed at reducing US power plant carbon pollution by 30% by 2030. The 365 businesses and investors - from local companies to large companies such as General Mills, Mars, Nestle, Staples and Unilever - represent operations in all 50 states ...full article

To Save Bees, Some States
Take Aim at Pesticides

The orange groves in Fort Myers, Florida, have turned to poison for David Mendes' honeybees. The one time winter havens for bees have been treated with a popular pesticides that he says kills his livelihood.

States and the federal government are searching for ways to protect managed bees like Mendes' and their wild counterparts. The White House issued a strategy in May to promote the health of honeybees and at least 24 states have enacted laws to protect bees and other pollinators such as bats, birds and butterflies ...Full article and interactive bee loss map

40 Earthquakes Hit Frack-Happy
Oklahoma in the Last 7 Days

5 earthquakes were recorded in Oklahoma this past Monday, some of which were felt in 5 states. 3 of the earthquakes measured above 4.0-magnitude and the biggest of these was 4.5-magnitude. The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50% in the past 2 years. "Noticeable quakes—above magnitude 3.0—now hit the state at a rate of 2 per day, compared with 2 or so per year prior to 2009," according to Reuters ...Full article

Rachel Carson Discovered in West Virginia?

Where would you look for Rachel Carson's typewriter, the oversized magnifying glass with which she poured over the tiny print of Federal publications to be edited, or her earliest memos warning about DDT in 1945?

Her homes in Maine, Maryland, or near Pittsburgh? The Yale Beinecke Rare Book Library? Likely suspects, but such Rachel Carson archival treasures are found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia ...more

5 Projects to Transform Civic Space in Philly, Yield Lessons in Collaboration

In West Philadelphia, one neighborhood has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 10 years—new residential housing, a revitalized commercial corridor, and an influx of millennials—but has not lost its convivial spirit.

The Fairmont Park Conservancy—a nonprofit organization that exists to champion Philadelphia's park system—will support 5 model projects, each in a transitioning neighborhood on the periphery of Center City ...Full article

Methane Emissions in Texas Fracking Region 50% Higher Than EPA Estimates

The recent release of 11 research papers marked another milestone in the Environmental Defense Fund's ongoing effort to understand the natural gas industry's carbon footprint. Overall, the studes found that emissions of methane—a greenhouse gas at least 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide—in Texas Barnett Shale were 50% higher than estimated by the EPA ...Full article

"Cactus Dome" - Global Warming Causing Radioactive Material to Leak into Pacific Ocean from Marshall Islands

5 years after the Fukishima disaster, yet another radioactive threat is raising its ugly head in the Pacific. It is the result of a dozen years of nucelar tests following WWII, now intersecting with rising sea levels due to global climate change.

You may never have heard of "Cactus Dome," but chances are you know the name "Bikini." The Bikini Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, was the site of the first nuclear tests after the Second World War. The program came to an end in 1958, but by then there was enough radioactive waste to cover a hole the width of three-and-half football fields to a depth of 30 feet ...Full article

Record-Breaking Solar Flight Lands in Hawaii Demonstrating Potential of Carbon-Free Travel

The "Solar Impulse" landed in Hawaii breaking the world records for the longest distance and duration for solar aviation, and the world record for the longest solo flight ever.

By remaining airborne for five consecutive days and nights, producing its own power with solar energy, Solar Impulse 2 has proven that Bertrand Piccard's vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a craze dream," according to a Solar Impulse press statement ...Full article

What Are We Doing to Ourselves? 84,000 Chemicals and Only 1% Have Been Tested

Woman are particularly at rish because they use more personal care products than men.

There are around 84,000 chemicals on the market, and we come into contact with many of them every single day. And if that isn't enough to cause concern, the shocking fact is that only 1% of them have been studied for safety.

