Skip to Content

SILENT SPRING: A LEGACY OF SILENT SPRING AN ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE

Silent Spring is not just about science; it is also about environmental ethics.

The argument Rachel Carson makes is that we not only harm ourselves if we misuse technology, but also that we humans do not have a right to devastate the natural world for our own ends.

Today there is a field called environmental ethics. This is defined as:

“The discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents.”

STANFORD DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY

There is growing interest in combining environmental ethics and environmental sciences, to recognize better that environmental management is more than understanding, controlling or moderating physical and natural processes. It is also about having a philosophic basis upon which decisions are made, and this basis should be an ethical one.

Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University have collaborated to establish a Conservation Ethics Group to facilitate dialog between environmental scientists and ethicists. The CEG won the 2011 Phi Kappa Phi Excellence Award in interdisciplinary scholarship.

“In many ways, the entire 40 year-old field of environmental ethics is heir to her (Carson’s) work.”

DR. MICHAEL NELSON
HEAD OF THE MSU/MTU CONSERVATION ETHICS GROUP