College of Professional Studies professor Mike Bryson, who also directs RU’s program in Sustainability Studies, is a contributor to the urban nature book and blog project, “City Creatures,” one of many endeavors by the Center for Humans and Nature here in Chicago. The project integrates scientific, literary, and artistic perspectives in the analysis and critical engagement of human-wildlife encounters in Chicago and its suburbs.
In his City Creatures blog essay this week, Bryson takes two seemingly disparate topics — biodiversity here in the City of Chicago, and the impending threat of fracking for oil and natural gas in southern Illinois — and explores their many connections: political, ecological, and social. He notes that “even as I remember the pleasure of seeing a black-crowned night heron skim the waters of the Chicago River’s North Branch, I simultaneously consider the impacts of climate change upon the present and future biota of our city parks and neighborhoods; the role of fossil fuel production and combustion in accelerating climate change locally, regionally, and globally; and the contested political processes by which oil, gas, and mining companies create opportunities to extract raw materials from our state lands in order to profit themselves, in the process further driving the warming of our planet.”
For more information on the fossil fuel extraction process called fracking and how this environmental controversy is playing out here in the State of Illinois, visit this page on the Sustainability Studies at RU blog.