Rachel Carson

by Bailey from San Diego

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"Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species--man--acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world" (Carson pg.5). We have changed our world with pollution, the use of pesticides and by trash thrown into animals environments. As a population, we need to change the way we treat our planet to make it a better place to live in. Rachel Carson believed this to be true and spent her life building awareness and being activist for the planet. She lived an amazing life as a writer, biologist and environmentalist, from her choice of majors in school to becoming the second woman ever to be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Rachel Carson fought for nature and helped the world to become aware of how each person has an impact on the environment. Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania on May 27th, 1907 to Maria and Robert Carson. She had two older siblings - a sister, Marian, and a brother, Robert Jr. She grew up on a 65 acre farm which she explored with her mother who inspired  her love of animals and nature. She spent much of her childhood reading and exploring the nearby woods and fields. By the time she was 10 years old she had published her first article about animals for the Children's magazine, St. Nicholas. Some of Rachel's greatest moments were when she  received her Master's degree from Hopkins University, published her first book, "Under the sea",  in 1941 and enrolled in Pennsylvania College for women in 1925.  A hero must possess selflessness and inner strength. Selflessness in that they care about the world around them more than they care about their own wants and needs. Inner strength is needed because a hero is often required to stand up for what is right against society. Rachel Carson demonstrated these characteristics, both in her professional life and her personal life. Rachel Carson, a marine biologist, was a passionate nature writer, paved the way for women scientists, and became a pioneering environmentalist, whose research shaped the policies for human and environmental health and inspired the world.

Rachel Carson was passionate about nature. She wanted to protect the natural environment and the life that lived in it from damage caused by humans. Rachel found her love of nature through her mother, who showed her the life of plants and animals. "As a child I spent long days out-of-doors in fields and woods, happiest with wild birds and creatures as companions"(Rachel Carson). Whenever Rachel was outside she was in her happy place. Her passion for nature all started in her backyard where she and her mother, a former teacher, were able to explore and see what life had to offer. Eventually, her passion for the environment helped steer her into the direction of becoming a marine biologist and an environmentalist. These were not  typical professions for women during her time, but her desires to protect wildlife gave her the determination to reach for dreams. Rachel also loved to write and became a published author by the age of 10. Over the years she spent much of her time writing and in time combined both of her passions professionally. "... Became known for helping people understand science through the use of beautiful and poetic words. Her writing made it easy for people to understand difficult ideas."(Fabiny, pg. 72). Her writing changed the way people looked at the environment. It taught them how to love and appreciate the nature around them and understand that humans are not the only creatures that live in this world. Rachel Carson's writing also stated that people had a responsibility to take care of the environment. After all human products were responsible for damaging it. The world has changed around us and is continuing to change. Men have polluted our planet and continue to destroy it. But if we take the time to look at Rachel's work we can see what she saw and maybe have the power to change it.

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Rachel Carson's passion for the environment led her to pursue a degree in biology which was rare for women at this time period. She was an intelligent person and already a skillful writer. At first she went to get a degree in English, but decided to change her major to Biology despite what others said to her. "Though her school and classmates tried to discourage her from pursuing biology, she persisted in her interest, and in 1929 she received her B.A. in Science magna cum laude"(Rachel Carson). At that time few women went into the sciences because it was seen as work for men.  Even so Rachel was determined to achieve her goals. After she graduated from Pennsylvania College for women, she went on to get a masters degree in Zoology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She displayed the inner strength of a hero because she wouldn't give up her dream just because she was a woman. She proved that if you set your mind to one thing you can achieve any goal that you have in life. Rachel Carson had intended to get her PhD but lacked the money to continue her education. She decided to take the civil service exam in order to get a job with the government. "After outscoring all other applicants on the civil service exam, in 1936 Carson became the second woman hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries"( National Women's History Museum). Her job with the Bureau of Fisheries gave her the opportunity to not only continue her research into marine biology but also allowed her to write and publish many articles and books. She took this job to support her mother, sister, and her two nieces. She didn't want to see her family fall apart so she put them first instead of herself and applied for a job that was usually only given to men. She never gave up and showed the world to not give up as well. Rachel inspired women and men to follow their dreams and despite about what other people thought of them. She showed the world how to be confident and never give up.

