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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2005

John Mizzoni, Ph.D.
Pages 18-29

A Case Study in Environmental Conflict
The Two Pennsylvania Environmentalists Rachel Carson and Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) was a noted forestry expert, a conservationist, and governor of Pennsylvania. Rachel Carson (1907-1964), celebrated for her groundbreaking books that raised awareness of the negative human impact on the natural environment, was born, raised, and educated in Pennsylvania. Although these Pennsylvanians are both environmentalists, they approached the natural environment very differently and embody two main positions in contemporary environmental ethics. After situating their environmental legacies among contemporary environmental ethics, this paper then discusses implications of the irreconcilability of their positions on environmental progress; the concept of environmental legacy; and the importance of reflecting on the lives of environmentalists like Pinchot and Carson.