Google is commemorating Rachel Louise Carson on its homepage today with an illustration to mark the environmentalist’s 107th birthday. The Google logo shows Carson in the wild, observing the creatures and environment she dedicated her life to preserving.
Born on this date in 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Carson was an accomplished writer, marine biologist and environmentalist. In her lifetime, Carson would write numerous articles about the environment for a variety of publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and Reader’s Digest.
Her 1962 novel Silent Spring, a commentary on the harmful effects of chemicals and pesticides on the environment, would lead to the banning of DDT and is credited with starting the environmental movement.
From Carson’s Silver Spring:
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
The most recent edition of Silver Spring includes an introduction by Al Gore, claiming she is the reason he become so conscious of the environment and so involved with environmental issues.
“Her picture hangs on my office wall among those of political leaders, presidents, and prime ministers,” writes Gore, “Carson has had as much or more an effect on me than any of them.”
Carson’s devotion to her natural surroundings led her to a masters degree in zoology from John Hopkins University in 1932. After graduating from John Hopkins, Carson began working for the US Bureau of Fisheries writing radio scripts, while freelancing for the Baltimore Sun.
Carson would eventually rise to the position of Editor in Chief for all US Fish and Wildlife Service publications.
Under the Sea Wind was Carson’s first novel published in 1941.
In 1951, Carson left her position with the US Fish and Wildlife Services to write full-time. Her second novel The Sea Around Us won the Nation Book Award for nonfiction in 1952, the same year she was awarded the John Burroughs Medal, the Henry Grier Bryant Gold Medal, a Geographical Society New York Zoological Society Gold Medal and received a Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to continue her marine biology research.
In 1963, the year following Silent Spring’s publication, Carson would testify before Congress, calling for new policies to protect human health and the environment.
After years of battling breast cancer, Carson died in 1964 in Silver Spring, Maryland.