Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Things You Might Not Know About Rachel Carson. . .

Because Rachel Carson is so famous I think we instinctively think we know a great deal about her.  In many ways her biography has been lost within her iconic status as an environmental hero.  Yet historians like to focus in on the small details and here are some facts you might not have known about Rachel Carson:

1.  Rachel Carson was the subject of several Peanut's cartoons.  While Charlie Brown is not usually considered political satire, Charles Schulz used Carson as a counterpart to Lucy's uncontrolled temperment.

2.  Carson's first full-time job was as a Junior Aquatic Biologist in the Bureau of Fisheries at the princely sum of $38.48 a week.

3.  Carson's books have been adapted at least twice rather unsuccessfully.  In 1953 Irwin Allen won an academy award for documentary  "The Sea Around Us"--a very loose adaptation of her book of the same name.  Allen went on to fame as the "master of disaster" for films like "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno."  Later ABC made a film of "A Sense of Wonder" that is barely watchable today. The world still awaits (with trepidation) the film adaptation of "Silent Spring."

4.  Carson first became acquainted with the effects of DDT through her editing of scientific papers from Patuxent Research Refuge and early press releases she authored beginning in 1945.

5.  During World War 2 Carson penned many recipes for increasing the nation's consumption of seafood as "fish was a fighting food" in wartime.

If you want more details on Carson's life you can look to Linda Lear's biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.

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