An Unexpected Journey, by Grant Argo

My trip to White Clay State Park this week was very unexpected. When I arrived, I meandered through the trails back to my usual spot by Cattail Pond. Unlike last week when I visited this sacred place, I saw some of the creatures that call this pond home. Three beautiful Wood Ducks were swimming around the pond and suddenly soared into the sky when I approached. Seeing these magnificent creatures with their array of colors was truly a picture-perfect moment. Mother Nature allowed me to be present during this spectacle so instead of staying stationary around this pond, I decided to hike through some unknown trails with the hope of seeing more of nature’s beauty.

Before I knew it, I was deep into the forest of the State Park. Being surrounded by a plethora of species of deciduous trees, insects, birds, and mammals is the closest we modern humans can get to connecting with our primitive ancestors. I felt at home. I felt at peace. These trails required a lot of careful navigation. Whether it be crossing rocks, roots, bridges, twists, or turns; these trails had it all. I was able to find a very small freshwater stream that was located near a surveyor’s stone erected in 1872. Here, I sat and listened to the running water while taking in all the other noises and sights that Mother Nature was gracious enough to share with me. I felt that I was one with nature, not separate from it.

This week’s article, written by Elizabeth Kolbert, titled, Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast, was truly eye opening. Never had I heard the truth about the state of Louisiana and the inevitable doom that lurks in the future. Since I was a young boy, I understood that nature is the ultimate power in this world. No matter how much humanity attempts to alter and control the world, Mother Nature always comes out on top. Reading this article and understanding how Kolbert describes the engineering pursuits that are underway in Louisiana is utterly terrifying. For example, Kolbert includes a statement from a resident which states, “But, when we as humans intervene, it rarely turns out well. That’s why we are where we are today” (Kolbert). This is perhaps the most powerful portion of Kolbert’s piece. Not only does this statement resonate with climate events underway in Louisiana, but it also ties in very well with the rest of the world. Humankind needs a major shift in its approach to the environment. We, as a species, cannot control nature. Instead, we must understand how we are negatively impacting the environment around us and then come up with practical solutions to stop or limit these negative impacts.

In addition to Kolbert’s article, the documentary produced by Spike Lee, titled, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, depicts the social, political, and economical side of disasters in Louisiana. Kolbert touched on this idea in her article as well; however, Spike Lee demonstrates how impoverished areas in New Orleans are not given the resources needed to stay protected and recover from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. For example, the documentary depicts FEMA Director Mike Brown underplaying the possible effects that Katrina could bring. This “can-do” optimism expressed by Brown greatly contributed to Louisiana and the United States’ lack of preparation. The government was caught flatfooted and per usual, the impoverished neighborhoods of Louisiana were hit the hardest.

Judging by this week’s reading and film, as well as all the other material included in this class, it seems that the United States of America is obsessed with making the rich richer and the poor poorer. When is this going to stop? All the issues in today’s society are minute compared to the inevitable doom that climate change poses to all of civilization. When is the world going to wake up? Louisiana demonstrates the underlying truth that humans cannot and will never be able to control Mother Nature. It’s time we put our differences aside and work together to save our planet.


Taking Any Advantage, by Megan Noonan

It’s Monday morning and I am once again walking the path at White Clay Creek. The day is bright and sunny with a high of seventy-nine degrees and a low of fifty-seven. As October slowly creeps closer, the sun has begun to set earlier in the day and with the darkness brings the cold. Each step I take creates a small cloud of dirt that circles around my ankles. All around me I can hear the cicadas and crickets chirping. After only a short amount of time I became habituated to the noise. As I continued to walk I spotted many different types of wildlife such as different species of birds, insects, plants, and fungi. I was in awe of the beauty in the array of living creatures.

As a medical diagnostics student, it intrigues me to think about how these creatures evolved to be how they are today. I wonder what these same animals that I am observing now might have looked like when the Native Americans lived on this land. The topic of evolution has been discussed in every class of mine.  Exterminate All The Brutes Part 3, discusses the environmental mindset of the colonizers during the eighteenth century. The colonizers in the eighteenth century believed in, “A ready made universe where nothing could be added or subtracted from it” (Peck, 2021).

It wasn’t until Georges Cuvier found the remains of what we now know is a mammoth and speculated that the mammoth was its own species that had become extinct. Years later Charles Darwin published his theory on evolution. His findings were instrumental to the science community and changed the public’s thinking entirely. As discussed in the documentary, the white colonizers saw this new theory as advantageous to their racist agenda, “Genocide began to be regarded as inevitable byproduct of progress and predudice against alien peoples which had always existed was now given organized form and apparent scientific validation” (Peck, 2021).

The white settlers used the theory of evolution to “prove” their superiority and used it as a reason to continue to enslave and murder all people of color. Anyone who opposed this ideology was deemed as ignorant, “After darwin, it also became accepted to shrug your shoulders at genocide, if you were upset you were just showing your lack of education” (Peck, 2021). I take a deep breath and with the exhale try to release all of the frustration of reflecting on the past. I continue to walk further down the path. I find a small path leading down to the creek and decide to venture that way. The water below me is a murky dark blue color that hides the fish below the surface. As my eyes travel to the middle of the creek, I see a variety of soft colored rocks. The sound of the water gliding across the rocks could put me to sleep. The water doesn’t smell of fish as I would have expected it to have instead it smells of tree bark and fresh air.

I took out my phone to take some notes. As I am typing I remembered a quote from the documentary stating, “History starts when men start to write” (Peck, 2021). Whoever holds the pen to write also holds the power of how history is portrayed. The book, An Indigenous People’s History Of The United States provides another perspective to the history of the colonization of America. The reason that the true history of colonization which includes the pillaging, kidnapping, and genocide of native americans has not been taught is becasue the same people who are comitting those crimes are the ones writing the history. The “victors” will write history to their advantage and avoid documenting the disgusting practices they used to obtain the wealth and land they still currently hold. Words have power and this book has the power to change minds and bring light to the dark past. I am now walking back to my car and taking in all of my surroundings. The fresh air and the sweet smell of grass linger as I step into the driver’s seat. In one week I know I will find myself in this exact parking spot, walking the path I just left.