Silent Spring: Effect through the Legal System

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The focus of this investigation will be, “To what extent did the book Silent Spring have an effect through the legal system?” and will analyze if this book had an impact on laws regarding the environment. The book Silent Spring primarily focuses on the potentially negative effects pesticides can have on the environment, and emphasizes the dangers of the pesticide DDT. Shortly after the book was published, Carson testified in front of a Senate subcommittee about pesticides, and argued that once these pesticides enter the biosphere, they not only kill insects, but through biomagnification can affect other species’ populations. This is also talked about and explained in the book Pesticides by Debra A. Miller, making these two sources crucial for this investigation.

Source: Carson, Rachel, and Lois Darling. Silent Spring. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1962.

This source could be of particular value to historians looking at this topic, because it deals with the topic at hand directly. Because this question pertains to this source in particular, it is essential for this book to be a main source, especially because it’s a primary source. Before analyzing if Silent Spring has had an effect through the legal system, there needs to be a complete understanding of the premise of the book to begin to comprehend why it would have enough of an effect to do so. This book is also educational in two senses; it’s educational in the sense of providing facts and case studies to prove the point Carson is trying to get across, but also educational in the sense that it educates the reader about the future. This means that when someone reads the book, it almost causes them to have an epiphany, realizing why this book had such an impact.

However, this source does have it’s limitations because it is all through the eyes of Carson. There can be different points of unintentional bias laced throughout the book, and since it’s all written by the same person, the whole book can have the same overlaying bias and ecocentric viewpoint.

Source: Miller, Debra A. Pesticides. Farmington Hills, Greenhaven Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2014.

This source also has significant values in terms of seeing the same issue through many different lenses. This book is a collection of many different viewpoints about different issues, allowing you to form your own opinion after seeing both sides of an issue. The main topic of this book is pesticides, and covers many different conversations that are on the table involving pesticides. This is valuable because it does not just give straight on facts about what pesticides are and what they do, but simultaneously answers questions that frequently come up when discussing pesticides, indirectly educating you more on the topic. Throughout the book, it also makes multiple references to and about Silent Spring, showing what an impact it did as well, which is really helpful, considering the question we are investigating.
This source does have limitations, and this is because it is a scrapbook of different academic journals, websites, and other sources, so there’s a lot of digging when finding out if these different sources are actually reliable.

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Silent Spring: Effect Through the Legal System. (2021, Feb 25). Retrieved July 25, 2024 , from
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