Monday, March 26, 2018

Floral Book Review: "Trespassing Across America" by Ken Ilgunas

The Keystone XL Pipeline gained a large amount of press and our nations attention when the Native people of our country, farmers, homeowners, and your basic clean water drinkers protested the pipeline cutting through their land.

I haven't ever really posted anything even remotely political on this blog or any social media outlet both personal and business.  But as I slowly penguin walked my way though the isles of Barnes and Noble I saw this book.  "Trespassing Across America" by Ken Ilgunas appealed to me for two reasons: first I was interested in learning more about the pipeline and second I love a good adventure story.  So I am going to review this book from more of a facts appreciation than an opinion.

For the floral review of this book...I instantly thought irrigation pipe! And then I thought black like the tar sands of Canada.  This was a favorite of mine to review floral-ly because it's not just flowers sitting in a vase on a nicely staged table (don't get me wrong...I love flowers in a fun vase on a nicely curated table). It was just an opportunity to include irrigation pipe in my design which let's be honest...may never appropriately happen again.

"Trespassing Across America" Floral Book Review

I really enjoyed the book because I was surprised by so many of the facts he many things I had no idea about.  I enjoyed his commitment to only walking. I really enjoyed how many people took him into their homes for a warm meal and an even warmer shower.

I most appreciated the feedback he got from the people he met about climate change, the pipeline, and that precious resource, drinkable water. 

Ilgunas hiked by foot from Hardisty, Alberta Canada to Port Arthur, Texas which is 1,915 miles. Once he enters the US his route went through: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.  The Keystone XL portion is actually an add on to the Keystone Pipeline. The proposed XL will run through: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska. 

Ilgunas writes, "SO even though the XL's path would lead me over the Great Plains, the "flyover" states, and what I frankly saw as the middle of nowhere, with the fate of the warming world at stake, I thought of the XL as the center of the universe - and I wanted to be there to learn everything I could about it." 

Here are some points he makes through out the book that A. I didn't know as I mentioned above and B. thought them to be quite captivating....

So I'll start with the fact that I found most mind blowing:
"The jobs would be few - and around five thousand for a couple of years as the pipe was being laid and a mere 30 permanent ones afterward. And despite all the claims that "We need oil!" it may surprise many people to learn that we actually export more oil than we import. In 2011, America's biggest export was fuel."  I thought that 30 permanent jobs was unbelievable!

The Plains:
"The plains cover about 1/5 of Canada and United States, making it the second largest ecosystem on the continent after the boreal forest.

Rallies and Water:
Ilgunas went to a rally about the pipeline where both pro and con folks had gathered. He wrote of the crowd, "but most of the crowd was made up of farmers, ranchers, and plain old Nebraskans deathly afraid that this pipe might - whether through climate change or contaminated water destroy their lives." Yes, the pipeline will run over a portion of the Ogallala aquifer.

Pipes...lots of Pipes:
Ilgunas writes, "I didn't know this at the time, but there are 150,000 miles of oil pipelines in the US alone. Add gas pipelines, and we have more than 1.7 million miles of pipes.  These are our veiled veins, silently moving fossil fuels beneath the ground like blood beneath the skin."

Oil Users:
As I mentioned above I was fond of the thoughts from the people he met while traveling, whether they were pro pipeline or against it...they were all striking. However this quote from a pair of guys on route to Edmonton was the most thoughtful to me, "He said that anyone who uses oil shouldn't complain about oil."

As he nears the end of the book I love this quote, "There's a saying on the plans that goes something like this, "Once you wear out a pair of boots, you wont' want to leave." On my hike I wore out three pairs of boots. I'd often find myself looking west to our great forgotten land, our Heartland of stars and skies and grass, where a chorus of denial there are sill calls rebellion, where the cow roams and the buffalo are coming back, where one of the great environmental fights of the twenty-first century took place."  Interestingly enough he now lives in Nebraska so I guess the saying is true?  

He ends what I think is a nice thought on a tough issue, "the stationary person is vehemently defensive about conserving his way of life, as if protecting how things have always been is the noblest of virtues when, truly, our fossil-fuel-powered economy is but 150 years old. But any hiker knows that what can be done in 150 year can just as quickly become undone. And when I thought of climate change, I couldn't' predict what the future had instore, but I felt an odd comfort in know that if the land, animals, and climate can change so can we." 

Black and white bouquet prior to being placed inside a piece of irrigation pipe

black and white bouquet

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