Rachel Carson's essay, "The Obligation to Endure," surfaces the issue of pesticide use and its effects on the environment. "Chemical pesticides have been a part of our modern western culture for some 50 years or so" (Cullen 14). Pesticide production in the United States and around the world has vastly increased (Briggs xii). Some people, like Carson, view this increase of pesticide use as detrimental to living organisms as well as to the environment. Others, like F.L. McEwen and G.R. Stephenson, say that, "Pesticides are important and necessary part of the modern technology that ensures our food supply" (vii). I have reasons to agree with McEwen and Stephenson, simply because pesticides are important to both people and plants. I am in favor of their use in agriculture, in society, and around the home with some limitations.
Opponents of my stand say that the use of pesticides has far more disadvantages than advantages. Carson says, "The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials" (325). She believes that the effects of pesticide use are irrecoverable and irreversible (325). Others say that pesticides affect the health of humans and domestic animals, kill vital groups of insects, and cause the "development of pesticide resistance in pest populations of insects, plant pathogens, and weeds" (Pimentel et al. 277-78). .
I, on the other hand, feel that the advantages of pesticide use are far more than the disadvantages of their use. By definition, "the word "pesticides" is used in the generic sense and includes insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other categories of compounds used to kill pests" (McEwen and Stephenson 2). A pest can be described as "an injurious plant or animal" ("Pest" 620). If something harms or destroys anything vital to human life, then it should be killed, and if pesticides can achieve this, then they should be used.