Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Silent Spring?

When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962, the book was immediately attacked by the chemical companies who said that Carson was unqualified to speak on the subject of chemical effects on the environment. She had sounded a dire warning that the continual use of DDT, the most widely used and effective pesticide, was damaging wildlife and was harmful to humans. She warned that its continual use might produce a ‘silent spring’ in which there would be no birds to herald the season. A frightening scenario, but as I look around me at the fields and meadows normally populated with dozens of species of birds at this time of year, I am beginning to wonder if her warning has not become true. This time the culprit is not DDT, but something not yet identified. Is it Avian Influenza or could it be something else? Will we have, as Miss Carson warned, a silent spring in which our feathered friends are absent from around our bird feeders? Will there be a frightening increase in mosquitoes and other harmful insects? I do not know the answer to that, but I wonder how many of you have noticed the diminishing bird population, and what you think might be the problem.

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