National Geographic News
Google doodle showing Rachel Carson.

Tuesday's Google Doodle celebrates the famed author and environmentalist Rachel Carson.


Christine Dell'Amore

National Geographic

Published May 27, 2014

Tuesday's Google Doodle honors the 107th birthday of Rachel Carson, the writer and environmentalist who warned of the widespread use of pesticides in her 1962 book Silent Spring.

Carson's landmark book documented the dramatic impact of human-produced chemicals on the natural world and is widely credited with launching the modern-day environmental movement.

Silent Spring detailed the previously unexamined and virtually unregulated practice of dumping, spraying, dusting, and otherwise distributing harmful chemicals into the environment. (Learn more about water pollution.)

The chemical industry, government scientists, and much of the media attacked Carson as hysterical, often invoking her gender. They challenged her facts and competency, but her book became a bestseller.

Reviewing Silent Spring in 1962, Time magazine cast doubt on its conclusions. Decades later, the magazine named Carson one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. (See " 'Silent Spring' 50 Years On, an Alarm Still Reverberating.")

Books on the Side

Carson grew up in the rural river town of Springdale, Pennsylvania, and inherited a lifelong love of nature from her mother, according to the Rachel Carson website.

She received a masters in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and eventually became the editor in chief of publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, writing articles and books on the side.

After World World II she became disturbed by the growing use of pesticides and wanted to warn the public about their dangers. (See "For the Birds: Remembering Rachel Carson.")

Carson testified before the U.S. Congress in 1963, calling for new policies to protect human health and the environment. She died of cancer the following year, at age 56.

Follow Christine Dell'Amore on Twitter and Google+.

Omar Rivera
Omar Rivera

There was an article a couple years back of a study done by one of the most liberal Universities in the U.S., Berkley Ca. in which people were given a yearly dosage of DDT daily for a year and studied them for 10 yrs. The results according to the study showed no side effects, no adverse effects on the human body an no deaths. Now DDT was banned in 1972 and there is an estimate that 1 million people die world wide every year because of mosquito borne diseases, so, to date ms. carson has been responsible in big part for the deaths of 42 million people around the world, not even Hitler can claim that distinction!

G Pigdish
G Pigdish

@Omar Rivera Where are you getting your "facts"? U.C. Berkley has done a test on the effects of DDT on humans but nothing like what you suggest.

The results were certainly not as you state either. DDT was banned as an agricultural pesticide in 1972 and even then only for production, all existing stockpiles could still be used. DDT is still used as an antimalarial pesticide in many parts of the world including Africa along with mosquito nets and other methods to control mosquitos.

Read this from the NIH:

Pull your head out of the sand and get your facts straight instead of spewing this nonsense.

Eric Dienr
Eric Dienr

@Omar Rivera That is just must work for the chemical industry! Go to the Wickipedia listing for Rachel Carson and read why your comment is countries where DDT has not been banned widspead use has caused mosquitoes to become resistant and now DDT in those areas is useless. If , as Carson suggested, the use is controled and  limited, then the chemical remains effective. Get your facts straight Omar !


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