"In 2002, Rachel Carson's spirit is among us. Like her, we can be both fierce and compassionate at once. We can remember that our character has been shaped by the diversity of America's landscape and it is precisely that character that will protect it. We can carry a healthy sense of indignation within us that will shatter the complacency that has seeped into our society in the name of all we have lost, knowing there is still so much to be saved.
"Call it sacred rage, rage grounded in the understanding that all life is intertwined. And we can come to know and continue to learn from the grace of wild things as they hold an organic wisdom that sustains peace
"Do we have the moral courage to step forward and openly questioned every law, person, and practice that denies justice toward nature?
"Do we have the strength and will to continue in this American tradition of bearing witness to beauty and terror which is its own form of advocacy?
"And do we have the imagination to rediscover an authentic patriotism that inspires empathy and reflection over pride and nationalism?
"Rachel Carson's name is synonymous with courage. She dared to expose the underbelly of the chemical industry and show how it was disrupting the balance of nature. In Silent Spring we see her signature strengths on the page, and witness how a confluence of poetry and politics with sound science can create an ethical stance toward life. But perhaps Rachel Carson's true courage lies in her willingness to align science with the sacred, to admit that her bond toward nature is a spiritual one.
"I am not afraid of being thought a sentimentalist when I say that I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society. I believe that whenever we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of the earth, we have retarded some part of man's spiritual growth.
"Rachel Carson has called us to action. Silent Spring is a social critique of our modern way of life, as essential to the evolving American ideals of freedom and democracy as anything ever written by our founding fathers.
" 'If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials,' Miss Carson wrote, 'it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem.'
"There are many forms of terrorism. Environmental degradation is one of them. We have an opportunity to shift the emphasis on American independence to American interdependence and redefine what acts of responsibility count as heroism. Protecting the lands we love and working on behalf of the safety of our communities from the poisoned residue of corporate and governmental neglect must surely be chief among them. Perhaps this is what the idea of 'homeland security' is meant to be in times of terror.
"... I walked outside and sat on our back porch. The blinking bodies of fireflies were rising and falling above the grasses. They appeared as a company of code talkers flashing S.O.S. on a very dark night."