Commentary: As Silent Spring's 50th anniversary nears, what would Rachel Carson be saying now?

Many people have the impression that climate disruption is the worst environmental problem humanity faces, and indeed, its consequences may be catastrophic. But the spread of toxic chemicals from pole to pole may be the dark horse in the race. We could just pursue business as usual and count on luck to save civilization. Maybe no truly lethal synergies will turn up, or no new chemical will become global before it is discovered to cause cancer. Maybe the poisonings will not collapse ecological systems and bring down civilization. Perhaps advances in molecular biology will neutralize any dangerous new chemicals or cure any serious diseases that appear. And perhaps they won’t. Is it wise to sit by and not take substantial measures? In democracies, the decision rests ultimately with the citizens; I think it is crystal clear what Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book Silent Spring, would have recommended.