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Environmentalist Spotlight

Apr 24, 2013

Inspiring Women TimelineEnvironmentalist and writer Rachel Carson is often credited with stirring the modern global environmental movements, like Earth Day, which today is celebrated by more than one billion people in 180 countries worldwide. Her book, Silent Spring, published in 1962, described the devastating effects pesticides have on the environment. Because of Rachel’s writing, these toxic pesticides like DDT were eventually banned.

Rachel was born in 1907 in a small rural Pennsylvania community and spent most of her childhood exploring forests and streams around her 65-acre farm. “I was rather a solitary child and spent a great deal of time in woods and beside streams, learning the birds and insects and flowers,” Rachel said in a 1954 speech to the Society of Women Journalists. Her biggest passions were nature and writing; at the age of 10, she saw her work published in a children’s magazine.

Her combined passions of writing and nature led Rachel to study biology and eventually get an advanced degree in zoology. She found work as both a writer and biologist, creating radio scripts for a series called The Romance of the Seas. Rachel’s gift was to communicate science to a mainstream audience at a time when few people even cared about the environment. Through her tireless research and moving prose, she raised public awareness about the environment and public health.

Time magazine included Rachel in its collection of the 100 most important people of the 20th century by writing, “Before there was an environmental movement, there was one brave woman and her very brave book.”

Girls on the It’s Your Planet—Love It! Journey can take Rachel’s lead by knowing that they can make a difference by finding an environmental issue and making change happen. Read more about Rachel on our Inspiring Women Timeline.