Rachel, as an environmentalist taught the world to see what she saw. She was able to put her words into a simple imagery that people could better understand. She exposed the world to environmental issues in hopes to bring awareness to how humans were destroying the planet. "Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is -- whether its victim is human or animal -- we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity"(Rachel Carson).  During her time with the US Bureau of Fisheries,  Rachel's concerns for nature led her to create several pamphlets on conservation and natural resources. Her intentions were to bring attention to the environment and to show people how the planet was being affected by the very people living on it. Rachel wanted the world to become a better place with no cruelty where man and animal could live in harmony together. Humanity itself was the cause of the destruction of our planet and Rachel was trying to change that. To bring awareness to the world Rachel wrote several books on how the world was being polluted. Her books topics included chemical pesticides, the relationships of different species (seabirds, fish and eels) and how ecosystems survived and were created. In 1962 Rachel published the book Silent Spring which discussed how the use of chemical pesticides such as DDT were affecting the environment. This book received so much attention that many people converted to environmentalism. ". Rachel Carson catalyzed the global environmental movement with her 1962 book Silent Spring... that ultimately led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)"(National Women's History Museum). Carson's voice and passion for the environment led to many significant changes in governmental policies. Even  President John F. Kennedy was quoted saying that her book was one of the reasons why the government was looking at their policies on chemical pollution, " Yes.  I think particularly since Miss Carson's book, but they are examining the matter" (President John F. Kennedy, August 29, 1962, Presidential News Conference). When her book Silent Spring came out, there was a great deal of political and commercial resistance. No one wanted to believe that pesticides were affecting crops, agricultural industries and human development because they trusted that the companies and the government would protect them from harm. Rachel was the voice for the environment and helped make changes that affect us today. She was a strong woman who believed that anything was possible if you set your mind to it. She taught us that giving up is never the answer because if you give up then you are setting yourself up to fail. The world was able to see what she saw in their own perspectives and they were able to help evolve the planet into what it is today.

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As a pioneer for environmentalism and a role model for women, Rachel Carson shaped the policies for human and environmental health and inspired the world. Using her abilities as a writer, her knowledge as a scientist and her love for nature, Rachel spent most of her life researching environmental issues and educating the public. Her passion for nature led her to help the government establish new guidelines about the environment. Rachel was the kind of person who never gave up, she had a goal and did her best to achieve it. What she accomplished throughout her life as a scientist and a writer was incredible on it's own. The fact that she wrote Silent Spring and changed the public opinion about the environment while battling cancer, taking care of her elderly mother and adopting her 5 year old grand nephew just underlines what an exceptional person she was on a personal and a professional level. I think of Rachel as a hero because she wanted to make a difference in the world by building an awareness of environmental issues and empowering women. Her passion and determination to protect all living things inspires me and  my love for the ocean motivating my desire to be a Marine Biologist.


Works Cited

Fabiny, Sarah, and Dede Putra. Who Was Rachel Carson? NY, NY, USA, Grosset & Dunlap, an

Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2014."

"Lear, Linda. "Rachel Carson's Biography." Rachel Carson, Biography, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Accessed 1 May 2017"

"National Women's History Museum." Education & Resources - National Women's History Museum

- NWHM, Debra Michals, 5 Feb. 2010, Accessed 3 May 2017.

"Rachel Carson." Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, vol. 1, Gale, 1990. Biography in Context, Accessed 1 May 2017.

"Rachel Carson." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 May 2017, Accessed 4 May 2017.

"Rachel Carson." Famous Scientists. 6 Dec. 2016. Web. 5/16/2017


Page created on 5/24/2017 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/24/2017 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

rachel carson bio - this is her biography
information about her life - Rachel''s past
Rachel''s book silent spring and how she changed the world - how Rachel made the world see problems differently