The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Will Rachel Carson Be the First Woman on the $20 Bill?
There’s a movement afoot to put a woman on the $20 bill and retire the slavery-supporting, Trail-of-Tears-blazing President Andrew Jackson from his long-held post.
Among the top 15 nominees is marine biologist Rachel Carson. In 1962, Carson authored Silent Spring, a seminal book for the environmental movement that warned of the degradation of natural systems if pesticide use continued unchecked. Drawing from many scientific studies, she described how DDT enters the food chain by accumulating in the fatty tissues of animals (humans, too). Today DDT is classified internationally as a probable carcinogen that persists in the environment for long periods.
Silent Spring was a bestseller, in part because, as the President’s Science Advisory Committee under John F. Kennedy acknowledged when it examined and later defended Carson’s findings, the American public had previously been unawares that pesticides were toxic.
The scientific community also largely backed Carson up, but chemical companies and some government scientists went on the attack. Carson’s gender was regularly used as a means to undermine her work; she was called “hysterical,” a “nun of nature,” and a “sentimental woman who loved cats.”
During the several years it took to finish Silent Spring, Carson learned she had breast cancer—a diagnosis she kept secret for fear that the chemical industry would use it to discredit her. She died in 1964. Carson didn’t live to see the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency six years later or the 1972 ban of the sale of DDT within the U.S.—two events she helped bring about.
Although best known for Silent Spring, Carson wrote three other bestsellers about the sea. Environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben once told the New York Times Magazine, “She was Jacques Cousteau before there was Jacques Cousteau.”
That may be true, but let’s remember her name was Rachel. And she’d look great on a $20.
This article was originally published by onEarth.
Editor's note: To learn more about the campaign and how to vote, watch here:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.