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It’s become fashionable in many circles to regard all government regulation as bad and just about any form of deregulation as a good idea.

Examples of bureaucratic bungling and mindless, sometimes conflicting, rules imposed by various levels of government are legion, and go a long way to support the notion that all regulation is bad.

Government regulation, however, clearly has its place, and anyone who doesn’t think so need look only look out the window or to one of the many local waterways.

The legislative initiatives that grew out of the part of the environmental movement that was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s produced some perfectly good regulation.

Credited with being a major impetus in spawning that mainstream version of environmentalism is Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book “Silent Spring,” a dissertation linking unseen pollution like DDT to the disappearance of wildlife. The title itself is a reference to there being a time in the not-too-distant past when the singing of birds was not a harbinger of spring.

On March 20, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the Junior Naturalist Program at Eden Mill Nature Center in Pylesville will honor the legacy of Ms. Carson and teach children about that legacy. The coming session (for details, visit www.edenmill.org) was the subject of a story by our staff member Abrielle Willis published Friday on the Harford Outdoors page of The Aegis.

Anyone who lived in Maryland in the days when the late Ms. Carson came to her epiphany can attest that seeing a bald eagle was a rare thing. It wasn’t unusual for raw sewage to be dumped into our waterways. And many fish populations in the Chesapeake Bay were on the downswing.

With the enactment of environmental regulations to include the Clean Air and Water acts and a ban on the pesticide DDT, our waterways are cleaner, there have been improvements in fish populations — notably rockfish — and, if you know where to look, it’s pretty easy to catch a glimpse of a bald eagle in these parts.

Sure, it’s easy to make fun of government regulation, but without many of the regulations enacted 40 years ago, our world would be a dirty and desolate place.


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