Alternative Field Trips to the Art Institute of Chicago: Broken Art

by Liam Heneghan The Art Institute of Chicago is unremarkable in this one respect: like every world class art museum its galleries teem with works representing indefatigable artistic industry besieged by the entropic desolation that all the works of humankind are heir to. Our lot is to amass and assemble; the universe responds, dispassionately, with…

Was St Patrick a Biocidal Lunatic? Some Sober Reflections on Ireland’s Patron Saint and Snakes

by Liam Heneghan Like a Noah in reverse St Patrick kicked snakes off the rain-drenched ark of Ireland. So complete was his mystical sterilization of the land that seven hundred years later in his Topographia Hibernica (1187) Gerald of Wales could write: “There are neither snakes nor adders, toads nor scorpions nor dragons… It does…

The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Ecological Restoration

by Liam Heneghan Click diagram to enlarge Context: One of the newer biological conservation strategies, ecological restoration, attempts to reverse the degradation of lands set aside for conservation purposes by reinstating, as closely as possible, the species and environmental conditions that existed before recent and large scale disturbances by human activities. A newly emerging framework…

Only Mars Will Save Us Now: Space Exploration and Terrestrial Sustainability as competing Environmental Strategies

by Liam Heneghan More than any at other conferences I have attended, participants in the annual Mars Society meeting, which was held this year in Boulder, Colorado (August 2013) — their 16th such meeting, my first — like to nod their agreement. In contrast, attendees at the meetings I more regularly visit concerning the ecological…