Friday, October 29, 2010

November 2010: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Discussion Questions:
  1. Why does Carson start the book with a fictional story?
  2. Carson spends the first 16 chapters describing the horror of toxic chemicals in the environment, and one chapter devoted to discussing alternatives to chemical use.  How does this proportion increase/decrease the effectiveness of her arguments?
  3. What about Carson's style made Silent Spring so effective as to instigate historic policy change?
  4. Which of Carson's emotional pleas spoke to you the most?  Sympathy for the earth? Plants? Animals and birds? Humans?
  5. Discuss the following quotes:
    Quote 1: “As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.” –Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
    Quote 2: “The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea... This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable.” –Rachel Carson
    Quote 3: “We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” –Margaret Mead
  6. Do Carson's alternative measures of pest control seem credible to you as a "nonexpert"?
  7. Does this book make you rethink your use of pesticides and herbicides in your own lawn and garden?
  8. How does Carson portray the chemical users? How does this portrayal of the chemical users help or hurt her argument?
  9. Toxic chemicals' effect on the environment is still a very timely issue today.  What has changed since Carson wrote this book?  For better?  For worse?

Menu Details:  Hold the Pesticides Please

Whole Wheat Herb Bread-
Caprese Salad-
Goat's Cheese Salad- Kate
Fruit Salad - Sherrie 
Drinks - Tessa

Meeting Details:  At Tessa's house on Thursday, December 2nd at 7:30.  Discussion starts at 8:00.

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