“What good is an eagle if you can’t eat it?”
This was a question author Kate Troll was unprepared for when she spoke at a city council meeting in a small town in Alaska concerning the logging industry’s effects on the eagle population.
The town where she spoke, Troll said to the book talk attendees, had an economically struggling lumber mill. They were planning to use a nearby forest for a logging operation.
That fall, eagles had flocked to its forest to feed on chum salmon. There was a group among the townsfolk that wanted to protect that spot of forest for them.
In the midst of the debate between whether to save either the mill or the eagles, that one question poised by a sarcastic logger gave Troll the opportunity to educate the public about the synergy between the forest and the eagles.
Troll made the talk’s main concept the relationship between man and nature, and how we as humans can economically benefit from conservatism.
Tom Dorsey, volunteer for the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers, said he was fascinated when Troll made mention about how an ocean temperature change more than two degrees can lead to substantial negative effects on the environment.
“As an astronomer, I relate it to our neighbor-planet Venus. It’s not because of its proximity to the sun, it has a much heavier atmosphere than our earth, but somehow [its atmosphere] went haywire,” Dorsey said.
At Miller Hall, May 5, Troll spoke to students about her book, “The Great Unconformity,” a book about sustainability and climate change.
“[Student activism] is essential in that they’re the next generation of activists,” Troll said. “In order for us to deal effectively with climate change, we need action on all levels, not just the national level.”
Troll described her experience at the Alaskan lumber town as her “first professional trial by fire.”
Answering that unforeseen question not only would put her reputation at risk, Troll said, but promoting either eagles or the logging industry would spark more fierce debate than it would be worth.
Instead, she talked to the townsfolk about how eagles and timber coexist synergistically in nature. This way Troll could promote both trees and eagles.
Troll called the talk itself the “five-five-ten,” referencing the three main subtexts of her book. They are, as she calls them, five key facts about climate change, five major barriers to progress and, finally, ten points of hope for advocacy.