A quick post – I’ll be giving a talk on wolverines in Southborough, Massachusetts, on Thursday, April 16th, at 7:30 pm. The presentation will be held at the Southborough Community House, 28 Main St, and is free and open to the public, made possible through a grant from the Southborough Community Fund and the sponsorship of the Southborough Open Land Foundation – a great group with a staff committed to local land and wildlife conservation.
This is the first time that I’ll be speaking in Massachusetts (anywhere in New England, in fact) and the first time I’ll be giving a talk far outside of wolverine range, so I’m excited to introduce the species to an audience who might be less familiar with it. I’m looking forward to a conversation about wildlife in a community where the understanding of issues such as the Endangered Species Act, public lands, and carnivore conservation is so different to the understanding of such issues out West.
I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and the emphasis placed on the idea of common good, intellectual pursuit, and the (occasionally stodgy) necessity of being precautionary about resources of all kinds has had a lasting effect on my sense of environmental ethics. So has the idea of something owed to the wider world, which, in the minds of my ancestors, probably revolved around the good behavior owed to a supreme deity, but which over time has evolved into a secular orientation towards service and reciprocity towards whatever entities, environmental or societal, have been good to you. (Jonathan Franzen recently wrote about his own fusion of New England Puritanism and environmental ethics in The New Yorker. His is not a cheery picture, and Grist made a worthwhile rebuttal to his general premise about climate change and conservation outcomes, but the brief point about the kinship between the New England and the environmentalist sense of responsibility resonated with me.) It will be good to speak to the home crowd. And despite our chilly Puritan roots, I expect that it will be a fun evening. So please drop by if you are in the area. Hope to see you there.