The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson - Rare Pre-EPA Look at America (1963) Classic Documentary
The Environmental Protection Agency's humble beginnings during a time when there was No Protection from the illegal dumping of waste, polution of the air and water, and chemical plants producing pesticides that harm Earth's ecosystem including humans. The overriding theme of Silent Spring is the powerful—and often negative—effect humans have on the natural world. Carson's main argument is that pesticides have detrimental effects on the environment; she says these are more properly termed "biocides" because their effects are rarely limited to the target pests. DDT is a prime example, but other synthetic pesticides—many of which are subject to bioaccumulation—are scrutinized. Carson accuses the chemical industry of intentionally spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically. Most of the book is devoted to pesticides' effects on natural ecosystems, but four chapters detail cases of human pesticide poisoning, cancer, and other illnesses attributed to pesticides. About DDT and cancer The book documented the detrimental effects on the environment—particularly on birds—of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims unquestioningly. In the late 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation, especially environmental problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to the American public. Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, but it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses, and inspired an environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).