Youth Advisory Panel

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Introduction to the book:

As one of the most exposing texts of the 20th century, Silent Spring focuses on the chemical industry’s widespread destruction of wildlife. In equal parts terrifying as it is deeply informative, Carson gives an unflinching account of the true consequences of human activity on changing environments. For years, Carson’s personal and scientific reputation were attacked, with attempts by the chemical industry to outrightly ban Silent Spring, disregarding her as a dangerous reactionary. Despite attempts to undermine her work, Silent Spring remains one of the most influential books of our time, determining government policy and continuing to inspire global ecological movements.

Why ‘Silent Spring’ and Why Rachel Carson:

Silent Spring encompasses many of the current issues facing the climate crisis; in the text, and reactions to its publication, we see common themes such as the spread of misinformation, destruction of natural environments, and humanity’s role in accelerating environmental damage. By featuring Silent Spring alongside the Digital Biosphere, the Panel hopes to provide a scientific understanding of human activity and its impact on the environment, while also featuring a key text of the ecological movement. Acting as an important visual reminder of a crisis often only expressed in statistics, the Digital Biosphere raises awareness of the stark realities faced by climate change, depicted in Compton Verney’s own natural surroundings.

Chapter 2: “The soil exists in a state of constant change, taking part in cycles that have no beginning and no end. New materials are constantly being contributed as rocks disintegrate, as organic matter decays, and as nitrogen and other gases are brought down in rain from the skies. At the same time other materials are being taken away, borrowed for temporary use by living creatures.”

Chapter 17: “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man”

“Man has lost the capacity to foresee
and to forestall. He will end by
destroying the earth.”