Blame it on Rachel …

I had a few early influences in my life that I am sure pushed me on a path I didn’t even know existed at the time, fate, destiny, or just my life as it was to be?

And now at my age, I am fully aware of my path, bumpy, twisty, and up and down hill, but I would want it no other way. It’s interesting and adventurous.

My Dad, a substantial sized man, imposing at first sight, with the heart of the kindest person you would ever hope to know. Charismatic, strong personality, big smile, and you most definitely felt safe in his presence. He was a business man so I am sure he experienced the full range of emotions from anger, frustration, concern, etc. But in his life I don’t think that hate ever came up, or any malice thought. And at 86, he is still going strong, and still the same awesome person.

He taught me that “when you live with an animal you are starting a new relationship, and with any relationship there are ups and downs, and you work through them together”. And if you haven’t seen his video, please click on his link above. He always asks me ‘how are my fans doing these days!’

George Adamson, who you might remember from his wife’s famous book, and subsequent movie, Born FreeI saw this movie when I was four years old, and I don’t think I have ever truly recovered from it. George was a game warden at the time, and then in later years, was the guardian to  a lion preserve. I followed his journey through life as best I could, with what was written about him. His life, the simplicity, his connection with animals, his kindness, living an adventurous life without even searching it out, this was all I could think about.

But the one thing he wrote, which has stuck with me, and has made me pause over the years is this, “I haven’t taken a morning paper in over forty years, everything I need to know is written in the earth”.

Rachel Carson was to be the next huge influence, and I am going to blame it on Rachel. She was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Her book came out in 1962, but I didn’t read it until 1976, when I was in sixth grade. My teachers all the way through grade school where the poster children for the hippie movement. I learned about composting, back packing, Sasquatch, gardening, sit ins at recess, singing in class, protesting, and conservation.

She wrote a book, spelling out the truth and what was happening and going to happen unless there was great change. Because she told the truth, a well orchestrated, systematic, titanic size level of attacks came down on her in a crushing fashion, all in the public eye. Large agricultural, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries tried to paint her as crazy, hysterical female, stepping into a mans world where she didn’t belong, and who was obviously speaking above her knowledge. She lived with threats, harassment, slanderous public comments, and a society who turned their backs on her.

If a person can be discredited, then their ideas, words, and life’s work stay on the fringe, and it never really sticks. And that was the hope of the large industries, to make her words not stick.

And the public started to believe it a bit. She knew the truth, and stood her ground. And slowly but surely, some changes started to be made.

But what the main stream media did, and is still doing today is called ‘manufactured consent’. Noam Chomsky coined this term, and if you don’t know who he is, please read more about him.

Main stream media, by the very fact of saying something, in TV, radio, or print, true or not, can manufacture responses, feelings, ideals, and moral and ethical outcomes. And most of main stream media, then and today, is largely funded in advertising dollars by the large industries, like pharma, chemical, and agribusiness. Fact.

I have stood on the steps of court houses with protest signs, I have marched in parades to promote breast feeding, I have served on committees for more open space for dogs, but it was in 1998 that I first experienced for myself, how deep and powerful the bullshit really goes.


We lived in a town in Wyoming where they still used fogging trucks, and fogged every street, every Thursday night, for fourteen weeks each summer, with malathion.

If you read government literature and articles, with testing done ‘in house’, there is zero risk, totally safe, no worries. But when you start to read independent studies and literature, there are opposing results, across the board. The Health Effects of Pesticides/Malathion.

Blame it on Rachel. She empowered a lot of people to do the right thing!

So I set up a meeting with the Mayor of our town, Jerry Heckart, in September 1998. I was thirty nine weeks pregnant, as big as a house, and I walked into his office to discuss possible alternatives to malathion fogging, as they were available. And I also wanted to share the studies on adverse effects of pesticides to people, frogs, and the environment in general. He looked me in the eye, and kindly said, “lets share this information at our city council meeting, bring three to five people with you that support this effort, and we can all talk about it”. I was thrilled.

On my due date, in the evening, I walked into the city council meeting with four friends who were all well educated on the topic of pesticides and our environment. And we walked into a trap. The conference room had over one hundred people that were anti-environmentalists, agribusiness CEO’s, and ranchers that were both hysterical and ignorant, which is never a good combination.

The Mayor, Jerry Heckart, looked me right in the eye when I stood up to present my concerns, and this time, with his crew around him, had a level of hate and contempt, and anger in his eyes, directed specifically at me. And one city councilman actually said, and if you want, go look up the transcript, because it degenerated into a complete second grade shit show, “I like sitting outside in shorts in the summer and I don’t want to be bothered by mosquitoes”. They were not interested in science, they were not interested in the studies on childhood cancer rates in our town, or the lack of amphibians, or bats, or anything. It was like they put their fingers in their ears and were singing la-la-la-la-la.

Disbelief. That is all I was feeling. Really, this is the adult world? People are really like this?

