quiet leadership for lasting change

Amid the din of charge and countercharge during these last weeks of the election campaign, I was refreshed by Nancy Koehn’s commemoration of Rachel Carson in The New York Times.  Without judging the continuing debate about DDT and Carson’s research on its use, Koehn celebrates Carson’s leadership qualities:  her perseverance in pursuing objectives in the face of illnesses and family obligations; her diligent research; her ability to take the long view; and her luminous nature writing that built a readership ready to consider the implications of pesticide use on the environment when Silent Spring was published 50 years ago.   As Koehn says, “Carson’s life shows that individual agency, fueled by resolution and hard work, has the power to change the world.”  Koehn recently taught a course on the history of leadership at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership; CPL’s web site appears to have rich resources for those interested in that topic.

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