In 2010, at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, Lisa Jackson, then the administrator of the EPS, put our current hyper-toxic era into sharp perspective: "A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than and other generation in our history." ...Full article

Big Food and Chemical Corporations Spend Millions to Attack Organic

Report exposes growth in front groups and PR spin to win over skeptical consumers

In response to skyrocketing growth in organic and non-GMO food sales, food and agrochemical companies have spent millions of dollars over the past several years on stealth communication campaigns designed to defend industrial agriculture, sway opinion leaders and win over skeptical consumers, according to a report released by Friends of the Earth.

The report, "Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food," documents unprecedented levels of spending from front groups, trade associations, anti-GMO labeling campaigns, federal check-off programs and vast corporate marketing budgets aimed at defusing public concern about the risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture ...Full article

Catawba College Completes Phase I
of Premier Solar Project

Phase I of Catawba College's solar installation is complete.  It will ultimately provide nearly one megwatt of solar electricity for the campus. The 8 new solar electric systems will produce more solar electricity than that produced by all the other colleges and universities in North Carolina combine ...Full article

What Does 'Low Dose' Mean When It
Comes to Exposure to Toxic Chemicals?

A major study reveals how exposure to over 80 different chemicals could have synergistic impacts on the development of cancer.

The chemicals that we're exposed to in our daily lives are often approved by the government under the assumption that they're safe in small doses, even over a long period of time. We now live in a world where exposure to a large variety of chemcials is unavoidable.

Think about a simple picnic in a city park. The air you breath is filled with particulate matter from car exhaust, the landscaping was likely treated with chemical fertilizers and weedkillers, the plastic surrounding your food and drink items might contain BPA or phthalates, your drinks could contain preservatives, the antibacterial spray you use on your hands after eating might contain triclosan and the sunscreen you apply on your skin probably contains nanomaterials. Now extrapolate that scenario to each and every activity you partake in on a daily basis ...Full article

New York Formalizes Ban on Fracking, Ending 7-Year Review

After a 7-year environmental and health review that drew a record number of public comments, NY formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in announcing the decision. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resouces and potential significan public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated." ...Full article

Earthquake Spike Pushes Oklahoma to Consider Tighter Fracking Regulations

Decision comes after recent uptick in temblors - 35 of at least 3.0 magnitude

Oklahoma has been hit with 1 - 2 earthquakes a day since drilling operations began in 2009 and is now considering tightening regulations on its oil and gas industry. After years of officially denying that injecting wastewater produced by fracking deep into rock beds could be the cause of the state's increased earthquakes, Oklahoma officials finally admitted a link ...Full article

The Future Is Here: Google Is Turning
An Coal Plant Into A Clean Energy
Powered Data Center

An old coal-burning power plant slated to close in October has been given new life thanks to Google, which recently announced plans to build its first U.S.-based data center in 8 years on the grounds of Alabama's Widows Creek power plant.

The data center will eschew the power plants's history in favor of renewaable energy, with Google pledging to run the 350-acre facility entirely off of either solar or wind power (or a combination of both). Google's data centers in both Iowa and Oklahome already run entirely off of wind power ...Full article

What's Really Warming the World?

This chart will silence your friends who make excuses for climate change.

Fracking Linked to Low Birth Weight Babies

Expectant mothers who live near natural gas fracking site may be at increased risk of having babies with lower birth weight, according to a new study of birth rates in Pennslyvania.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Publc Health analyzed nmore than 15,000 birth records of babies born between 2007 and 2010 in three of the state's southwestern counties. The study included more than 500 gas wells drilled during the same period.

The scientists found that women who lived close to a high number of fracking sites were 34% more likely to have babies who were "small for gestational age" than mothers who did not live near a large number of well ...Full article

Study Says Outdoor
Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter

As Albert Einstein once said, "Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better."

