February 7, 2023 8:29 PM
There are times when we begin to see things in a completely different way. In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring led to a shift in how people viewed the pesticide DDT by portraying the silence of a world without birds. This publication was a watershed moment. Until then, DDT had been seen as a vital input to US food production. Henceforth it would be regarded widely as poison that hangs around for ever. In the few months before she died, Carson was feted by many scientists but vilified by the chemical industry. Policy change proceeded slowly, but within a decade DDT was banned and the Environmental Protection Agency established.