Oh, The Things We’ll Never Know

June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

Today, I came across the beginning of this 71 page ‘story’ I want to call it, but I know that would not be correct.  It is more like an investigation, and a mission; that everyone knows what truly happened that day.  I sat almost completely still while reading this, knowing that this problem  is right outside my door, literally.  I live exactly 1/2 mile from the banks of Morrow pond and less than a mile from the delta.  The Kalamazoo River Oil Spill has haunted my thoughts for nearly two years now.  Finally, after two years, we are being informed the way we should have been this whole time.  This bit is the beginning of the 71 pages, which I will now have to find.  I just could not keep myself from sharing with you all.




Here is a helpful timeline of the events that took place



Looks like you can buy the e-book for $1.99 on Amazon



Elephants as Role Models?

May 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

I think I told you about Grist.org. Well, this morning, when I checked in with it, I came across this short interesting article. I immediately wanted to share it and thought of our blog. I hope your summer is going well. Give this a quick read. Comment if you like.


-Alison S.


April 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

How appropriate!  I know the semester has come to a close, however I feel that we will all find this enjoyable.  Just go to the link, sit back, and watch!  Thank you NPR…you make my day almost every day!


E. O. Wilson and The Social Conquest of Earth

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

“We have created a Star Wars civilization with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology” — EDWARD O. WILSON


The link, above, to this interview by Bloomberg News with scientist and author E. O. Wilson is in the Kalamazoo Gazette’s Entertainment Section, p. E5, of today’s Gazette.  Also, his new book, The Social Conquest of Earth, was reviewed last Sunday in the New York Times’ Book Review:


“…That book [Sociobiology], only a short chapter of which was about human beings, inspired one protester to dump a pitcher of water over Dr. Wilson’s head at a scholarly conference. But these days Dr. Wilson — a courtly man with a touch of an Alabama drawl and a palpable eagerness to comment on even casually encountered flora and fauna — is more likely to be hailed as the nation’s leading advocate for biodiversity and an all-around eco hero.

Not that his days as a controversialist are entirely behind him. “The Social Conquest of Earth,” presented by his publisher as the capstone work of his career, is written in the graceful style that has won him two Pulitzer Prizes but grounded in a view of evolution that has already prompted sharp criticism from his fellow scientists.”

There were a few posts about activism and radicalism on the blog this week, and while reading these book reviews today, I thought we should consider the act of writing as a peaceful, yet potentially radical act as well.  When you look at Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech, these are both radical in nature and have impacted countless lives.

–Allison G.

Words Could be the Way…

April 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

                Anthill, by E.O. Wilson, was an incredibly informative and enjoyable book to read. The novel left me with a lot of ideas to ponder. One of the ideas that I am still thinking about after reading this novel is the comparison between ant colonies and human civilization.

“Supercolony had fallen off the tightrope. In this vital way it resembled the great human anthill above and around it. When its end came, it would be at the hands of the moving-tree gods.” Page 228

The supercolony is much like human society today. We find something we want, conquer it and then take it for ourselves. Doing these things with no regards to who or what was there first. In Anthill the supercolony on the Nokobee tract is exterminated by Sunderland Associates.

Thinking of humans as a supercolony puts me into a strange whirlwind of thoughts. By our own actions we exterminate organisms that take over and become a bother. Using this logic, I think well then people should exterminate themselves (we take over and become a bother to many organisms), but that is not morally correct action to take. Then, I realize that we have exterminated ourselves. Many times in our history we have gone in and ‘exterminated’ a group of people simply to take land or to take over resources. Native Americans, when the Americas were being settled is just one example of many. The difference is in how people think about exterminating plants, insects, reptiles or mammals and exterminating humans. This is where I find the real reasoning in what we do.

It is all in the words that we use. When thinking about non-human life it is ok to use the word exterminate. When thinking about other human life we use words like ‘defending our self’, ‘defending what is rightfully ours’, and ‘defending our resources’. Our, is of course, only referring to humans. If we were to just expand the definition of ‘our’ than maybe plant, insects, reptiles, mammals AND humans could all coincide on OUR little blue planet.

“It owed to nature a debt of energy and materials incurred by overconsumption, the payment of which might be postponed for a little while, especially if Supercolony could conquer more territory-but then it must conquer still more, and yet more, to maintain what it had.” Page 228

Humans have to more land that it can conquer. We must find a new way to continue on. In using words, expanding definitions and opening our minds I believe that someday we might find this new way.

Thank you Alison, for opening my mind to the greater world that words can brings us.

-Katelin Johnson        

Patience Young Grasshopper

April 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

There are certain personality traits that I wish to develop continually as I grow older; patience is one that I have been pondering over since reading E.O Wilson’s novel Anthill. The main character Raff learned patience as a young child exploring the Nokobee tract in Alabama and continued to strengthen this trait as he aged. Throughout this semesters class I have noticed an underlying message of patience in all of our readings. It may be only apparent to me since I have been seeking to hone this skill, but patience is a necessary trait to have in the environmental activist domain. Thinking about what patience entails revealed that it is a complicated balancing act. There is such thing as having too much patience, not enough, the wrong kind, and misplaced patience. It all swirls around my frontal lobe in a mass of chaos.

So, how does one acquire patience? And what effects the bits of patience one already possesses?

It was clear what the driving force behind Raff’s patience was his love, loyalty, and dedication to the Nokobee tract. It is easier to calm your soul when you love something and feel a sense of belonging to it, but how do you practice this same ease with something you do not feel so passionately about? This is another example of the intricacies involved in the web of patience. Raff was able to wait for years to execute his plan to save the Nokobee because he LOVED this tract of land and even identified himself with it. To make changes one has to be patient and that is incredibly difficult to accept in our instant gratification society. It also taxing to execute patience with something you do not possess a passion for, but to mature and develop this skill one must do that. Have patience for all, not just what you love.  But do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of because of your skill. It is a balancing act as I said, but well worth the effort.


Here is a video of some patience at work! Saw these little guys on my way home from class one day. A couple of ants dragging home a bee :)



Last Blog Post

-Holly Balda

Anthills For Thought

April 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

Reading Anthill was a wonderful, thought provoking experience for me.  E.O. Wilson’s first fiction novel has made its way into my mind as a text that I will hold onto for many years to come.  Anthill‘s main character, Raphael Semmes Cody, meets us as a young boy with wild connections to the surrounding habitat, the Nokobee Tract.  We immediately begin with a chapter that in turn foreshadows in the last chapter.  Wilson holds nothing back with the character Frogman, who in the end, saves Raff’s life and changes his world forever.

Something that Wilson gained from writing this novel, was instilling the idea of fighting without violence.  Raff’s entire world is focused on saving something that he loves so much, but is set on not “driving nails in Douglas fir trunks,” and “lying down in front of bulldozers,”.   Raff wants to move beyond the fighting and violence and work with these problems legally.  Raff says “Somehow the prize could be, had to be, won within the law.”  Which really shows exactly what Raff is working for, to save Nokobee legally.  I understand that the idea of it all seems unreal, and sometimes it is, but there is something to take from this, something to show that it truly can happen if they right steps and measures are taken.  However it all seems so pointless working with the law when the big developers are just squeezing around laws themselves.  I believe it can be done in the future, we just need more people to step up and take action through law, not violence.

This war between activists and developers can be settled at some point in time, but only if everyone agrees, which seems almost impossible in this day and age.  Anthill offers us a way of thinking and pursuing like Raff does.  It gives us ideas and thoughts we hold close, if for someday we can take these thoughts a apply them to the world.



Final Blog Post


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.