In 1958, Rachel Carson received a letter
1958 年，蕾切尔 · 卡森 收到了一封来信，
describing songbirds suddenly dropping from tree branches.
信里描述了一群鸣鸟 突然从树枝上跌落的情形 。
The writer blamed their deaths on a pesticide called DDT
that exterminators had sprayed on a nearby marsh.
The letter was the push Carson needed to investigate DDT.
She had already heard from scientists and conservationists who were worried
that rampant use of the pesticide posed a threat to fish, birds,
and possibly humans.
She began to make inquiries through government contacts
from her years working in the United States Bureau of Fisheries.
She asked: “what has already silenced the voices of spring?”
In 1962, Carson published her findings in "Silent Spring."
1962 年，卡森将她的发现 出版在了《寂静的春天》中。
Her book documented the misuse of chemicals
and their toll on nature and human health.
"Silent Spring" immediately drew both applause and impassioned dissent—
along with vicious personal attacks on the author.
How did this mild-mannered biologist and writer ignite such controversy?
Carson began her career as a hardworking graduate student,
balancing her studies in biology at John Hopkins University
当时她一边在约翰 · 霍普金斯大学 修读生物学，
with part time jobs.
Still, she had to leave school before completing her doctorate
to provide for her ailing father and sister.
Carson found part time work with the Bureau of Fisheries
writing for a radio program on marine biology.
Her ability to write materials that could hold the general public’s attention
impressed her superiors, and in 1936,
业务能力也因此受到了 上级的赏识，于是在 1936 年，
she became the second woman to be hired at the Bureau full time.
In 1941, she published the first of three books on the ocean,
1941 年，她出版了 海洋三部曲中的第一本，
combining science with lyrical meditations on underwater worlds.
These explorations resonated with a wide audience.
In "Silent Spring," Carson turned her attention
to the ways human actions threaten the balance of nature.
DDT was originally used during World War II to shield crops from insects
and protect soldiers from insect-borne diseases.
After the war, it was routinely sprayed in wide swaths to fight pests,
often with unforeseen results.
One attempt to eradicate fire ants in the southern U.S.
killed wildlife indiscriminately, but did little to eliminate the ants.
In spite of this and other mishaps, the US Department of Agriculture
and chemical companies extolled the benefits of DDT.
There was little regulation or public awareness about its potential harm.
But Carson showed how the overuse of chemicals
led to the evolution of resistant species—
which, in turn, encouraged the development of deadlier chemicals.
Since DDT does not dissolve in water,
she asserted that over time it would accumulate in the environment,
the bodies of insects, the tissues of animals who consume those insects,
and eventually humans.
She suggested that exposure to DDT might alter the structure of genes,
with unknown consequences for future generations.
The response to "Silent Spring" was explosive.
For many people the book was a call to regulate substances
capable of catastrophic harm.
Others objected that Carson hadn’t mentioned DDT’s role
controlling the threat insects posed to human health.
Former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson demanded to know
前农业部部长 埃兹拉 · 塔夫脱 · 本森则傲慢发问：
“why a spinster with no children was so concerned about genetics?”
and dismissed Carson as “probably a Communist.”
A lawyer for a pesticide manufacturer alluded to Carson and her supporters
as “sinister influences” aiming to paint businesses as “immoral.”
In reality, Carson had focused on the dangers of chemicals
because they weren’t widely understood, while the merits were well publicized.
She rejected the prevailing belief that humans
should and could control nature.
Instead, she challenged people to cultivate
“maturity and mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves.”
Carson died of cancer in 1964,
1964 年，距《寂静的春天》出版 仅仅过去两年，
only two years after the publication of "Silent Spring."
Her work galvanized a generation of environmental activists.
In 1969, under pressure from environmentalists,
1969 年， 在环保主义者的施压下，
Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act
that required federal agencies to evaluate environmental impacts of their actions.
To enforce the act,
President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.
And in 1972, the EPA issued a partial ban on the use of DDT.
1972 年，环保局宣布 对滴滴涕有条件的禁用。
Long after her death, Rachel Carson continued to advocate for nature
尽管已逝世许久， 蕾切尔 · 卡森仍继续
through the lingering impact of her writing.