Rates of Change on a World Stage

I’ll have to admit that my ideas about change have been moved around a great deal, prompted by flying half-way around the world. What I saw in China created a dramatic contrast to my own backyard. In China I traveled for two weeks in an area called “the Golden Triangle,” an aggregate of large industrial cities in the Yangtze Delta. In an area just barely bigger than South...

Wilderness in the Balance as China Climbs

A friend wrote today in an email and said “Save the Earth” at the end of her note. I’ll admit I’ve thought about the problems of “saving the earth” a great deal since we touched down in Shanghai. The pressures on the planet here are seriously extreme already, and it’s obvious they will mount in the next few decades. The scholars who have lectured us have...

Leaping Dragon, Perching Eagle

I’m headed to China for two weeks on a Wofford College faculty study trip. At first I wasn’t very excited about going. I’m not a city boy, and our whole 14-day excursion would mostly take place in vast Shanghai, a coastal city of over 20 million people, China’s New York, a pulsing vortex of trade, commerce and consumerism. As my guidebook begins, “Shanghai is the...

Kudzu Kollege

Last week I attended the Spartanburg Kudzu Coalition’s “Kudzu Kollege.” Newt Hardy, the coalition’s founder and one of the organization’s directors, has been after me for years to “get my degree” in advanced kudzu removal, and it finally worked out. The Kudzu Coalition is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001. It’s run exclusively by volunteers....

Graffiti at the River

My first assignment for this semester’s environmental humanities class at Wofford College may seem a little odd to the non-academic: inventory graffiti on the Glendale bridge and shoals. Why graffiti? First, there’s plenty of it at Glendale Shoals, and I’d once heard writer Alex Haley of ROOTS fame tell about how he moved his family around the South in the 1960s and always...

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