Rachel Carson (2017)
This documentary film in the PBS series called "American Experience" pays tribute to the inspirational life and work of the science writer, environmentalist and activist Rachel Carson (1907–1964). She's one of those rare persons about whom it can be said that, in retrospect, she wrote more than she knew. She changed the cultural paradigms of her day to the extent that there really is a "before and after" Rachel Carson. Carson began her career as a marine biologist at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, but she always wanted to be a writer. After a trilogy of books about the oceans (1941, 1951, 1955) won her a National Book Award and a #1 position on the New York Times best seller list (one of the books was translated into 30 languages), she quit her federal job to write full time. Today she is best remembered for her subsequent book Silent Spring (1962), which she finished while she was dying of cancer. It too became a runaway best seller for the way it boldly challenged the unquestioned orthodoxies of the day — the benevolence of petrochemical corporations, the complicity of government, the authority of science, and the hubris of technology. At the center of this story was the use of the poisonous pesticide DDT. During her own day, Carson was vilified as a Communist and a Luddite. Among her many posthumous honors, in 1980 president Jimmy Carter honored her with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country's highest civilian honor. I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.