Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Silent Spring Essay Competition

Winners Announced! Congratulations to:

  • Senior Prize: Joan Maloof, for her essay “Rachel Carson's Daughter.”
  • Junior Prize: Akrish Adhikari for his essay “Carson Survives Through The Silent Spring.”


Essay Contest Description:

Fifty years ago, the world was rocked by the publication of a quiet tirade against the chemical industry. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring exposed the dangers and risks of everyday chemicals and commonplace practices; it launched the modern American environmental movements and also influenced similar movements all over the globe.

In commemoration of fifty years of Silent Spring, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society is soliciting essays from junior and senior scholars which analyze the impact and reception of Silent Spring as well as the legacy of Rachel Carson. Essays might address one or more of the following questions:

  • How has Silent Spring shaped environmentalism or environmental thought in various countries? How is it a global phenomenon?
  • What elements of Silent Spring have had the greatest impact on environmental leaders? Policy makers? Anti-environmentalists?
  • How is Silent Spring still relevant to current environmental debates?
  • How has the relevance of Rachel Carson’s writing changed over the decades since Silent Spring was published?
  • If Rachel Carson were alive today, what would she be writing about?

In the spirit of Carson’s own writing, submissions are encouraged to address an interested public with an approachable and provocative style.

The RCC will be awarding both a junior and senior prize for the most outstanding essays:

  • Junior Prize: $1,000 for 1,000 words (or less); Open to students aged 13-18
  • Senior Prize: $2,000 for 2,000 words (or less); Open to anyone aged 19 and above

In addition, the winning essays, as well as those which receive an honorable mention, will be published in a commemorative edition of the RCC Perspectives series, an occasional papers series available both in print and online.

Submissions are due via email (perspectives (at) carsoncenter.lmu.de) by 15 March 2012. Please also include a short biographical profile and indicate whether the essay is to be considered for the junior or senior prize. The essays will be reviewed by an international committee of scholars and writers.

For questions, please submit queries to perspectives (at) carsoncenter.lmu.de.

Sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in collaboration with the British Council, International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations, and the Consulate General of the United States, Munich, Germany

Call for Essays (pdf, 99KB)