I watched an excellent NOVA program last night called The Lord of Ants. It’s about the life of E.O.Wilson, one of my personal heroes and sources of inspiration. It’s called The Lord of Ants because of the research on ants that Wilson focused on but Wilson did more than just study ants, he made the linkage from ants to biosystems and teaches us about how life connects to life on our planet and the habitats that we have to protect.
It’s recognized that we are currently going through a mass extinction and in this program he describes the impact (no, it’s not the end of the world, but the species and diversity of the world will change). With science, rather than emotion, E.O. Wilson makes a call for action in the hopes of saving diversity.
In addition to being really informative and inspiring, there are a couple of things that I especially liked about this program. First, it’s told by him in the present day so it’s current and real. The second is that the program weaves together not only stories that he tells about past research but also present day research that links the past with the present. He then takes that to the next dimension: turning data into action, turning information into a discussion around the need to protect and preserve habitats. This is something that we strive to do through Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy so I especially grooved on that.
Another part of the program that I really loved was where he points out how you and I can get involved here at the local level. Environmental monitoring programs and activities like a BioBlitz that we do here locally are shown to connect into this big picture tying education and monitoring to conservation. He also talks about the Encyclopedia of Life, which I did a blog post on a week or so ago, and his vision for that.
E.O. Wilson is certainly one of the greatest naturalists of our modern days. I encourage you to check out this NOVA program next time it’s on or watch it online through the link above (it’s just an hour and is not dry at all) and pick up a book or two of his – they are both fascinating and often poetic.