Everyone has their own opinion about environmentalism. Some support it all the way, some people absolutely can’t stand it, and then there are those like me that fall in between. A Sand County Almanac and Silent Springs are two of the most influential pieces of environmental literature ever written. Parts of them didn’t exactly convince me and parts of them shocked me so much I think twice on certain aspects of my life. In this short response paper I will talk about what stood out the most to me and what I think society was most influenced by.
Most of Leopold’s arguments were in my opinion good arguments. In the third part, Leopold brings to my attention the obvious ironies of conservation. To promote the appreciation of wildlife and gain political support, one encourages recreational usage of wilderness. That same recreational use destroys the very environment that you would be trying to conserve. Leopold talks about how people want to take a trophy from the wilderness to share or always remember their experience. He says that just being there is a trophy enough. I love to hunt and I love to widdle wood.
In Leopold’s eyes I would be taking trophies. He goes into such detail describing small creatures; that I usually would shoot for fun, but he really opened my eyes to how just the slightest change can affect so much in an ecosystem that I think twice. It’s an understatement saying that Carson’s work was an influence. If encouraging the public to be more cautious and aware of the dangers of pesticide use wasn’t enough, Carson influenced the president to take immediate action. If that’s not enough evidence supporting the influence on society, I don’t know what is.
What I think had the biggest impact was how she explained the dangers of the pesticides like DDT and then gave examples of how people completely disregarded it in detail. For instance, kids’ playing in the pesticides was a fun activity that kids enjoyed and parents enjoyed the happiness the children got out of it. Although DDT was never banned, everyone had a new outlook on it almost so bad that people had forgotten all the good it was doing. Sure it wasn’t healthy to be breathing it, drinking it, or playing in it but it did save a lot of lives all around he world and statistically made a bigger impact in the good it was doing than the bad. Both Silent Springs and A Sand County Almanac had a lot to offer in the conservation area but I think Carson did the best at really in lighting people and making them aware of their environment. One could make the argument that her topic was a more pressing matter at the time but Leopold is right on track as well in terms of future preparation. But over all I believe Silent Springs to be the most influential.