In honor of International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month, we think it’s time to tip our hats to the mighty eco-warrior women championing conservation efforts around the world. From eco-conscious moms on the go to managers and CEOs of green companies, women are leading the charge to a clean and sustainable future. This month, we’re celebrating all women who are working to preserve our planet, and we’re testing your knowledge of eco-warrior women past and present!
Last month we asked you: What is the name of the American marine biologist and nature writer who is credited with advancing the modern environmental movement?
A. Jane Goodall B. Rachel Carson C. Dian Fossey D. Lois Gibbs
The correct answer is B. Rachel Carson. Congratulations to our Green Quiz winners: Irene Brennan, Katherine Emanuele, and Melissa Saylor!
Rachel Carson’s Journey & Legacy
Rachel Carson’s lifelong dedication to preserving nature can be traced back to her early years in rural Pennsylvania. Drawing inspiration from her family’s 65-acre farm, Carson was an avid explorer, reader, and writer, and was even published by age 11!
Carson’s strengths in literature and science continued to shape her young adult life. Midway through her college coursework in English, Rachel switched gears to study biology, and in 1929 began her graduate work in zoology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University. Just seven years later, Carson became only the second woman to be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries for a professional position.
As Rachel’s career at the Bureau blossomed she was also able to lend her voice to several prominent newspaper and magazine articles, leading her to complete her first book, Under the Sea Wind, in 1941. Transitioning to writing full-time, Carson went on to publish The Sea Around Us in 1950 and The Edge of the Sea, a volume dedicated to the study of organisms found in coastal environments in 1955.
Synthetic pesticides were long on Carson’s radar as an environmental threat, and in the fall of 1957 carcinogens like DDT were being considered for widespread pest eradication on private land. Encouraged by the Audubon Society to expose government spraying practices, Rachel began her research for what would become her most notable and controversial title, Silent Spring. In this groundbreaking work, Carson revealed the ugly truth behind synthetic pesticides, despite severe pushback from the chemical industry. As her own health declined from her long-fought battle with breast cancer, Rachel Carson continued to fight to enact policies to protect human health and our environment. Thanks largely to Rachel’s persistent research and efforts; the use of DDT was phased-out of use in the United States.
In an essay published following her death entitled, A Sense of Wonder, Carson offers words of advice to parents, encouraging them to see that their children experience, “the lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world, available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life.”