In one of the last public speeches of her life, Rachel Carson addressed the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco. Her thoughts on that occasion resonate today with even more clarity, as much that she feared in 1963 has become our reality.
In that speech “On the Pollution of Our Environment” she said, “In spite of the truly marvelous inventiveness of the human brain, we are beginning to wonder whether our power to change the face of nature should not have been tempered with wisdom, for our own good, and with a greater sense of responsibility for the welfare of generations to come.” Rachel Carson used her knowledge of science and her early understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things to advocate for policy based on science.
The challenges we are facing today can be addressed by recognizing that the laws of Nature are not negotiable. We must adjust our laws, our ways of interacting with the living earth and each other to align more closely to accommodate the laws of chemistry, physics, physiology and ecology.
Here is a presentation I gave for the C.F. Reynolds Medical Historical Society on September 20, 2022.
This will be the closing chapter in my forthcoming book, “In the Footsteps of Rachel Carson” with Urban Press.