Silent Spring’s 50 Year Anniversary

An article about the seminal environmentalist book from the Property & Environment Research Center (PERC).

An excerpt.

“By dramatically revealing the potential dangers synthetic chemicals posed to the environment and human health‚ Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962a) served as a catalyst for the modern environmental movement. Today‚ Carson’s red flag still influences environmental law and policy.

“There have been many celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring. Most such symposiums at colleges and elsewhere are laudatory. This PERC Policy Series is not. A gimlet eye needs to be turned on any work that is hailed as contributing to the justification for more restrictions on innovation.

“Roger E. Meiners and Andrew P. Morriss argue that Carson’s red flag was raised too high. Here‚ the authors examine long-term trends and original-source data‚ rather than speculate and make assertions about alleged problems.

“Careful analysis of environmental issues requires hard thinking.

“This piece picks apart some of Carson’s most noted claims‚ such as the demise of birds due to DDT‚ and dulls her horror stories about the impending demise of people poisoned by modern technology.

“The authors conclude thatCarson’s celebrated scholarship was‚ at best‚ sloppy‚ and at worst‚ an intentional deceit.

“On the bright side‚ the fact that we are healthier and wealthier in 2012 than in 1962—and that the birds are still singing—is not the result of policies flowing from Silent Spring.” (To the Reader)

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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