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It’s been a long stretch between blogs.

The San Miguel PEN series in January and February soaked up hours of time and energy, and then the San Miguel flu season slowed me down. Happily, all is now sunshine and jacarandas in San Miguel, and I have two topics to share.

The first: a newly published book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson. For years and years, E. O. Wilson, the myrmecologist (ant guy) has been my hero. His writings made me a devoted fan of the leafcutter ant. My then husband Harry and I saw these little critters marching along a path in a Costa Rican national park carrying leaf pieces over their shoulders (wrong word) like swords. The staff in the park, were caretakers rather than naturalists, so when I asked the park ranger what they were doing, he replied, “hormigas” (ants.) Period.

I have since devoured Wilson’s wonderful writings baring the secrets of these amazing animals, examples of what he has termed “superorganisms.” These social animals arose more than 200 million years old, and were successfully farming their fungus gardens when us humanoids were scrounging in the woods for fruits and berries.

Highly recommended, but not the subject of his new book.

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard's Pelegrino University Research Professor and Curator in Entomology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology inside his office, Tuesday, December 17, 2002. Staff Photo Justin Ide/Harvard University News Office

Wilson’s new book is a plea for saving the nature he has dedicated his life to—not just the ants, but all of our rich and varied fellow occupants of Mother Earth. It is a call for a radical solution; moving all the humans to half the earth, and leaving the other half to the species we are presently pushing to extinction. Now 86, writing from a retirement home, where he has turned out a book a year for 13 years, he pleads for the planet.

Quotes from the review in the Audubon magazine, September-October 2015, by Claudia Dreifus:(https://www.audubon.org/magazine/september-october-2015/eo-wilson-wants-us-leave-half-earth)

Half-Earth is Wilson’s answer to the disaster at hand; a world re-imagined in which humans retreat to areas comprising one half of the planet’s landmass. In many ways this respected scholar is risking his reputation of a lifetime with such a radical idea. But he doesn’t think he is the radical.

If there’s an urgency driving both his writing and his activism, Wilson says its because he feels he press of time and he’s still got a lot to do.

“I may not have many years left,” he says. “So whatever is important to me the arguments to be made must be done now. I’ve done it. I am feeling pretty good right now.”

Ojala that more of us octogenarians “feel pretty good” about what we are doing to help the planet!

The book will be available for lending in San Miguel’s Biblioteca Publica as soon as I have finished it. Also available on Kindle.

And check out those leaf-cutters. You won’t be sorry.

leafcutter-ant

The second topic, next blog: Free courses full of good stuff.

Photo credit:

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard’s Pelegrino University Research Professor and Curator in Entomology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology inside his office, Tuesday, December 17, 2002. Staff Photo Justin Ide/Harvard University News Office.