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'Silent Spring' holds lessons for today

Thanks for Nancy Unger's article on Rachel Carson, whose research was denounced in the popular press, dismissed as hysterical, and considered by some to reflect communist sympathies ("'Silent Spring' still echoes," Sept. 16).

Carson's story doesn't sound that different from the way scientists who study climate change are treated today. The popular press feels compelled to "balance" the reporting of scientific results with quotes from pseudo-scientists hired by Big Oil.

Even though climate scientists have often understated the severity of climate change, their results are similarly dismissed as exaggerated and apocalyptic. Many climate-change deniers claim the science is a hoax created to justify enlarging the government.

It should be no surprise that Carson's work and climate scientists' work received the same response. Carson revealed the dangers of chemicals produced by industrialists who had much to lose if their products were banned as carcinogens.

Today's climate scientists are revealing the ways in which coal, oil and gas are destroying our planet, and Big Oil will lose financially if we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Silent Spring," voters should unseat the climate-change deniers in Congress and demand that their replacements end subsidies to the oil and gas industry while taxing the extraction of fossil fuels so that those who profit from carbon fuels pay for the damage they do to our environment.

Judy Weiss, Brookline, Mass.

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