The modern environmental movement dates back to the mid-1960's and particularly to the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. This landmark book raised an alert, heard worldwide, about the interconnectedness of all life on our planet and the possible hazards that could result to health and the environment from certain kinds of pesticide usage. From this impetus, came a surge in public awareness that led in our country to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the banning of DDT, and a heightened awareness of the need to include ecosystem effects in our overall planning packages.
The goals of a Rachel Carson Day Proclamation are:
- To show through Rachel Carson's life, that a woman born into a family without material resources, but wealthy in music, books and nature, can rise to the highest levels of her profession and make a significant contribution to the welfare of people and the planet, through the power of her words and spirit.
- A celebration of Rachel Carson's heroic struggle to support people's right-to-know about the hazards of pesticides, in the face of her own deteriorating terminal illness (breast cancer) and the fierce, personal attacks on her work and reputation from certain chemical industry interests
- To both honor Rachel Carson's landmark work and its role in the formation of today's environmental movement worldwide.
- To recognize that technological hazards from pesticide use that prompted Rachel Carson to write Silent Spring in the early 1960's are still with us today, as pesticides and in newer developments.
- To remind people of the interconnectedness of all life on our planet: That we are connected to the earth. That we depend on nature's ecosystem services for our life support system. And most vitally, that when we cease to protect the needs of nature's ecosystem, we not only cease to protect ourselves, but actually put ourselves and our planet in harm's way.
- To remind people that they do not have to use chemical pesticides in order to have a beautiful lawn and garden. To act as a small counterbalance to the many voices from commercial lawn service companies promoting chemical pesticides and fertilizers for uses that are purely cosmetic.
- To remind people that there are alternative ways to manage pests that do not present the high risks to health and the environment associated with chemicals.
- To let people know about the recent banning of two potent organophosphate insecticides, chlorpyrifos and diazinon, for indoor use and the associated indications of healthier babies being born in New York City since the ban.
- To let people know that it is OK to turn to nature for strength, healing and a sense of wonder. With the benefit of recent research, we now know that proximity to nature helps: students to earn better grades in school, workers to be more productive on the job, and neighborhoods to have lower crime rates.