Speaking Volumes: Patricia DeMarco

Aug 20, 2012

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring. The landmark work by southwestern Pennsylvania native and Chatham University alumna Rachel Carson helped launch the modern environmental movement, and still enjoys a large and avid readership after half a century in print. 

For the first in a series of segments focusing on books and authors with ties to the Pittsburgh area, Rachel Carson Institute Director Patricia DeMarco talks about how Silent Spring and other works shaped her own life and career, which largely parallel Carson's own. 

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. “Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations . . . [It is] well crafted, fearless and succinct . . . Even if she had not inspired a generation of activists, Carson would prevail as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters” (Peter Matthiessen, for Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Century). - Rachel Carson Institute

 Rachel Carson, Under The Sea-Wind Celebrating the mystery and beauty of birds and sea creatures in their natural habitat, Under the Sea-Wind - Rachel Carson's first book and her personal favorite - is the early masterwork of one of America's greatest nature writers. Evoking the special mystery and beauty of the shore and the open sea-its limitless vistas and twilight depths-Carson's astonishingly intimate, unforgettable portrait captures the delicate negotiations of an ingeniously calibrated ecology. - Rachel Carson Institute Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder Not long before she died in 1964, the noted environmental writer Rachel Carson wrote an essay for Woman's Home Companion magazine called "Helping Your Child to Wonder." In that essay--reprinted here, with photographs of natural subjects by Nick Kelsh--Carson urged parents to take their children to wild places in order to introduce them to the astonishing variety of life that exists all around us: to study birds, listen to the winds, and observe the stars. Too much of the child's subsequent education, she warns, will be devoted to dimming that "clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring" with which children are born; it is the parent's task to be an adult guide who can in turn rediscover the "excitement and mystery of the world we live in." - Rachel Carson Institute Speaking Volumes is a weekly conversation on books and reading. The program airs on 90.5 WESA Mondays during Morning Edition, and Wednesdays during Essential Pittsburgh.