That is when I learned for myself, that even if you have the truth and are standing up and wanting to do the work for a better planet, money and corporations have very loud crushing voices.

But I blame it on Rachel.

My husband and I went out and spray painted lines within 50 feet of our property, and told the fogging truck to turn off his fogger when he entered our property space. It was a stand of course, as it didn’t change the bigger picture, but nonetheless, I wasn’t going to let Jerry Heckart back me into a corner. We would turn on our sprinklers for the whole night, and make sure the fogger was turned off when going by our home. Slowly people started to do this around town, until entire streets where spray painted off.

I am not sure what has happened in this town as we left two years later. I hope someone continued the fight.

I have since been involved with campaigns for safer vaccine choices for children and animals, setting up Titer Clinics for dogs, stopping our neighbors from using Chem Lawn companies, and writing to our Senators, a lot over the years actually, to fight for safe food, non GMO causes, keeping lands public, ending trapping on public lands, and saying NO to mandatory vaccines for children and adults.


Because of Rachel, I have learned over the years that working towards and fighting for what is safe and what is right, it not always straight forward. Money is powerful, and those that want to continue what they are doing, will continue it, and just try to move you out of the way. We have had our phone lines merged, or phones tapped, our cell phones tracked, and our house watched. Talk with anyone who has stood out with their own voice, no matter how small a cause, and this is not uncommon at all.

If you are in the animal world you know that Dana Scott of Dogs Naturally Magazine has picked a fight with pharma, vaccine manufacturers, veterinarians, chemical companies, and the pet food industry. She is not wrong, and she is taking the risk to bring actual information to pet owners and consumers. She is worth supporting.

In the human world, we have so many people trying to fight the fight, and whose voices you will never hear on main stream media. There was just a CalJam with all of the leading health experts, who are also picking fights with pharma, vaccine manufacturers, chemical companies, and the food industry. Many of these people have been torn apart by main stream media, and discredited, but if you are awake, and looking past the distraction, they are the ones telling you the truth. This Ted Talk video on Astro Turfing by Sharyl Attkisson is awesome, seriously awesome. I would take some time to watch it, so you know what is happening to manipulate public belief. If you click on no other link in this article, please click on Sharyl’s.


We stopped watching, listening, and reading anything from main stream media almost two years ago. If Rupert Murdoch is involved, it is most likely something he wants you to believe not what is actually happening. Manufactured consent, thanks Noam. Our family feels better for this choice.

We feel awake, we feel empowered, and we let our voices be heard, above the clutter, above the nonsense, above the distractions.

So blame it on Rachel. We should all blame it on Rachel. We should all be waking up and doing the right thing.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Good for you and the people who influenced you also impacted me!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Cindy, wouldn’t it be great if our now young generation was exposed to the likes of Rachel, as a model of a person with character who cared???

  2. Samaara says:

    Rachel Carson is one of my heroes. I’m sure you know that she very privately died from Breast Cancer. When I meet her after I’m done with this earth I’m going to ask her if Silent Spring wasn’t pointing at the now more common knowledge that pesticides put xenoestrogens in the water and food which have been shown to increase hormone receptive cancer risk. I need to reread her book:) Nice post. Samaara Robbins, CMT, CMLDTServing Truckee & North 414-4578

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Samaara, so good to hear from you. I didn’t know that about pesticides. While they can probably be linked to so many damaging things i was unaware of the estrogen connection. You’ve seen our gardens, a long time ago, but you have seen them. They have been chemical free since we moved here 14.5 years ago, and it has such a different feel knowing that my kids and dogs can roll around anyplace, anywhere out there and it is healthy… I wish this for the world.

  3. Wow, that pesticide story sounds so upsetting, sometimes the best solution really is to move, but it wounds like you set some good wheels in motion! It’s funny how much we have in common. Rachel Carson was also a big influence on me, also Helen and Scott Nearing, I’ve often been torn, in this world, between being an activist and just turning my back on government and doing my own sustainable back to the land type of thing.

    As I get older I realize that is not an option, that more of us have to step up to the plate and take positions on boards and councils and not passively accept what comes down, but actively strategize for change. Change can take a LONG time! Albert and I worked for 12 years to save one parcel of land, it seemed like we had succeeded and then we left and two years later it was being used as a gravel pit. Change and protecting our environment is a long term game, and we need to get people who are willing to give not just one year or twelves years but our whole lifetimes, as Bernie Sanders has done. One thing I am inspired about from watching Sanders is that he has been in this for such a long haul. He has never given up. He has a good way of using his energy so that he can pace himself.

    Thats what I promise you and Bernie too, is I will try to pace myself so that I can continue to fight for peace and justice. Win or lose, I’m not going to give up. I will get more involved, I’ll get more people involved, we all must participate! It’s nice knowing you are out there blazing your trail! Much love to you from Maine!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Jenny, you and I have always said we are sisters from different mothers… We do have a lot in common, and one day we will meet, I have a feeling!

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