live and die
the history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. to a large extent, the physical form and the habits of the earth's vegetation and its animal life have been molded by the environment. considering the whole span of earthly time, the opposite effect, in which life actually modifies its surroundings,has been relatively slight. only in the present century has one species--man acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.
during the past quarter century this power has not only become increasingly great but it has changed in character.the most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contaminatien of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. this pollution is for the most part irrecoverable. in this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world, the very nature of its life.
it took hundreds of millions of years to produce the life that now inhabits the earth. given time not in years but in millennia life adjusts, and a balance has been reached. but in the modern world there is no time.
it is not my contention that chemical insecticides must never be used. i do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely
or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. we have subjected enormous numbers of people to contact with these poisons, without their consent and often without their knowledge. i contend,furthermore, that we have allowed these chemicals to be used with little or no advance investigation of their effect on soil, water, wildlife, and man himself. future generations are unlikely to forgive our lack of concern for the integrity of the natural world that supports all life.