Download Angelica R. Rico-The Silent Spring (Chapters 1-3)

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DATE: MARCH 3, 2022
By: Rachel Carson
Chapter 1: A Fable for Tomorrow
In the first chapter of this book, Rachel Carson tells the short imaginary story of a “town in the heart of
America”. She describes this town as full of harmony where there are very prosperous farms, blooming
flowers, singing birds, colorful maple and oak during autumn, foxes barked, and deer silently crossing
the fields. She even describes how the roads full of beautiful sceneries of the different trees and flowers
caught the eye of every travelers. She even tell that the countryside is very famous for the abundance
of bird life that even travelers from far away land traveled miles away just to see them. The countryside
is also famous for its fishes which can be found in the streams.
But, Carson only uses this representation of what this “town in the heart of America” being an
undisturbed countryside “before”.
Soon after, Carson spoke of something that destroyed this harmony and changes everything
over the area. She describes that some evil spell have settled on the community. Chickens
disappeared, the cattle and sheep got sick and even died. Death can be seen all over the
countryside. Even members of the family got sick and doctors don’t even know what causes this illness
among the people. Deaths were unexplained and not only happened to adults but even young
children got sick while playing outside and died just after a few hours.
Carson describes that this was a strange illness. Birds also disappeared. A once undisturbed
nature now became covered with dark and silence. There were complains everywhere. Farmers
cannot even raise pigs, hens brooded but no chicks hatched, even apple trees cannot produce fruits.
A once beautiful countryside being visited by far away travelers has no longer visitation for the birds
disappeared and there were no fishes on the streams at all.
This chapter tells us that death and decay of our nature was at the hands of the human race.
Rachel Carson places a sense of responsibility on her audience to encourage them to stay informed
about the environmental issues the world is facing and to take action to reverse and prevent the horrors
she presented.
What I realized the most while reading this chapter is that, it is truly our responsibility to take good
care of our nature. According to the bible, God created mankind to sees over His creations. What
Rachel Carson describes on the “before” nature of the “town in the heart of America” might actually
happen to us. As our technology advances, there are a lot of changes that is happening to our
environment. A lot of forest had been swept out for some new building, water shortage due to
overpopulation, soil and water erosion caused by landslide and flooding, greater number of typhoons
in a year, and even our natural sceneries had been taken over by man-made creations. We
experienced more changes in our climate because of our own doings. What happen to the
countryside on the story of Rachel Carson was also once the doings of the people who live there.
It is not actually late for our today’s generation to change the way we treat our environment.
Government must provide different programs and activities that would enhance more to upkeep our
nature. As Dalai Lama says, “It is our collective and individual responsibility… to preserve and tend the
world in which we all live in”.
DATE: MARCH 3, 2022
By: Rachel Carson
Chapter 2: The Obligation to Endure
Carson emphasizes that living things and their environment has something to do with each other. In
this chapter, she pointed that the work and nature of humans have greatly affected the environment
in a negative way. She also emphasizes how throughout the known scientific history, environment has
always affected the organism but this time around, it's the humans who are affecting the environment.
She provides the scientific detail of how life forms adapt to their surrounding environment but
the rate at which humans are destroying the environment is far too fast for organisms to adjust to. This
is especially true in that organisms evolve as a population, not as an individual and when their
environment is changing rapidly, there is no way for the population to evolve and it ends up going
extinct. One way that humans have damaged the environment is through the contamination of large
sources of life. Lethal chemicals contaminate our water, our land and even the air that we breathe.
Carson places great emphasis on the steps we have taken that have greatly altered the mechanics
of nature.
In this chapter, people were told that DDT is necessary for farm production, but in fact there is a
problem of food overproduction: each year the U.S. pays one billion dollars to subsidize the surplusfood storage program. This disconnect between reality and the language used by politicians or people
in the industry is typical of the logic of urgency that many lawmakers use to justify insecticide use
whenever there is a pest problem that they view as a ‘crisis.’ In addition to the problem of regulation
of pesticides, there is a lack of research into the negative consequences of these materials according
to Carson. Industry officials dominate discussion of the topic, silencing protests that urge caution and
issuing false assurances of safety. The public must actively demand to know the facts about pesticide
use before continuing down its current path of action.
