WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has introduced a resolution honoring the life of Rachel Carson, who was instrumental in the early days of grassroots environmental protection. She helped spark the movement to regulate pesticides that were found to be harmful to ecosystems across the country.
“Carson, a federal employee, Johns Hopkins graduate, resident of Silver Spring, Md., and writer for the Baltimore Sun, is considered by many, one of the most consequential environmentalists in American history,” said Senator Cardin. “Her writing bridged the gap between science and poetry, making the case for environmental protection accessible and personal to millions of Americans. School children now know her for her extraordinary research and efforts to prevent a Silent Spring, but her career encompassed much more. Rachel Carson understood the importance of environmental protection. I hope this resolution, much like her writings, inspires Americans to be forward looking environmental stewards on Earth Day, and beyond.”
Carson graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. with a master’s degree in zoology. She would go on to teach at Hopkins, the University of Maryland and work for the United States Bureau of Fisheries (now the United States Fish and Wildlife Service).
Her activism led to a nationwide federal ban on Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) which has been cited as instrumental in the resurgence of bald eagle populations. In 2015, there were more bald eagles in the Chesapeake Bay watershed than there were in the entire lower 48 states in 1972. Her seminal 1962 work Silent Spring detailed how synthetic chemicals can accumulate to destroy ecosystems by polluting water, soils, fish, and animals, including birds. Carson is credited with helping to expose the need for federal oversight in environmental protection, helping lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).