Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Brave Enough

"Brave Enough" (Rachel Carson) (PDF)
Illustration: Nancy Meshkoff

There was once a girl who loved to write stories and poems. She often wrote about the land and birds around her home. Her name was Rachel Louise Carson and she was born in 1907. When Rachel grew up she became a writer and a scientist. Rachel wrote wonderful stories and she always explained the beauty of nature so well you could almost see what she was describing. As a scientist, Rachel was also very careful to describe things exactly as she saw them. She made sure everything she wrote was true.

Since Rachel was always outside studying nature or writing about it, she noticed that a lot of birds and fish were dying. She figured out that the animals were dying from poisons being sprayed from airplanes to help farmers get rid of insects that damaged plants. The poison not only killed the insects, but it also got into the soil and water and killed other animals. Eagles and many other birds and species of animals began to disappear.

Rachel wrote articles and spoke to the U.S. Congress so everyone would know how we were destroying the environment. She even wrote a book about the problems caused by the poison. In her book she described a spring where the skies were quiet and still because so many birds had died. She called that book Silent Spring.

People who read Rachel's book started to demand that the government stop spraying the chemicals. The President and Congress asked scientists to look at the chemicals to make sure Rachel was right about what she had said. At first, the chemical companies said that Rachel was wrong, but eventually scientists figured out that the chemicals were getting into the earth and water and were killing many animals, just like Rachel's book said. Because Rachel kept writing and speaking until someone would listen, the government finally stopped using the dangerous chemicals and began to test new ones much more carefully.

People still use poisons and chemicals in the wrong way today, but Rachel Carson helped start a whole new kind of environmentalism—a movement to control pollution of our earth. Even though Rachel was a small, quiet woman, she believed people have the power to save the environment. If Rachel had not been brave enough to stand up for the environment and fight for it until someone listened, we might not have as many species of birds and fish that we do today. Thanks to this brave woman who always told the truth, we still have Bald Eagles flying in our beautiful blue skies.