Last Friday marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that galvanized a generation of environmentalists and catapulted the movement out of the margins of American culture and into the political spotlight. The book also resulted in real policy changes: “Silent Spring” was a major factor in the creation of the U.S. EPA and led to the banning of the pesticide DDT in 1972, eight years after Carson’s death. Last week, Carson’s alma mater, Chatham College in Pittsburg, Pa., commemorated the book’s anniversary by announcing a series of environmental initiatives, ranging from purchasing wind power to meet 10 percent of the school’s energy demand to (appropriately enough) phasing out toxic cleaning supplies and pesticides.

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