Celebrating Rachel Carson's Centennial (2007)

  1. Proclamation of Rachel Carson Day May 27, 2007, Mayor's Office, City of Newton, Massachusetts 
  2. Remarks by Ellie Goldberg, May 2007: The Legacy of Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964)   

    Proclamation of Rachel Carson Day May 27, 2007
      Whereas we believe in the power of the individual to make a difference; and

      Whereas Rachel Carson's birthday, May 27, is an annual opportunity to remember the biologist, ecologist and author and celebrate her legacy; and

      Whereas, Rachel Carson taught us that our health is intimately connected to the health of our environment, and that we must remain diligent to protect the natural ecosystem to maintain the health of the world’s citizens; and

      Whereas the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962 generated a worldwide environmental movement and led to the creation of the U.S. EPA, the U.S. ban on DDT, and environment regulations such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act; and

      Whereas Rachel Carson faced overwhelming illness and adversity, and yet retained her unwavering motivation to speak out about the hazards of pesticides due to her unabashed love of nature and sense of responsibility for human health and the public interest; and

      Whereas, raising awareness of Rachel Carson's life and legacy can inspire citizens to get involved in efforts to protect our water, food and air from contamination;

      Now, therefore, be it resolved, that I, David B. Cohen, Mayor of the City of Newton, do hereby proclaim May 27, 2009 Rachel Carson Day in the City of Newton and do further call on our citizens to remember the power of Rachel Carson’s words and the example of her life.

      With a determined collaboration, we can together promote the health and preservation of our environment; and commit to ecological and sustainable principles for landscaping and pest control in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and throughout our community.

      Remarks by Ellie Goldberg, May 2007: The Legacy of Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964)   VIDEO

      I am glad to have the opportunity to honor Rachel Carson during her Centennial Year.  Rachel Carson taught me the most important lesson of my life -- that our health is intimately connected and dependent on the quality of the environment.  Rachel Carson was not really an environmentalist; she was an ecologist.   She understood our world is our life support system and that contaminating air, water and food was a violation of human rights.

      Rachel Carson had the courage, the confidence, the reverence for life, and the sense of responsibility to speak out against widespread pesticide abuse and environmental degradation.  In fact, she wrote about global climate change in 1948.

      While all of Carson's writings stand the test of time, Silent Spring, published in 1962, deserves special focus because it is a Call to Action.  Now, as the growing evidence continues to make the link between illnesses at every stage of the life cycle and the contamination of our water, air and food, we know that Rachel Carson was right.  Prevention is the imperative.

      Rachel Carson inspires me to ask: What would Rachel Say? It is a clear ethic for evaluating our public policies such as the state's continuing permit of the widespread use of pesticides and even aerial spraying as our families and communities experience growing rates of asthma, cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders and in spite of the loss of biodiversity, especially the pollinators.

      The National Resource Defense Council calls Silent Spring one of the landmark books of the 20th century.  It points out how Rachel Carson faced overwhelming illness and adversity, and in spite of an orchestrated chemical industry campaign to discredit her work, she "rose like a gladiator …motivated by her unabashed love of nature and sense of responsibility."  Thanks to Rachel, an enlightened public and their legislators eventually created the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

      Rachel inspires us to think of ourselves, not as whistle blowers or canaries in the mine, but as guardians, steadfast sentries, and defenders of our community.  Thanks to Rachel we can see ourselves as sentinel lions, the universal symbol of protection at the entrances of cities, buildings, bridges... guarding the treasures of community.

      In remembering Rachel, we can work together to foster a culture of Sentinel Lions who, like Rachel Carson, is motivated to take responsibility for the health of their communities and to work for sustained political and cultural change to make public health a priority.

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