Channeling Your Inner Rachel Carson
By: Stephanie Benney
As many of us know, March is National Women’s History Month. This is a particularly important month to Biz Chicks, among countless other female entrepreneurs, visionaries, and movers and shakers; it is a month of celebration. It is a wonderful time to re-group, realign and restructure our personal and community goals for the future. It is also a time to remember the past and honor and appreciate the women in history who have so courageously acted as trailblazers. Without these fearless creatures, we would never be able to enjoy the privileges and rites we have as women to perform our life’s work.
There is a woman in all of our lives who has been our muse, inspiration and motivation – who has touched our life in a special way. For me, there is a group I have dubbed the “Power Pack”. Among this group of “VIP’s” is Rachel Carson.
Rachel Carson, scientist, writer, activist and ecologist, was born May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. From a very early age, Rachel developed a love and appreciation for nature and all things living. She found herself able to express her love for the living world through her writing. She went on to study science at the Pennsylvania College for Women, which later became Chatham College. In 1932 she received her Master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, after studying at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.
Rachel began writing radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and in 1936 began her fifteen-year career as scientist and later, Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She continued to write supplemental information and articles for the federal service, but spent her free time writing creative, personal articles and books about the ocean and nature. Her writing was often persuasive attempts to teach people about the beauty of nature and the living world. In 1952, she resigned from her position as Editor-in-Chief from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to pursue her writing full-time.
Carson continued to pump out articles and books including: “Under the Sea-wind”, ” The Sea Around Us”, “The Edge of the Sea” “Help Your Child to Wonder” and “Our Ever-Changing Shore”. Her writing always included the message that human beings were part of nature as a whole, but were distinguished by their power to alter it – for good or for bad.
In 1963, three years after having a mastectomy for breast cancer, Rachel changed her focus to activist against the use of pesticides. She warned the public about the misuse of pesticides and the long term effects on human beings and the natural world in her final book, “Silent Spring”. Rachel lost her battle to breast cancer in 1964, but her work continues to serve as an educational platform for many.
My request I have for you, my reader and fellow “female fronteirist” is to dig deep within your soul to channel your inner Rachel Carson. Think about what really matters to you and what your legacy will provide for future generations of women to come.
“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?” -Rachel Carson