Sense of Wonder on PBS World

Sense of Wonder on PBS World

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 4:00pm
Kaiulani Lee as Rachel Carson

Credit: Haskell Wexler, ASC

An intimate reflection of pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson’s final year.

When pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962, the backlash from her critics thrust her into the center of a political maelstrom. Despite her love of privacy, Carson’s convictions and her foresight regarding the risks posed by chemical pesticides forced her into a very public and controversial role.

The final year of her life is the subject of A SENSE OF WONDER, airing Tuesday, April 20 at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on PBS World (cable 524/DT21.2).

Using many of Carson’s own words, actress Kaiulani Lee embodies this extraordinary woman in a documentary-style film. Struggling with cancer, Carson recounts with both humor and anger the attacks on her from the chemical industry, the government and the press as she focuses her limited energy to get her message to Congress and the American people.

The first act of A SENSE OF WONDER opens at Carson’s cottage on the coast of Maine in 1963. Battling cancer and preparing to head back to her public life in Maryland, Carson fears these may be her last days on the coast. The second act begins two months later in Maryland, amidst the ongoing furor over Silent Spring.

Silent Spring stayed on the best-seller list for 86 weeks and was translated into more than 30 languages. In 1963, Carson testified before Congress, speaking out in an effort to protect human health and the environment from the cascade of poisons unleashed by the chemical industry. Less than a year later, on April 14, 1964, Carson died.