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Sense of Wonder Contest - Cast your vote on the intergenerational entries!

kids in pond

These are truly some of the most beautiful, touching (and even hilarious) photos, essays and poems I've ever seen and read. Considering they're created by teams of inter-generational partners for the 2012 Rachel Carson Sense of Water Contest makes them even more worthy of your visit to the site... and your vote. (I'm partial to the dance video "Macro Hunt Anthem", but don't let me influence you.)

Honoring the 50th anniversary of her ground-breaking, society-changing book Silent Spring, this annual contest gives us a chance to live the words of Ms. Carson:

"If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder...he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement and the mystery of the world we live in." Rachel Carson

In 1962 , Silent Spring generated a firestorm of controvery over the widespread use of chemical pesticides, particularly DDT.  (Do you believe it was embedded in children's room wallpaper?) Many of us can recall the evening fogging of our neighborhoods by the DDT trucks, even chasing the fog as it passed by our houses! Sure the mosquitos were killed, but so were the ladybugs, the earthworms, the birds that ate them...and countless other species in the food chain.

Developed in 1939 to help fight World War II, DDT was introduced for civilian use 6 years later and lauded as a way to significantly increase crop yield to feed a surging population. At the time, only a few scientists expressed concern about the indiscrimate nature of the insects killed by DDT, incuding Rachel Carson. It wasn't until 1958 however, when a friend alerted her to the mysterious large scale bird  kills that Ms. Carson began tackling the issue of DDT. Among the especially troubling finds was the fact that it stayed in the fatty tissue of animal for YEARS. In fact, DDT is regularly found in the umbilicial cord blood as the 'body burden' of infants born in this country today. Four years later, and several rejections of articles on the subject, the seminal book was published, changing the way Americans looked at the chemical industry.

Environmentalists, even scientists in general, continue to face  relentless attacks in their efforts to ensure chemicals are tested and deemed safe BEFORE being released into our air and water. But for today, let's pause to celebrate the milestone that is the 50th anniversary of one of the most important milestones in human health.

Thank you Rachel.

photo by wolleydog on Flickr

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