2012 Conference

Mark your calendars now for June 21-24, 2012 at Wilmington College to consider
Building Sustainable Academic Communities

A highlight of the gathering will be one of our plenary speakers, Joni Seager of Bentley College, on the topic “Revisiting Rachel Carson.”

Fifty years after “Silent Spring” was published, much of its “information” is out of date, and some seems quaint. Carson worried about the “over 200 chemicals that have been created for use in killing… pests” and the “500 new chemicals that annually find their way into actual use in the US alone.” The Environmental Protection Agency has by now approved over 1400 pesticides for use in the USA, and maintains a list of about 87,000 chemicals in its Toxic Substances Inventory.

But the salience and brilliance of Silent Spring remains undiminished. Her assessment that the urge to control nature produces only “alarming misfortune” has never seemed more prescient. As we live our daily lives in a chemical fog of our own creation, as we watch the world’s leaders utterly fail to come to meaningful terms with climate change, as we contemplate species extinctions on unprecedented scales, we can find few better modern Oracles than Carson, who warns that our urgent task is to find “new, imaginative and creative approaches to the problem of sharing our earth with other creatures.

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