Posted - September 7
‘Think locally, act locally' is topic of biology professor's lecture
September 16 - 7:30 pm
Eureka College biology professor Michael Toliver will present "Natural History on the Road" at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Cerf Center at Eureka College. A reception will follow.
The free, public presentation will explore the Toliver family's extended road trip to Washington state this summer and offer tips on thinking locally to address global environmental concerns.
"When friends heard of our planned route this summer, a typical response was, ‘Oh no – you've got to drive through North Dakota,'" Toliver said. That response "is indicative of how people have become divorced from the natural world," he said. "We drive through an area like North Dakota, seemingly flat and uninteresting, and regard the trip as boring."
Separation from the natural world is further exemplified by the inability of students to name 20 "critters" that live in their backyards, even though they can name 20 endangered species from around the world, Toliver said.
"The separation is harmful – in a trivial way because it makes trips through less ‘scenic' areas boring, but in a substantive way because it leads us to presume that environmental problems are global and separate from where we live," Toliver said. "We often hear, ‘Think globally, act locally,' but why should we? I say we should ‘Think locally.'" Doing so will lead to local action, which will impact global issues more effectively, according to Toliver, whose presentation will offer examples of thinking locally.
Toliver also will discuss the "No Child Left Inside" movement and offer a number of fascinating natural histories his family observed on its trip.
Toliver joined the Eureka College faculty in 1981. He is chairman of the college's Science and Mathematics Division. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico and a master's degree and doctorate, both from the University of Illinois.
Toliver is an entomologist and biologist interested in the ecology and evolution of butterflies. He is the secretary of the Lepidopterists' Society, an international science society dedicated to the study and conservation of butterflies and moths. He is one of the Lepidoptera editors for the international science journal Zootaxa. He co-authored a book on New Mexico butterflies and wrote most of the butterfly chapters in Fred Stehr's book "Immature Insects." He and his wife, Peg Toliver, authored the web site "Natural History of Lake Eureka."
The presentation is the first of four Clarence R. Noe Dean's Lectures by Eureka College faculty members this academic year. Others will be "Witness to a Savage Summer: 1964 and the Struggle for Freedom" by business administration and criminal justice lecturer Arthur Greenberg at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26; "A Thought Experiment on God and Being" by assistant professor of religion William Wright at 4 p.m. March 22; and "What's the Deal? Childhood Obesity Rises as Youth Sport Participation Reaches All-Time High" by associate professor of physical education Karen Sweitzer at 7:30 p.m. April 7. All of the lectures will be in the Cerf Center.
For more information, call (309) 467-6301.
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