The study assessed whether exposure to green space improved cognitive development in children. Researchers tested the cognitive development of 2,593 school children, ages 7 to 10. the result was theat the greener the area surrounding a child's home, commuting route and school, the more likely the child was to have improved memory. Greeness also decreased inattentiveness ...Full article

Startling Link Between Pregnant Mother's Exposure to DDT and Daughter's Risk of Breast Cancer

Banned by the US in 1972, the insecticide DDT is best know as the impetus for the modern environmental movement. Since Rachel Carson's bestseller Silent Spring sounded the alarm about the poisonous effects of the chemical on wildlife, the environment and human health, numerous studies have linked it to birth defects, miscarriage and reduced fertility.

The EPA classifies DDT as a "probable" carcinogen. A new study pubished in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloogy and Metabolism found a startling link between preganat women exposed to DDT and the breast cancer risk to their daughters ...Full article

The More They Dig, The More They Find: DDT Cleanup Continues For Mid-Michigan Town

Federal and State officials are making progress cleaning up harmful chemcials in St. Louis, Michigan, but more work remains and there is no comprehensive health study.

School athletic grounds are being dug up after it was discovered they too are contaminated with DDT and despite wildlife deaths and lawns being contaminated to levels deemed harmful to humans, no one is conducting health testing on DDT exposure in the community.

St. Louis has long dealt with contamination left behind by the Velsicol Chemical Corp. (the corporation who threatened to sue Rachel Carson), formerly Michigan Chemical, which manufactured pesticides until 1963 and abondoned loads of DDT, which was banned 40 years ago ...Full article

Climate Change is Latest Threat for Struggling Red Knot Bird Species

For thousands of years, red knots have made one of the greatest migrations in the animal kingdom — more than 9,000 miles each spring from the southern tip of South America to the high Arctic tundra of northern Canada.

The knots' numbers have dropped off about 80% since the early 1980s, experts say. The reasons have included the catching of horseshoe crabs that lay eggs the birds eat north of Virginia, Atlantic beachfront construction that destroys feeding spots, and hunting in the tropics.

Now red knots have a new problem — climate change. Here's what's happening

The Global Warming 'Hiatus' Never Actually Happened, Study Says

Researchers say rate of warming has not declined in the last 15 years, contradicting a landmark UN report.

Global warming hasn't slowed down — we were just measuring it wrong, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

In 2013, a landmark UN report on climate change described a strange contradiction: greenhouse gases were still on the rise, but Earth's surface temperatures hadn't increased as fast as expected. Researchers have spent years trying to explain this phenonmenon, dubbed a "global warming hiatus," while skeptics have seized upon it as evidence that warnings about human-driven climate change were overblown. But a new report suggests that there is no significant decrease in global warming over the last 15 years ...Full article

The Changing Carolina Coast:
Managing the Threat of Rising Water

North Carolina's most recent Sea-Level Rise Report is the product of decades of tidal gauge data, computer modeling and hundreds of years of collected scientific expertise. But Jon Britt doesn't need all that to tell him the water's getting higher. He just needs to look out his back door.

"if you look out to where the extended breakwater is, that helps protect us against the storms. The beach was probably beyond that," Britt says, pointing out across the Currituck Sound. "Probably 20 feet beyond that. This little hut that we're standing in right now, it used to be a long way to the water." ...Full article

Coal on the outs at Asheville, NC Plant

Coal will no longer be the cornerstone of power production in Asheville when Duke Energy completes a newly announced $1.1 billion plan to retire its coal-fired power plant and construct a natural gas plant and solar farm in its place.

Despite increased production, pollution is expected to decrease. Mercury output will be eliminated, sulfur dioxide will decrease 90 to 95%, water withdrawal by 97%, water discharge by 50% and nitrogen oxide by 35%. Carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by about 60% per-megawatt-hour ...full article

To Fight Bee Decline, President Obama Proposes More Land to Feed Bees

The Obama administration hopes to save bees by feeding them better

A new federal plan aims to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making millions of acres of federal land more bee-friendly, spending millions of dollars more on research and considering the use of fewer pesticides ...Full article

Audubon's Birds and Climate Change Report

314 Species on the Brink

Shrinking and shifting ranges could imperil nearly half of U.S. birds within this century.

Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change. Their work defines the climate conditions birds need to survive, then maps where those conditions will be found in the future as the Earth's climate responds to increased greenhouse gases ...Full article

Mapping the Dangers of Fracking

It feels like spring only just arrived, but soon it will be the official start of summer. National parks and forests across the country will welcome millions of hikers, campers, photographers and others. People looking to leave home for a whie and enjoy America's natural beauty.

But oil and gas corporations want to visit U.S. public lands for a very different reason: to profit off their oil and gas reserves via fracking ...Full article

Inspiring Action on Climate Change and Protecting America's Birds

What can I do? That's the question Audubon hears most frequently when people learn that there may be no Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore or Common Loons in our northern states by the end of the century. After decades of study, scientists have found that if climate change continues on its current trajectory, 314 U.S. and Canadian bird species could lose 50% or more of their current ranges by the year 2080 ...Full article

Four New Universities Join the
Rachel Carson Campus Network

Featured Campus: Elon University

Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, hosted RCC President, Dr. Robert K. Musil, for a week this May as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has joined the Rachel Carson Council Campus Network.

Over the past decade, under the leadership of President Leo Lambert, Elon has emerged as a leading liberal arts college known for global engagement, student success, sustainability, and the beauty of its campus. Elon has grown rapidly, adding LEED-certified buildings while maintaining classic collegiate architecture ...more

The Unseen Slaughter Under the Sea

Imagine there's a fence running through the wilderness and that each animal that passes by—deer, bear, bison— is in danger of getting its head stuck in the chain link and starving to death. The happens every day in the world's oceans as lost, abondoned, and derelict fishing gear trap countless numbers of marine animals for years, decases and perhaps even centuries ...Full article

Study Links Widely Used Pesticides to Antibiotic Resistance

Glyphosate, 2,4-D, and Dicamba found to affect bacteria inways that could promote resistance to common antibiotics.

A study published by the American Society of Microbiology's journal mBio has linked glyphosate and 2 other widely-used herbicides-2,4-D and dicamba-to one of the most pressing public health crises of out time: antibiotic resistance ...Full article

Health Agency Says Widely Used Herbicide Likely Carcinogenic

Herbicide, glyphosate, is sold by Monsanto under Roundup™ brand. The World Health Organization (WHO) agency recently said that the herbicide widely marketed by Monsanto Co. likely has the potential to cause cancer in humans. Consumer and environmental groups have long warned of health problems that they say could arise from applying the weekiller on farms ...Full article

Don't Drink the Water

In 1991, the EPA Learned That There Were Toxins in a Mountain Stream. But Nobody Told the Family That Owned the Property

Terry Rice lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, about 10 miles outside of Asheville, in a cabin his grandfather build by hand. The Rices drew their regular water supply from a spring just a few hundred yards behind the cabin.

In 1999, a visiting friend volunteered to clean out the spring. He was shocked when he climed down to the water and saw dead plants and an oily liquid near the surface and a diesel-like odor ...Full article

Better Air Quality Helps Lungs Grow, Science Shows For the First Time

A groundbreaking new study has found that long-term improvements in air quality are associated with better respiratory function in children during critical growth years. The study, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at lung development in children ages 11 to 15 in Southern California over the course of the last two decades as air pollution controls significantly improved air quality. It is the first time that researchers have shown that better air quality leads to the direct improvement of lung development in children ...Full article

Pig Poop Fouling North Carolina Streams

Streams near large factory pig farms have high levels of bacteria. Health groups are raising a stink.

Few people know the pig business like North Carolina's Don Webb.

Webb raised pigs in Wilson County, North Carolina, until, in the late '70s, residents told him the smell near his farms was unbearable. He tried some solutions. They didn't work ...more

Looking Ahead... News and Events

05/21/15: Rachel Carson Council President Events

RCC President Upcoming Events

RCC President Dr. Robert K. Musil will be lecturing and book signing in the following locations:

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV
  • St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA
  • Baltimore Bird Club, Baltimore, MD