World Water Day: Remembering the art and spirit of Rachel Carson

waterIt’s a dark, moody day here in Oregon. The rain, though, as gloomy as it feels on the second full day of spring, is a good thing. Drought stalks us. Climate change is upon us. Forecasters are already predicting another terrible fire season across the American West this summer. As if the world doesn’t already feel anxious enough…..

At a recent National Geographic LIVE! event in Portland, photojournalist and conservationist Ami Vitale, who I met in Italy last fall at the Siena International Photography Awards event, stressed the importance of doing what we can at home, even as we expand our cultural horizons.

I’m thinking about that today, on World Water Day. I added my voice to the Oregon map and spent some time this morning looking at ways to get involved in positive activities supporting cleaner water and healthier environments across the state. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, take a look at them here: http://www.oregonworldwaterday.org/events/ 

And I’m thinking about an environmentalist who changed the world with her writing and her bravery not so long ago — Rachel Carson, best known for her book, “Silent Spring,” a publication and personal campaign that helped launch the environmental movement. But it is her writing about the sea and the great waters of life that is perhaps her most powerful work — and the writing and experience she herself loved most.

“Contemplating the teeming life of the shore, we have an uneasy sense of the communication of some universal truth that lies just beyond our grasp.”
–Rachel Carson, from The Edge of the Sea

I agree with Ami. There is so much to be done in our own backyards. Let’s find that thing, turn the pen and the lens and action homeward, and get it done — and perhaps change the world in doing so.

The Right Way to Remember Rachel Carson

The house, on an island in Maine, perches on a rock at the edge of the sea like the aerie of an eagle. Below the white-railed back porch, the sea-slick rock slopes down to a lumpy low tideland of eelgrass and bladder wrack, as slippery as a knot of snakes.

 

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