Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

In 1963, when CBS aired Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, did not exist. The EPA was formally established in 1970 when President Richard Nixon consolidated several other federal oversight activities in a single agency. EPA’s stated mission is “to protect human health by safeguarding the air we breathe, water we drink and land on which we live.”

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What role did Carson’s work play in the genesis of the EPA, if any? A timeline provided on the agency’s web site may provide some clues. Visit the link below, and explore the time line. Notice that you can move through the time line by clicking the “next” arrow on the right of the screen, or by clicking on the time line at the bottom of the screen and then dragging your cursor left or right.


The advantage of including text-based sources in your research is that written products generally delve more deeply into the issues. There are also many more text-based sources available, and they represent a wider range of types, authors, and perspectives. Read at least three text-based sources from the list below. As you read, notice how each source adds to (or changes) your understanding of the beginning of environmentalism as a political movement.

  • Conservation in Action: Parker River
    A booklet written by Rachel Carson when she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Environmental Hazards: Control of Pesticides and Other Chemical Poisons
    Rachel Carson’s statement to Congress on June 4, 1963.
  • 1963 U.S. Government Report
    A report on pesticide use, created by the Science Advisory Committee in President John F. Kennedy’s administration.
  • “Rachel Carson” by Frank Graham, Jr.
    Article from the November/December 1978 issue of the EPA Journal.
  • “Earth Day ’70: What It Meant”
    Reflection on the first Earth Day, published in the EPA Journal in April 1980 by Gaylord Nelson, who introduced and sponsored the bill that created the celebration
  • When you have read three sources from the list above, complete Part Three of the Evaluating Multiple Sources worksheet that you downloaded earlier in this lesson. Then check to make sure you have completed all of the worksheet’s sections

Requirements: Everything should be answered one the pdf worksheet I provided

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