On February 3, 1958, Rachel Carson wrote a letter to E.B. White at The New Yorker, requesting him to write a book about environmental issues. Carson had worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an aquatic biologist and editor of all publications created by the agency. Carson was concerned about the increased use of pesticides, especially DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), and their impacts on aquatic life. White responded to Carson by encouraging her to write her own book on the subject. She did. The result was Silent Spring, published in 1962, which became an extremely important, influential, and controversial book. 
 
Silent Spring is generally credited with beginning the modern environmental movement. The book made people more aware of how human activities, especially agricultural practices, impact the environment in very small but significant ways. Carson did not argue to ban pesticides, but instead wanted more research so the chemicals could be used more effectively and safely. Carson’s book also prompted the federal government to pass laws to regulate air and water pollution
agricultural practice
Noun

method used to harvest crops or care for livestock.

aquatic
Adjective

having to do with water.

ban
Verb

to prohibit, or not allow.

biologist
Noun

scientist who studies living organisms.

DDT
Noun

(dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) toxic chemical used as an insecticide but illegal for most uses in the U.S. since 1972.

environment
Noun

conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

federal
Adjective

having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

pesticide
Noun

natural or manufactured substance used to kill organisms that threaten agriculture or are undesirable. Pesticides can be fungicides (which kill harmful fungi), insecticides (which kill harmful insects), herbicides (which kill harmful plants), or rodenticides (which kill harmful rodents.)

Noun

introduction of harmful materials into the environment.

prompt
Adjective

on time or quickly.

regulate
Verb

to determine and administer a set of rules for an activity.

significant
Adjective

important or impressive.

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