Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bug Man Extraordinaire

Last night I went to a Progressive Forum lecture by E.O. Wilson. Who is Wilson you ask? Well, you really should know so I’ll tell you. He is an extremely prolific Pulitzer-winning entomologist and Harvard professor who essentially created the field of sociobiology and has championed the issue of biodiversity for decades. Wait, are you thinking, “Why would I want to hear what a bug-obsessed man has to say about the larger world?” Although a naturalist, conservationist, and theorist, Wilson is one of those rare humans whose impact extends far beyond a field of study or academia and into the world at large.

Wilson spoke with reverence and immeasurable respect about the intricate complexity of Earth’s creation. Using decades of his research, he detailed some astounding facts about biodiversity (at least 1.5 million species on earth at last count) and the increasing pace at which humans are destroying our earth. Wilson also discussed his new book: The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Using a hypothetical letter from the book written to a generic Southern Baptist Pastor, Wilson asks why religious leaders haven’t made the protection of Creation a priority Essentially, Wilson appeals to the leaders of two of today’s most influential communities—scientists and religious leaders—to come together to save the glory of nature. Surprisingly optimistic, Wilson outlined several strategies that can only come about through the unified efforts of these two, often polarized groups. Wilson closed with the observation by (somebody whose name I forget with the Nature Conservancy) that society is defined not just by what it creates but by what it refuses to destroy. That is something I am going to contemplate for some time.


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