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Women’s History Month 2009: taking the lead to save the planet

Master Sgt. Marian Smith of the 920th Mission Support Squadron served as the emcee at the 2009 Women's History Month Proclamation signing. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Connell)

Master Sgt. Marian Smith of the 920th Mission Support Squadron served as the emcee at the 2009 Women's History Month Proclamation signing. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Connell)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- This year, we are honoring the women who have led the way in saving our planet. The National Women's History Project has elected to feature Rachel Carson as "the iconic model of the theme." She is but one of many women with a passion to do what it takes, to overcome obstacles in order to preserve what is entrusted to us.

Rachel Carson attempted to define the impact people have had on this beautiful blue planet in her book Silent Spring. She believed "[t]he history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings...Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species - man - acquired significant power to alter the nature of this world."

Carson was indeed a woman with a passion and determination to protect that which she loved as a child. She utilized her writing talent to convey the message that we need to do all that we can to preserve the beauty of the only known inhabitable planet in the universe.

Having made numerous leaps and bounds in her career as a researcher, author, and environmentalist, she made her mark in taking the lead to save our planet. One of her many astounding accomplishments was the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In her article "Help Your Child to Wonder" in the July 1956 issue of Women's Home Companion, Carson attempted to instill a deeper appreciation and respect for the world around us. She wrote, "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood."

She goes on to say she wished this "sense of wonder (be) so indestructible that it would last...as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial..."

"What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence?" she asks us. "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." It reminds me of the times I go to the beach stressed out by life's complexities, and let it all fade away with the tide as it returned to the sea.

We all have a role in taking the lead to save our planet, regardless of gender. The Patrick AFB Women's History Committee encourages all to participate in the events the committee has planned for the month of March, taking with them the long-forgotten enchantment of nature. Look for future articles this month that honor other women, both local and abroad, who have put their best foot forward when it came their time to take the lead.