Let’s start with a book that managed to forbid the use of a certain kind of pesticide, as well as to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States. We are talking about Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. She was a marine biologist – she actually published another book about her time as a Fish and Wildlife Service agent –, but due to family circumstances, she had to move to the countryside. She started to realize that there were some problems with domestic and wild animals and even people. In Silent Spring, she explains her discoveries regarding the situation between health problems and DDT, a powerful pesticide. It’s not a “technical” book, a little bit long (350 pages) but the writing is light and very well put together. As she goes on her discovery on what is happening, Carson gives some thoughts on how humans have tried to tame Nature to their interests, and how that is going to backfire eventually.
When the book was published, it shook the US society, as DDT was a well-known and widely used pesticide all over the country. Thanks to all the noise that her Silent Spring created, the government eventually created an organism of the protection of Nature (EPA). Sadly, Rachel Carson did not live to see it, as she died in 1964, two years after her book was published, and the EPA was officially created in 1970.
“How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind? Yet this is precisely what we have done. We have done it, moreover, for reasons that collapse the moment we examine them.”