Hi. My name is Abir. I am here to tell you the story of Silent Spring – The Book That Killed Thousands. Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, influenced the banning of DDT,a chemical that was being over sprayed in the U.S.A. Although Rachel Carson triumphed over authority, banning DDT caused deadly mosquitoes to be common, tragically infecting and killing many people unnecessarily because of malaria outbreaks.
Rachel Carson needed to convince people that banning DDT would be a good idea.She needed support. . After all, you can’t hand in a petition with one name on it! After 5 long years of research, she wrote a book called Silent Spring with the theme of “ The Balance of Nature.” She wrote about chemicals such as DDT and why they should get rid of them due to the dangers. She meant that the people shouldn’t plague themselves with cancer, and other diseases to get rid of a few pests. I think she was right about DDT
When Carson shocked America in the best way possible by telling them the truth about DDT, she was triumphant, and continued to reap more rewards out of her amazing novel. After all, the FDA had told them DDT was completely safe! She wrote letter after letter, pestering Richard Nixon to ban the chemical and a few months later, he gave in. The ban was a huge triumph. After the U.S. banned DDT, other European countries followed, finally ending in the world. But now there was a problem. Soon after Rachel Carson passed away, thousands of malaria outbreaks popped up. And nobody had a solution.
Sadly, because of the absence of DDT, malaria outbreaks began appearing all over the world. Third world countries in Asia and Africa were affected the most. In India, the number of people diagnosed with malaria rose from six thousand to six million. Present day Sri Lanka’s (Ceylon)infections were just starting to die down, but skyrocketed when DDT was banned. Malaria killed twenty percent of the people it hit, and this disease spread in like butter thought villages, cities, countries, and continents. In South Africa, the countries malaria infections were amplified by five leaving most of the communities sick as a dog. This was a huge tragedy, even for densely populated areas. Many of the victims wanted DDT back. After all, around 7.8 percent of the world’s population suffers because of DDT. On the other hand, some scientists say that DDT should have been continued for medical purposes. However, Rachel argued that if DDT was overused, then people would have suffered from lung disease. Overall, it was pick your poison – malaria or cancer.
– One September evening, I was listening to a BBC podcast about the role a book titled “Silent Spring” played in shaping the environment. I decided to research more about the story of Rachel Carson triumphing over the government, but tragically infecting many people with malaria. That’s when I thought that this would be a great NHD topic – Silent Spring – The Book That Killed Thousands.
Silent Spring fits this year’s topic well because
although the triumph of Rachel Carson was significant, the tragedy was greater when thousands were diagnosed with malaria. My research provides many different points of view on the tragic events of the story, from Rachel Carson’s standpoint to a medical agent at the time. However Rachel Carson’s triumph may have saved many from various types of cancer and gave Rachel Carson and her supporters a sense of achievement.
One of the hardest things to tackle through this year’s experience was constructing my board. It was frustrating to print things over and over again because they had a typo, or even a grammar mistake. But in the end, it turned out alright. ( I think )
One fun fact that I encountered on my path of research was that Rachel Carson once had to testify in front of the U.S. Senate! I was surprised at this because even though Rachel might have influenced the ban, she certainly didn’t do anything illegal. This reminded me of Galileo getting a punishment for his own thoughts. Thankfully, Rachel Carson didn’t get in trouble.
When I first started my research, I wanted some prior knowledge on the topic so I read some articles and books on Rachel Carson. Then I started looking for books that would give me primary sources, such as What a Book Can Do by Priscilla Coit Murphy. One of my best secondary sources was a graph of malaria outbreaks in Ceylon ( present on my board ) that helped me understand the severity of the situation that Sri Lanka was in.
My topic is very significant because Carson stopped us from destroying nature even faster. If we still used DDT, cancer would be much more common, creating more deaths than the malaria epidemic did. The triumph and tragedy of Silent Spring is definitely one of the most important books because of its integral strength and its powerful moral – “Save nature”. Today, many scientists follow in Rachel Carson’s footsteps because of the environment troubles we have in 2019. I think if Rachel Carson’s love for nature and bright thinking hadn’t saved us, we would all be regretting our actions later.
I hope you learned a lot about this important event in our nation’s fascinating history. Thank you for listening to our presentation. I hope you enjoyed it.