New MHC Series to Honor Rachel Carson

Posted: January 30, 2007

Mount Holyoke's Center for the Environment will hold a winter-spring series of public events on women, health, and the environment. The series, Voices from Silent Spring, honors Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and zoologist whose book Silent Spring (1962), alerted the world to the dangers chemical pesticides pose to the environment. "Rachel Carson's work is among the first to turn our attention to how the environment enters our bodies, that is, the tie between health, including reproductive health of women, and the integrity of air, land, and water," said Lauret Savoy, professor of geology and environmental studies and Leslie and Sarah Miller Director of the Center for the Environment.

The series will open with a lecture by Monique Harden, codirector of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, a nonprofit, public interest law firm in New Orleans that she cofounded in 2002. Since Hurricane Katrina, she has been advocating for the rights of displaced Gulf Coast residents, including the right to return to safe and healthy neighborhoods. Harden, who is also the keynote speaker for the College's celebration of Black History Month, will give a talk titled "Human Rights Remedies for Environmental Racism" February 7 at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium.

Other lecturers in the series include Mark Lytle, author of The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement. He will speak February 22 at 4:30 pm in the Cassani Lounge in Shattuck Hall. Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, will speak March 29 at 7 pm in Gamble Auditorium.

Voices from Silent Spring will also bring to campus Kaiulani Lee's one-woman play, A Sense of Wonder, based on Carson's life and work. Lee was nominated for the Drama Desk Award on Broadway and won an OBIE Award for outstanding achievement off-Broadway. A Sense of Wonder has been the centerpiece of regional and national conferences on conservation, education, journalism, and the environment. Lee's performance will take place February 22 at 7:30 in the Great Room in Blanchard Campus Center.

The series will also include three documentary films highlighting the dangers of chemicals to human health and the environment. A Healthy Baby Girl, to be shown February 28, is about the carcinogenic synthetic hormone DES that was prescribed to women in the 1960s to prevent miscarriages. Blue Vinyl, to be shown March 7, tells of the dangers of PVC, the commonly used plastic. Rachel's Daughters, to be shown April 4, documents a group of cancer survivors, revealing the inequities in research funding and the disparities in cancer rates for women of color. All films will be shown at 7 pm in Hooker Auditorium in Clapp Laboratory.

The Center for the Environment series is cosponsored by the Mount Holyoke College Office of the President, the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and Mount Holyoke's Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts.

All events in the Center for the Environment series are free and open to the public.

Related Links:

Center for the Environment

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts

Environmental Expert to Speak March 29