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Become one with nature

Dr. Robert Musil gives book talk for Earth week

As part of Earth Week at UMBC, Dr. Robert K. Musil presented a talk on his latest book.

On April 21, UMBC had the honor of inviting Dr. Robert K. Musil, a celebrated author and professor from American University in Washington, D.C., to the seventh floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library to discuss his latest publication, “Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment.”

Musil is the president of the Rachel Carson Council, senior fellow at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University and former CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The booking of the event fell on the week of Earth Week, which has been celebrated since 1970. Musil focused his talk on the legacy of American environmental pioneer and scientist Rachel Carson, who he said, “inspired me immensely to write this book.”

Widely known for her 1962 bestseller “Silent Spring,” Carson was the first American to combine the love of nature and a concern for human health through the advancement of the environmental movement. The cover of the book features Carson holding a pair of binoculars and sitting on top of a mountain, drawing the connection to her societal contribution.

In an effort to initiate this event, Dr. Mary Rivkin, who teaches courses for the Early Childhood Education program, received an invitation to a launching for Musil’s book last spring and thought it would be a good book for students to know about.

“I corresponded with him and invited him to our campus last fall, given his busy schedule,” she said. In addition to her childhood education endeavors, she teaches a course that aims toward saving campus trees from the invasion of English ivy.

“Upon choosing a speaker, I realized the significance of Rachel Carson and other notable female activists and writers in modern environmentalism.” Rivkin said. Musil’s interest and knowledge in the field made him an ideal speaker.

The timing was appropriate as well. “Given the current environmental crises, I thought it was worthwhile to inform students of this history and encourage them to participate,” Rivkin said. Over the many diverse topics, one message was consistent: the world is ours to protect, so it is our responsibility to take better care of it and the people in it.

Musil kept the attention of the audience with his light-hearted anecdotes, reminiscent of Bob Barker of “The Price Is Right.” He left the audience pondering over how Carson would have dealt with contemporary environmental issues concerning global warming, nuclear radiation, pesticides and fracking.