The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve always thought of myself as a conservationist, but after reading Silent Spring, I am rethinking what that term means to me. Up until now, I’ve happily tromped through the woods thinking that by leaving no trace behind, I can still enjoy the bounty of nature while remaining a “treehugger”. Sure, I pack out all of my trash while I’m hiking – but what about all of the trash I create while at home?
Silent Spring tells us that the poison we use to combat nature will in time come back to haunt us. Because of her influence, we have stopped using DDT, and companies are much more mindful of the pollutants that they use in their products. But, how far have we come in the past 50 years? We’ve begun the aerial assault on insects again this past year… just like we did years ago when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring.
And what about all of the everyday poisons we use at home? Ant baits, cockroach sprays, mildew remover… what happens when those leech out of our drains and pipes and spill over into the rivers and estuaries? We have come so far in our environmental conservation only to be undone by pouring our expired medications down the drain. I am so happy that our boy scout troops and girl scout troops are taught the values of environmental conservation while they are out camping and hiking. I am thankful that schools and libraries promote recycling and the value of preserving nature. But as Rachel Carson so eloquently points out in Silent Spring, not only do we need to protect nature while we are enjoying the splendor outside, we need to protect nature while we are living our every day lives.