Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


January 10, 2007

Kathleen Garness

principal, KMG Fine Arts

Today's Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2007.

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

The opportunity to observe orchids in their native habitat and to become involved with their conservation.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Gardens planted by my neighbors - we lived in a very small apartment and I definitely was starved for the outdoors! Illinois Beach State Park in Zion IL, a National Natural Landmark, is a very close second or a tie for favorite.

Now? I steward a forest preserve in the Chicago region. I LOVE it there, tho I have to be careful of ticks, snakes, deer, wolves, coyotes and bobcats. And poison ivy and unsteady trees... Perhaps the element of danger, unsuspected and always around the corner, adds an element of excitement to my time in the woods doing management and monitoring...

I also love the Chicago Wilderness community of scientists and fellow stewards, and really enjoy helping them out on their workdays.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is, and why?

I think the horse. They are so regal, so beautiful, and have such an intimate history of involvement with the human species and its progress. I was recently at the Field Museum of Natural History where I saw how horses evolved from the size of terriers, with little toes, to what they are today! Amazing! I would love to see the native and wild horses - zebras, and others - in their native habitat someday.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

The greatest environmental challenge right now is our urge to acquire, to compete with others about the goods we have or desire.

Our discontent with the humble reality of our lives. We seek social validation and status from our possessions, when in reality our greatest possession is our ability to care for one another, to be in relationship with one another, and to use our minds and hands in a creative, thoughtful manner. When we are bored with something, when it no longer gives us status, we discard it, whether or not it has come to the end of its useful life. We take no thought for how its disposal will poison our water or soil for the generations to come.

Also, I think that the majority of the world's population is struggling to find socially useful and truly meaningful work, and are becoming increasingly more disconnected from the sources of their food and from nature. This is one reason for social unrest over the ages. The global trend that moves people from agriculture and home industry to crowded urban conditions seems very unhealthy to me. We are rapidly becoming the serfs of the megacorporations, in the service of our appetites, and that disturbs me greatly.

The greatest challenge facing us in the future is undoing the past one hundred years of environmental damage while preserving the freedom to continue to do so, and to work toward social justice at the same time. We need to create a sustainable future for the human race or WE will be on the Threatened/Endangered species list next. We are currently in the sixth period of massive extinctions in the earth's multi-billion year history, and it is all due to man's inability to work together and find sustainable solutions for the challenges inherent in technological progress.

5. If you could give everyone one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Protect it carefully from development and be thoughtful about what you purchase and eventually dispose of. Insist that cities be built up, not out, capitalizing on already-available space and infrastructure. Protect our natural resources, especially freshwater resources, for our grandchildren and the generations after them.

Insist on preserving biodiversity in our public lands. Aldo Leopald once said "The first principle of intelligent tinkering is to keep all the parts." Well, that's several pieces of advice, all rolled into one: Protect our environment and irreplaceable natural resources with all your heart and mind and soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment