“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
Rachel Carson wrote these words in 1954, only a few years before another woman, Elizabeth Cushman, wrote a thesis suggesting that student volunteers could help with growing conservation issues.
So it seems fitting that SCA Founder Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam recently received the Rachel Carson Leadership Award. The Award recognizes women who exemplify leadership and excellence in their work toward the preservation of the environment.
In presenting the award, Chatham University President Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D., stated, “The voices of both Rachel Carson and Elizabeth Putnam would eventually grow to a clarion call reminding the global community of our place in the web of life.” Ms. Carson graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women, now Chatham University, in 1929 and this year marks the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Carson, who died in 1964 at the age of 56, was an American marine biologist and nature writer whose writings are often credited with launching the global environmental movement. Although Carson started her career as a scientist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, she transitioned to a full-time nature writer in the 1950s, when she turned her attention to conservation and the environmental problems caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was her fourth book, Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns into the public eye. The grassroots environmental movement it inspired led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself ‘what if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’” These words of Carson’s, written so long ago, still resonate with many of us today. Have you read Silent Spring or any of Carson’s other works? Did they have an affect on your outlook, your life? We'd love to hear what you think.
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