Editorial: Carson's bridge / A Pittsburgh daughter receives an overdue tribute

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It's most fitting that Allegheny County Council renamed the Ninth Street Bridge for world-renowned environmentalist, biologist, author and native daughter, Rachel Carson.

Ms. Carson, who grew up in Springdale and attended what today is Chatham College, launched the modern environmental movement. Her 1962 book, "Silent Spring," courageously and unapologetically decried the dangers of pesticides and put the chemical industry on the defensive.

"These sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes -- nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the 'good' and the 'bad,' to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in soil -- all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects," Ms. Carson wrote in her famed book. "Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life? They should not be called 'insecticides,' but 'biocides.' "

Named one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century by Time magazine and the recipient of the 1952 National Book Award in nonfiction for her book, "The Sea Around Us," Ms. Carson is well worthy of the honor.

The bridge, whose renaming was commemorated on Saturday, is one of three "Sister Bridges" between Downtown and the North Side, joining the likes of two others renamed after favorite sons, the Andy Warhol Bridge (formerly the Seventh Street Bridge) and the Roberto Clemente Bridge (formerly the Sixth Street Bridge).

Let the Rachel Carson Bridge be a tribute to her memory and a reminder of her environmental message that still resonates today, of the need to preserve the planet.


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