Rachel Carson

Legacy and Challenge

Edited by Lisa H. Sideris & Kathleen Dean Moore

Subjects: Environmental Philosophy, Ecology, Gender Studies, History Of Science, Ethics
Series: SUNY series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
Paperback : 9780791474723, 297 pages, May 2008
Hardcover : 9780791474716, 297 pages, May 2008

Table of contents


Lisa H. Sideris

Part I: A Legacy of Activism and Advocacy

1. One Patriot
Terry Tempest Williams
2. Rachel Carson’s Scientific and Ocean Legacies
Jane Lubchenco

3. Rachel Carson and George J. Wallace: Why Public Environmental Scientists Should be Advocates for Nature
Peter C. List

Part II: Ethics on Land and at Sea

4. Rachel Carson’s Environmental Ethics
Philip Cafaro

5. Thinking Like a Mackerel: Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea-Wind as a Source for a Trans-Ecotonal Sea Ethic
Susan Power Bratton

6. The Conceptual Foundations of Rachel Carson’s Sea Ethic
J. Baird Callicott and Elyssa Back

7. Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us, Ocean-Centrism, and a Nascent Ocean Ethic
Gary Kroll

Part III: Reflections on Gender and Science

8. The Ecological Body: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and Breast Cancer
Lisa H. Sideris

9. Science and Spirit: Struggles of the Early Rachel Carson
Maril Hazlett

10. “Silence, Miss Carson!”: Science, Gender, and the
Reception of Silent Spring
Michael Smith

Part IV: An Ongoing Toxic Discourse

11. After Silent Spring: Ecological Effects of Pesticides on Public Health and on Birds and Other Organisms
David Pimentel

12. Contested Icons: Rachel Carson and DDT
Steve Maguire

13. In Her Footsteps
Christopher Merrill

14. Living Downstream of Silent Spring
Sandra Steingraber

Part V: A Legacy of Wonder

15. The Secular and Religious Sources of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder
Lisa H. Sideris

16. How to Value a Flower: Locating Beauty in Toxic Landscapes
Vera Norwood

17. The Truth of the Barnacles: Rachel Carson and the Moral Significance of Wonder
Kathleen Dean Moore


Leading scholars explore the full range and current significance of Carson’s work.


Long before Rachel Carson would become synonymous with environmental activism, she was a nature and science writer, penning The Sense of Wonder for children, and three books about the ocean and its inhabitants—including the bestselling The Sea around Us. Based solidly on science and written in beautiful prose, Carson's work issued a practical and moral challenge to her readers: Can we find a way to live on earth with care and respect? In Rachel Carson, the first book to offer a sustained treatment of her work prior to Silent Spring, editors Lisa H. Sideris and Kathleen Dean Moore bring together seventeen writers, activists, and scholars from a range of disciplines to uncover the many sides of Rachel Carson. Exposing her enthusiasm for the natural world and the depth of her writings, the contributors examine her books, speeches, essays, and the letters she wrote as she prepared to die. A testament to Carson's continued influence on environmental thought, this volume is for everyone who cares about finding ways to live sustainably on earth.

Lisa H. Sideris is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University and the author of Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology, and Natural Selection. Kathleen Dean Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World and The Pine Island Paradox.


"The structure of the collection is almost as intriguing as the selections contained within it … The uniqueness of this text is obvious when taken as a whole. " — H-Net Reviews (H-Water)

"This is a treasure chest of Rachel Carson studies and appreciations. Rich, challenging, and surprising, it will reward the close reader with a fresh sense of respect and affection for the essential Carson. " — Robert Michael Pyle, author of Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place

"From grim statistics to women's studies, from religion to public health, and from fish to flowers, these essays offer the data, emotion, and lyricism needed for a complete homage to Rachel Carson. Carson's offspring are flowering in many fields, and this book maps those connections clearly and brightly for anyone wishing to find a new approach to Carson's writing. " — Nancy Gift, Director, Rachel Carson Institute