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Silent Spring at 50: Rachel Carson understood uncertainty

Thursday, September 27, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Andrew C. Revkin Reflects on the Legacy of Rachel Carson

On the 50th anniversary of the publication of her landmark book Silent Spring, Andrew Revkin contemplates her work, her messages, and one technique that was ahead of her time. Revkin and other scholars he quotes say Carson recognized the value of managing uncertainty to frame a debate that includes some solid evidence and some unknowns. While many ideologues have used uncertainty to cast doubt on scientific findings they philosophically oppose, Carson understood how to use skillfully presented uncertainty in a way that gives the public grounds for participation in a scientific controversy.

Read Revkin's essay on his New York Times DotEarth blog here.

 In a New Yorker essay, Joshua Rothman examines the power of Caron's imagination and argues that the role of Silent Spring in the environmental movement was akin to the role of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the abolition of slavery.


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