Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We Got to Know Rachel Carson – the Quiet Rebel

A very interested group attended our special Citywide Reads program on Rachel Carson on Tuesday night. Tara Treiber, the Education Manager for Heal the Bay, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, led us through the life and times of this pioneering scientist and environmentalist, and revealed background information on her leadership of the anti-pesticide movement. Growing up during the depression and going into “real” science during a time when women just didn’t do that, Rachel Carson became a hero to many, including Miles O’Malley, the protagonist in this year's Citywide Reads selection, The Highest Tide.

We got a real sense of Ms. Carson’s appeal when an audience member, Robert van de Hoek, informed us that he’d come all the way from Palos Verdes for tonight’s talk. Mr. van de Hoek, co-director of the Ballona Institute, shared a common concern for many of us in this area, the health of our bay. Fortunately, our next Citywide Reads special event will cover just that topic. Heal the Bay will discuss the Santa Monica Bay on Thursday night, at 7:00 pm in the Main Library’s Multipurpose Room. Join us to take part in this exciting event.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Other than her role in The Highest Tide, and a vague notion of the seminal role of Silent Spring, this was my first introduction to the person and life of Rachel Carson. She was a woman of fortitude and had the will to fulfill her goals--even while dealing with the burdens of her life. She was both interesting and admirable.

After the presentation was over, a lively Q&A session ensued, not about Rachel Carson, but about the current state and impact of the things she studied on our lives today. Discussion ranged from the levels of environmental pollutants in our bay, to fishing practices, to what to do if you find a beached sea animal either dead (call the LA dept. of beaches and harbors 1-310-305-9503) or alive (call whale rescue 1 (800) 39-WHALE) - either way, stay distant and inform the nearest lifeguard, as they'll want to keep people clear.

Also, for any of you interested in a humorous, completely fictitious account of whale studies, I highly recommend Fluke by Christopher Moore.

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