From the creation of biocides such as DDT to the development of atomic bombs, we have
neared total destruction of all life on earth. Our microscopic developments that were intended to
benefit the human race has resulted in large environmental and genetic impacts that threaten the
world we live in.
In this chapter, Carson is telling us to undergo further research and investigations of the chemical
insecticides we are using. We must not put our future generations to harm because of our lack of
prudent concern for the integrity of our natural world. Now that our era is full of specialists, all of us must
be aware of the consequences and harm we make to our environment because of the different
inventions of our generations.
Much of the necessary knowledge is now available so we must use it. Our country trained
hundreds of ecologists in the different universities and even employ them in our governmental
agencies, so we must always take their advices. We must not allow more destruction, harms, and
deaths just because we do not take alternative ways and deny the fact there are always an another
way. As Carson emphasizes on the last paragraph of this chapter, “The public must decide whether it
wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts.” In
the words of Jean Rostand, “The obligation to endure gives us the right to know.”
DATE: MARCH 3, 2022
By: Rachel Carson
Chapter 3: Elixirs of Death
In the third chapter of Carson’s Book, she reveals the details on how human is being exposed to death
due to contact with harmful chemicals. These dangerous chemicals have already been distributed all
over the world. Evidences shown on the soil, rivers, bodies of birds and fishes. Animals were being used
as a test for the effectiveness of the chemicals.
The chemical is transmitted from mothers who transferred DDT through the placenta during
pregnancy or in their breastmilk. DDT is often thought of as harmless, because it was used in powder
form to combat lice during WWII - however, in liquid form it is much more toxic, and can accumulate
in the body over time. Scientists disagree about what level of accumulation is tolerable, but studies
have shown that a majority of people carry unsafe levels stored in their bodies’ fat cells and vital
organs, where it can build up over time. DDT in fat cells is then released over time with exertion, leading
to chronic poisoning.
In this chapter, Carson provided list of the different types of pesticides. She underlines their
varieties and how widespread they are. Synthetic and organically classified chemicals such as Arsenic,
Chlordane, Heptachlor, Dieldrin, Aldrin, Endrin, and Parathion. The effects of these chemicals have
been greatly underestimated, believed to only serve the purpose they were made for when in reality
they have the power to destroy life and its natural balance. Carson describes the man-made
chemicals such as DDT which have been proven to be incredibly deadly. She states that the intake of
these chemicals, whether through skin contact or through respiration, results in the chemicals being
stored in organisms and when they mix with other chemicals, they show much more dangerous effects.
Most contamination's of chemicals in organisms even have the power to affect the organism
genetically and can lead to cancerous results.
Along with these chemicals also exist a set of herbicides which are even classified as
“mutagens”, those which are capable of changing our genetic makeup. Despite these dangers which
are so similar to radiation effects, we still allow them to exist in our everyday lives.
The idea that DDT and other toxins can be passed across the ‘germ line,’ which is to say, from
generation to generation, raises a new set of moral questions. We are not only poisoning ourselves, but
also transferring mutations and toxins to the next generation, who bear no responsibility for our creation.
In this chapter, Carson tells us how deadly these chemicals are. Carson highlights how little we
know about the effect and behavior of the chemicals we are using in our modern generation. She
even emphasizes that even in our modern world, these chemicals are even more deadly. Therefore, it
is our responsibility on how we handle these chemicals. The fact that the development of many
pesticides came as a result of weapons research during World War II further supports Carson’s idea of
a ‘war against nature,’ and in reminding us as her readers of this fact. Carson also underlines the
strangeness of this former weapon being used as though it were completely harmless, highlighting its
dangerous effects on the nervous system.
Carson also warned us that, although individual chemicals can be tested in isolation, the ways
that they will interact in the environment- or even within the body itself- are much more difficult to
predict. As Carson said herself, “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are
never alone or weary of life. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength
that will endure as long as life lasts. The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonder and
realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”