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Silent Spring

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Submitted By tmarie1989
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Biology I
Silent Spring Book Review

The four chapters of Silent Spring that I am reviewing are the first four of the book. I decided to do the first four because after reading this book, I thought that those chapters had the biggest impact of my views in the world’s pesticide problem. The first chapter of Silent Spring is a very powerful, fictional, yet possible fable of what can happen to the Earth, because of pesticide use. This chapter starts with describing a beautiful town in America. It describes the farms, the trees, and the wildlife that all live in harmony. Then the chapter begins to describe the plague that this town experiences. All of the wildlife and plants begin to die, and all the people in the town begin to get very ill. Eventually the town becomes silent and everything has withered and died. The most powerful part of this chapter is the fact that it could be true. The second chapter of this book describes the history of life. It talks about how living things affect its surroundings. I have always been taught that with every action there is a reaction. In this chapter, people use pesticides to get rid of the insects that are harming their crops. As they put it, the pesticides should really be called biocides, because they affect more than just the insects. The pesticides get into everything, including humans. Without knowing it we all become affected by the pesticides. The sad part is, is that even though pesticides are harmful to us and our surroundings, we keep making them stronger and stronger because the insects keep adapting to them. These chemicals that we as humans are spreading on our crops, gardens, and even in our homes, linger on the plants and soil that they may not even be intended to affect. The purpose of this chapter is not to speak badly about pesticide use, but to educate the people and its users about its affects. Some people may be ignorant about whether or not using chemicals is necessary and whether or not they are harming more than their weeds and insects. These chemicals really harm its entire surroundings which includes other people. In the third chapter in this book, the author goes on to explain that these chemicals are now found absolutely everywhere. It is scary to think that no matter what we do, we are all subject to being exposed to harmful chemicals, even before we are born. The numbers of new and more deadly chemicals listed in this chapter is very alarming. After the Second World War, insects were used to test chemicals used in warfare. Scientists then discovered more and more ways to change the chemicals to make them more harmful. Since then, the production of synthetic pesticides went from over 124,159,000 pounds to over 637,666,000 pounds in less than twenty years. This chapter goes on to explain the different ways arsenic has been used. It is a very deadly chemical that is easily found in various locations. After WWII, the use of arsenic was the center of an epidemic due to arsenical poisoning. It contaminated its surroundings and caused sickness and death to any wildlife that was exposed to it. It was carelessly used to by farmers who would spread the arsenic dusts and sprays over their crops. It is a dangerous and yet again another scary idea to think that any chemical used to “kill” weeds and insects, is safe for humans. In the fourth chapter, we learn that along with our crops being polluted, so is our precious waterways. Both unintentional and intentionally, people are spreading these harmful chemicals to our surface waters and underground seas. When various waters have been tested in labs, they have found that our “drinking” water has enough insecticide to kill the fish that was used to test it. Although water may look harmless, many water sources contain an invisible pollutant coming from crops that were previously sprayed. When we spray the fields and crops, the insecticides and herbicides will drain from the rain and can sometimes drain into our waterways. When reading this chapter it reminded me of how after the Gulf Coast oil spill, the news reported that the water was safe and clear. If the water is safe and clear, why are so many fish and sharks still dying? Just recently I visited one of the islands in Biloxi. There were dead sharks and fish everywhere. Made me wonder if the dispersant that was used to clear up the oil was the cause of these animals still dying and if that was the case then it probably is still not safe for us to eat the seafood that comes from these waters. It is plain to see that with all of the pollution going on in the world today, that there is now no such thing as pure water. The Earth’s life cycle ensures that the polluted plants, soil, and water will continue to recycle itself. When it rains the pollutants in the plants and soil will only wash into the waterways until it is evaporated and released again. It is a never ending deadly cycle. Considering this book was written in the 1960’s, I believe that our problems with pesticides have only gotten worse since then. It is only the matter of whether or not we are educated on its progress and effects. The author, Rachel Carson, touched a subject that many people try to hide from society. I believe that it is not widely talked about because people don’t want to scare others with its possibilities of danger. I would recommend this book to anyone. Everyone should read it, so they too realize the hidden dangers of pesticides and chemicals. Ignorance can be so dangerous to so many people, that’s why the author seems to feel so strongly on letting others know more about the dangers pesticides cause.

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