2002| Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge


Ideas Matter 2002:  Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge

Before there was an environmental movement, there was one brave woman and her very brave book, "Silent Spring". -- TIME magazine

Carson: Silent Spring

Join us to celebrate the legacies of Rachel Carson - an enduring love for the sea, a joyous sense of wonder, and her grave warning that whatever threatens the natural systems that sustain us threatens us all. Her life's work challenges us to recognize the relatedness of all life, and so to live our own lives in ways that honor the earth's well-being and beauty.  

People are a part of nature and
our war against nature is inevitably
a war against ourselves.

  - adapted from Rachel Carson, 1963

Rachel's Legacy, Rachel's Ocean

Jane Lubchenco, Distinguished Professor, OSU, Keynote Address
October 3 - 7:30 PM, Milam Hall auditorium

Professor Jane Lubchenco delivered the keynote address.

Jane Lubchenco

Dr. Jane Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and marine ecologist who is actively engaged in teaching, research, synthesis, and communication of scientific knowledge. She is Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology at OSU. Professor Lubchenco has broad interests in understanding the natural dynamics of Earth's ecosystems and developing new approaches to improve the health, prosperity, and well-being of people without disrupting the functioning of ecological systems upon which all life depends.

Dr. Lubchenco is featured in the latest edition of National Geographic. She has received many awards including, most recently, the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment, and holds many leadership and advisory roles. Notable among these are President-Elect of the International Council for Science, Principle Investigator of the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Rachel Carson: The Making of a Prophetic Voice

Rachel Carson: Witness for NatureLinda Lear, author of "Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature"
October 10 - 7:30 PM, Milam Hall

Linda Lear, biographer and historian, is Research Professor of Environmental History at George Washington University. She is the author of the acclaimed biography of Carson, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, (Holt,1997,1998) numerous articles on Carson and the politics of pesticides, and is the editor of the anthology, Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (Beacon,1998). Lear was historical consultant for the PBS/American Experience film Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. She has written the introduction to the new 40th anniversary edition of Carson's Silent Spring, to The Sense of Wonder, the preface to the Penguin editions of Carson's The Edge of the Sea, and Silent Spring. Lear's biography of Carson was awarded the prize for the best book on women in science by the History of Science Society in 1999, and has been optioned by Turner Television. Lear lectures both here and abroad on the environment and Rachel Carson's life and work. She is at work on a new environmental biography, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, under contract to Penguin Inc. UK.

Silent Spring to Scientific Revolution

Our Stolen Future


John Peterson Myers, co-author of "Our Stolen Future:
Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?"

October 17 - 7:30 PM Milam Hall auditorium

Dr. Myers will speak about scientific evidence for the global extent of the dangers posed by the build up of PCBs and other industrial pollutants in the environment and in human bodies.

He is a reporter, editor and publisher of Ourstolenfuture.org, and co-authored the book Our Stolen Future:Are we Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival?. He is Senior Advisor to the United Nations Foundation and a Senior fellow at Commmonweal. From 1990-2002 he was director of the W. Alton Jones Foundation, a private foundation supporting efforst to protect the gobal environment and to prevent the nuclear war. He received his Ph.D in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley and lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

 Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood

Sandra Steingraber, author of "Living Downstream"
October 24 - 7:45 PM, Milam Hall auditorium

Ecologist, author, and cancer surviver, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the environmental links to cancer and reproductive health. She is the author of Post Diagnosis a volume of poetry, and co-author of a book on ecology and human rights in Africa, The Spoils of Famine. She has taught biology at Columbia College, Chicago, held visiting fellowships at the University of Illinois, Radcliffe/Harvard, and Northeastern University, and served on Pres. Clinton's National Action Plan on Breast Cancer.

Living Downstream


Steingraber's highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment presents cancer as a human rights issue. It was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with newly released data from U.S. cancer registries. In 1997 Steingraber was named a Ms Magazine Woman of the Year. In 1999, the Sierra Club heralded Steingraber as the "new Rachel Carson". In 2001, Carson's own alma mater, Chatham College selected Steingraber to receive its biennial Rachel carson leadership award.

Continuing the investigation begun in Living Downstream, Steingraber's new work, Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood, explores the intimate ecology of motherhood. Both a memoir of her own pregnancy and an investigation of fetal toxicity, Having Faith reveals the alarming extent to which environmental hazards now threaten each crucial stage of infant development. In the eyes's of an ecologist, the mother's body is the first environment for human life.

Sandra Steingraber is currently on faculty at Cornell University's Center for the Environment in Ithaca, NY. She is married to sculptor Jeff de Castro. They are proud parents of three year old Faith and baby Elijah.

Under the Sea Wind: An Arts Celebration

Community celebration of the sea.
Open microphone for poems and essays about the sea, and an open carousel for color slides.
All invited to participate..
October 30 - 7:30 PM, Corvallis Library

 Inviting all local writers, muscians, and photographers... come help Corvallis celebrate the sea. Read a peom or an essay, share a song, or show some slides. Open microphone, open carousel, all welcome! Sign-ups start at 7 pm, events begin at 7:30 pm. Not a writer or photographer?- then just come and enjoy the show!

 A Chorus of Voices

Local cancer survivors raise their voices in warning or celebration.
Michael Grey-Eyes, flute. Program followed by reception and informational displays.
November 7 - 7:30 PM, Milam Hall

The Promise of Pesticides

Paul Jepson, Professor, Entomology, OSU.
A time-slice presentation, in which we hear scientists’ views of the promise of pesticides in 1942, 1962, 1982 and 2002.
November 14 -7:45 PM, Milam Hall

 The Religious and Secular Origins of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder

Lisa Sideris, Religious Studies and Environmental Science, McGill University.
November 21 - 7:30 PM, Milam Hall

 Lisa Sideris received her Ph.D in Religious Studies from Indiana University in 2000. She is the postdoctoral fellow for this year's Thematic Project on Darwin and William Howarth, at McGill University. She will be working on a book project based on her dissertation, The Limits of Theodicy: Ecological Theology, Natural Selection, and the Problem of Suffering in Nature.

A Sense of Wonder

Art and essay exhibition by elementary and secondary school students.
December 5 - 6:30 PM, Owen Hall Atrium

Followed by:

Rachel's Challenge

Kathleen Dean Moore, Philosophy, OSU.
December 5 - 7:30 PM, Owen Hall, Room 102


November 17 -  A Sense of Wonder
A one woman play by Kaiulani Lee.
2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, Majestic Theater
The play is based on the life of Rachel Carson; Lee, who has acted on Broadway and in films as well as TV, plays Carson toward the end of her life.

On-going Public school art and essay project, "A Sense of Wonder", with OSU student interns in classrooms throughout Oregon

April 17, 2003  "Literature and Nature" will be the theme of the OSU Biology Colloquium.

Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge



This lecture series was the inspiration for Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge which was co-edited by Lisa H. Sideris and Kathleen Dean Moore.


Click here to preview the book and/or purchase a copy.