” There is something healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
In 2010, Time Magazine named Rachel Carson—biologist, conservationist, author— “one of the most powerful women in the world, in the past century.” I like to think of her as the “Mother of environmentalism.” Famous for her work on the dangers of pesticide use, she is the author of “Silent Spring,” one of the most influential books on ecological disasters.
A bronze statue by sculptor David Lewis was installed in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in July, 2013. The life-sized statue reminds us to take better care of the natural world. For her work, which paves the way for tighter control of poisonous sprays, environmental toxins, and chemical spills, she was posthumously awarded the President Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.
Closer to my home, you’ll find another smaller statue in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC. It’s located in the Rachel Carson Wildlife Gardens. Ms. Carson was employed by the US Dept. of Fisheries, and lived in NC, where she studied diverse habitats. NC likes to claim her as one their our own.
Of note, Beaufort, NC, is home to the Rachel Carson Reserve. Accessible by boat or ferry, you’ll find different environments cohabitating – tidal flats, salt marshes, sand dunes, ocean beaches, maritime forests and 30 wild horses. I had the pleasure of visiting the reserve where I imagined Rachel taking observation notes, toiling in the muck, and basking in the beauty of the unspoiled nature.
Rachel passed away at the age of 56 from cancer. She had just completed her insightful masterpiece, “Silent Spring.” If you’ve never read it, please do. It will make you think twice before dumping something in the ocean, throwing trash out the car window or holding onto the concept that “global warming” is a trope.
She was truly an amazing woman,. She deserves to be memorialized in stone, etched in bronze and remembered for her achievements. I wish there were more of her – in stone and in life.