Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Highest Tide's Quiet Hero: Rachel Carson

One of the things we're hearing most about The Highest Tide from readers is how believable and real Miles O'Malley's fictional world feels. One element that sticks out for many is Miles' reverence for real-life environmental hero, Rachel Carson.

From Chapter 5, in a scene where Miles and his teenage buddy Phelps are clamming together and Phelps is questioning Miles about Carson, there is this touching exchange:

"You know everything about her, don't you?" [Phelps asked.]

I didn't say anything for a couple beats. "I know she was brave and brilliant."

Brave and brilliant is definitely an assessment that many who know Rachel Carson would wholeheartedly agree with. At a time when women were often roundly ignored and disregarded, Rachel Carson made a significant mark on the scientific community and the world at large. A scientist, a biologist (both marine and land), and a writer, Carson is often credited with spearheading the modern environmentalist movement. Her books include The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Sense of Wonder, and the seminal environmental classic Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers of pesticides.

Yet there are many who don't know who Rachel Carson is, or know little about her. On Tuesday, April 22, we hope to change that with another of our Citywide Reads special events, "Getting to Know Rachel Carson." Tara Treiber, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium's Education Manager, has graciously agreed to join us to lead this introduction, and we hope you can join us. The lecture gets started at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library's second floor Multipurpose Room. For more information, click here for a PDF of the flyer posted below.

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