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Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment

Monday, September 29, 2014
12:00 AM
Palmer Commons, Forum Hall

Environmental leader Robert K. Musil is the author of the acclaimed Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment (Rutgers, 2014) and Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers, 2009). He teaches environmental politics and history at American University in Washington, DC where he is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Trained in environmental health, literature and the humanities, Musil holds degrees from Yale, Northwestern, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and honorary degrees in science and humane letters.

Musil was the longest-serving CEO of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and popular lecturer on college campuses. A former award-winning nationally-syndicated broadcaster, his most recent voicing is as narrator of the prize-winning documentary film, Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War.

In Rachel Carson and Her Sisters, Robert K. Musil redefines the achievements and legacy of environmental pioneer and scientist Rachel Carson, linking her work to a wide network of American women activists and writers and introducing her to a new, contemporary audience. Rachel Carson was the first American to combine two longstanding, but separate strands of American environmentalism—the love of nature and a concern for human health. Widely known for her 1962 best-seller, Silent Spring, Carson is today often perceived as a solitary “great woman,” whose work single-handedly launched a modern environmental movement. But as Musil demonstrates, Carson’s life’s work drew upon and was supported by already existing movements, many led by women, in conservation and public health.

On the fiftieth anniversary of her death, this book helps underscore Carson’s enduring environmental legacy and brings to life the achievements of women writers and advocates, such as Ellen Swallow Richards, Dr. Alice Hamilton, Terry Tempest Williams, Sandra Steingraber, Devra Davis, and Theo Colborn, all of whom overcame obstacles to build and lead the modern American environmental movement.

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the School of Public Health, The ADVANCE Program, and  Michigan Community Scholars.

Robert K. Musil