Rachel Carson and Bob Hines researching off the Atlantic coast in 1952

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Rachel Carson, a pioneer of the environmental movement. Rob Nixon holds the Rachel Carson chair in English at the UW-Wisconsin.  He says she was something of a reluctant activist. 


Lauret Savoy believes too many nature writers focus on pristine wilderness and neglect the gritty reality of the places where people actually live - in cities, for instance, maybe even near toxic waste sites.  And writing about these places means grappling with difficult questions about race and poverty. 

support your local planet

Today we explore some new paradigms for thinking about our environmental future.  And, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of death of the great environmentalist, Rachel Carson.

Lynne Cox swimming.

Lynne Cox is an extreme swimmer. At 18, she swam between the islands of New Zealand. She broke the men's and women's records for the English Channel. Then she did the unthinkable — swimming to Antarctica.

Cheryl Strayed

Devastated at the unexpected death of her morther, Cheryl Strayed embarked on a three-month solo trip along the rugged Pacific Crest Trail. Those 94 days changed her life in ways she could never have imagined. She writes about that transformative time in her memoir "Wild."

tree roots

Biologist David George Haskell spent a year making weekly visits to the same one-square-meter patch of old-growth forest near his home in Tennessee.  His writes about his experiment in "contemplative science" in a series of gorgeous essays, called "The Forest Unseen".

A historic Amundsen Tent in Antarctica.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe is a novelist who's made three trips to Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation's Artists and Writers in Antarctica Program. She tells Anne Strainchamps that the place is addictive.


Many animals, from fish to bees and ants, cannot survive alone. They need to live in groups, and these groups have a kind of collective intelligence. You might say the internet has developed its own "hive mind." In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we'll tell you how the modern science...


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