Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.Rabbi J. Gordon
Silent Spring (1962)
- "The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."
- Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song.
- These sprays, dusts, and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes — nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the "good" and the "bad," to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in soil — all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects. Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life? They should not be called "insecticides," but "biocides."
- For each of us, as for the robin in Michigan or the Salmon in the Miramichi, this is a problem of ecology, of interrelationships, of interdependence. We poison the caddis flies in a stream and the salmon runs dwindle and die. We poison the gnats in a lake and the poison travels from link to link of the food chain and soon the birds of the lake margins become its victims. We spray our elms and the following springs are silent of robin song, not because we sprayed the robins directly but because the poison traveled, step by step, through the now familiar elm leaf-earthworm-robin cycle. These are matters of record, observable, part of the visible world around us. They reflect the web of life — or death — that scientists know as ecology.
- p. 189
- We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by— offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
- p. 277
- As crude a weapon as a cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.
- For all at last returns to the sea — to Oceanus, the ocean river, like the everflowing stream of time, the beginning and the end.
- For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.
- For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that you use it so little.
- If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in
- If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
- If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.
- If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life
- In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.
- In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.
- It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.
- It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks...
- It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators.
- Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life.
- My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon.
- No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves.
- One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space.
- One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'
- Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.
- Our attitude towards plants is a singularly narrow one. If we see any immediate utility in a plant we foster it. If for any reason we find its presence undesirable or merely a matter of indifference, we may condemn it to destruction forthwith.
- The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man.
- The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him
- The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery— not over nature but of ourselves.
- Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts
- Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
- Variant: Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
- To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feelthe breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.
- We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature.
- RachelCarson.org The life and legacy of Rachel Carson
- Time magazine's "100 most important people" article on Carson
- Silent Spring Institute Research on the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer
- The Mosquito Killer
- New York Times obituary
- Silent Spring at 40: Rachel Carson’s classic is not aging well Reason Online (12 June 2002).