Saturday, May 27, 2006

May 27: Green Day

Today is the birthday of biologist Rachel Carson (1907-1964). Carson's book Silent Spring, published in 1962, is credited with launching the environmental movement. Carson became concerned with the increased use of pesiticides, especially D.D.T., after World War II. Her book brought to light the harmful effects of these chemicals on the chain of life.

Carson's book was not without its critics, but it did lead to a hightened public awareness of conservation issues, and it also lead to Congressional hearings into the impact of pesitcides on the environment and human health. Within 10 years of the publication of Silent Spring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded, Earth Day was established, and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts had become law (1).

The words below are examples of words that emerged in the 20th Century to describe issues related to the environment. For example, Greenpeace, an international organization that campaigns for the protection of the environment, was founded in 1971. Its activities contributed a new definition to the adjective green: "relating to or supporting environmentalism, especially as a polictical issue."

conservation (1922)

D.D.T (1943)

eco- (1969)

ecofreak (1970)

green (1972)

environmentalism (1972)

global warming (1977)

eco-terrorist (1988)

eco-friendly (1989) (2)

Today's Challenge: It's Easy Being Green
Below are definitions of words and expressions containing the word "green" from the American Heritage College Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. See if you can identify each word or expression.

1. Permission to go ahead.

2. A knack for making plants grow well.

3. Full of desire for someone's possessions.

4. Jealousy.

5. Looking ill or nauseated.

6. A different situation always seems better than one's own.

7. A waiting room or lounge in a theater for performers off-stage.

8. An antitakeover maneuver in which the target firm purchases the raider's stock at a price that is above that available to other stockholders.

9. An inexperienced or immature person.

10. A note of U.S. currency.

Quote of the Day: If you would imitate Nature, you should take her simiplicity for your model. --Michael Sendivogius

Answers: 1. green light 2. green thumb 3. green with envy 4. green-eyed monster 5. green about the gills 6. The grass is always greener. 7. green room 8. greenmail 9. greenhorn 10. greenback

1 - Raftery, Miriam. 100 Books that Shaped World History. San Mateo, California: Bluewood Books, 2002.

2 - Ayto, John. 20th Century Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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