Responsibility Paper: The Silence of the Birds

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Rachael Carson and the Pesticides


This paper will identify the major players, perspectives, concerns, interests and pressures discussed in case study "The Silence of the Birds Rachael Carson and the Pesticides". The growth of industrialization brought about the development of many chemicals including pesticides and insecticides. At first it seemed these chemicals were miraculous discoveries until the negative effects began to shine through. Therefore, in 1962, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring showing how these pesticides were killing birds and poisonous to livestock and human beings.

Perspectives and Concerns

The Major players involved in "The Silence of the Birds," by Rachel Carson were many. The most major indeed was the United States. Rapidly growing chemical industries were developing insecticides to protect GI's during the war. Rachel Carson testified before Congress in 1963 about the harmful effects of pesticide use. Pesticides were killing birds in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Her work led to a ban on the insecticide DDT.

But much else related to her concern with the overall harmful long-term effects of pesticides on the natural cycles which exist between insects, air, water, and soil has been ignored (Carson, 1962).

According to Carson, pesticides are supposed to kill pests, insects, weeds, and rodents. These synthetic chemicals contaminate streams and groundwater and enter the bodies of fish and birds. They have "enormous biological potency" and destroy the enzymes whose function it is to protect the body. Without the proper oxidation from which the body gets energy, some cells will start on the road to malignancy. Spray dusts are used to protect farm crops, aerosol disinfectants are used in homes to kill bugs, and weed killers are regularly used in gardens. These practices contaminate and alter the tissues of plants and animals and can alter hereditary lineage. These are all processes that are...