I’ve been back from an engagement at the Heartland Institute for nearly a week and haven’t found time to pen anything about it, until now. However imperfectly I might have rendered my presentation (I seem to be my own worst critic here) I went away happy and fulfilled. I guess that goes along with having a mission in life and working toward it. And the good feelings also come from mingling with enthusiastic, thinking, like-minded people, something a misanthrope such as myself doesn’t enjoy just every day.
The main point was to introduce my book to Joseph Bast’s venerable institution, the right kind of place for the unconventional environmental conclusions I’d arrived at after 4,400 miles of woodland trails. Heartland is a place where people gather who are concerned about the environment but who also share a concern for the preservation of liberty. They’re people who think the environment can flourish, as it does now, within a free market setting. And it may even be that the free market has enabled the American environment to flourish.
And there were critters too. The hours spent driving through Chicago’s suburban corona almost convinced me that I’d utterly left behind wild things. Not so, though. Susan and I spent time along the banks of the Des Plaines River seeking out living things and weren’t disappointed. The diversity throughout this wooded corridor was amazing and there are some convincing pictures below. Chicago’s suburbia seemed to have fenced out all the wild things, but not so; wild things remain opportunists and opportunities abound in the hedge rows, along the watercourses and along the edges of neatly mowed suburban yards.
The Chicago suburbs are a worst-case scenario and yet they abound with wildlife. The only worse place that comes to mind is perhaps the sight of a nuclear meltdown, such as Chernobyl. And it may be a good comparison because the square miles surrounding Chernobyl also abound with wildlife today. Almost as though life goes on, adapts, finds unplanned opportunities and, in the end, flourishes.
Much thanks to Heartland for advancing a more open-minded environmental perspective.