Category Archives: Opinion


Nature: A Refuge in a Pandemic Age

Don Levee BikeBy Don Corrigan

On a hike in the age of pandemic this past weekend, an acquaintance noted how the sky has not been this blue since the week after 9/11. There is minimal air traffic, so the skies get a breather from the burning jet fuel, contrails and all the airliners’ heat-trapping gases.

Don’t get me wrong. This column is not about the Green New Deal and its plans for the likes of Southwest or American Airlines. I’m a believer in keeping the skies friendly for air travel, at least until my daughter gets home from Dublin, where she says she is working in a “Shelter-in-Place  Paradise.”

This missive is actually about how we are now taking refuge in nature. We are discovering purple wildflowers, blooming dogwoods and pondering “nothing but blue skies,”  as Willie Nelson sings.

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Painful Shutdown of Environmental Meetings in St. Louis

By Don Corrigan

It’s painful for Environmental Echo to receive the notices of closings and cancellations of nature outings, green activities and environmental meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic that now affects the St. Louis area and more than 140 countries.

This spreading disease is deadly serious, environmentally destructive and totally global in consequence. Obviously, it was mistake for the administration to fire the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pandemic Response Team two years ago.

It might be time to reconsider the firing of that unit, as well as the quashing of the annual reports out of the U.S. Defense Department on “Preparing the United States for Impacts of Climate Change,” which were started in 2013. Those reports include information on pandemics.

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To Arms! For U.S. Gray Squirrels!

by Don Corrigan

Funky Winkerbean’s cartoon creator,  Tom Batiuk, is  on a roll about squirrels. Hundreds of readers sent me his comic strips on squirrels.  Actually, more than hundreds – enough people to fill up the  National Mall on Inauguration Day! 

Funky Winkerbean may be tickling people’s fancy with this comic squirrel subterfuge, but the actual truth about the American Gray Squirrel is no laughing matter. So, let’s get on it. 

Headlines in Britain now are all about the Royals’ big crisis and strife involving the Queen, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s a hoax, folks. The headlines are a smokescreen. The stories should be about Prince Charles and his war against American Gray Squirrels. It’s a dirty little war. It has taken an ugly turn.
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Society of Environmental Journalists Celebrates 30 Years

Front row, left to right: Kevin Carmody, Sarah Thurin Rollin, Bruce Ritchie, Beth Parke, Marla Cone, JoAnn Valenti Center row, left to right: Mike Mansur, Don Corrigan, David Ropeik, Peter Fairley, Kathy Sagan, ID missing, Tom Meersman, ID missing, ID missing, Julie Edelman, Angela Swafford Back row, left to right: ID missing, Jay Letto, Chris Bowman, George Homsey, Russ Clemings, Gary Lee, Emilia Askari, Chris Rigel (now Bruggers), Gary Polakovic, Jim Bruggers, Noel Grove (Photo: SEJ)

Environmental Echo applauds the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) on the organization’s 30 years of advocating for nature, ecology and the environment.

EE’s Don Corrigan was in Boulder, Colorado, with SEJ when the organization debated its vision, mission and objectives. He has attended its annual conventions, which always are highlighted by field trips and a week-long intensive foray into nature to explore vital issues. He has been active with SEJ’s college teaching committees on environmental teaching and coursework. (Corrigan is pictured in the middle row – second from left.)

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A Billion Animals Crying Out Loud

by Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

I like a good bumper sticker and, “Fur Crying Out Loud,” is very effective. It is a statement against cruelty to animals and the message stays with you.

It especially stayed with me in 1981 after I wrote a feature story for our paper about the “Kirkwood Trapper.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals came up to my office, while I was at lunch, and plastered my desk with “Fur Crying Out Loud” bumper stickers.

What kind of adhesive was on those stickers? It took me months to scrape the suckers off my desk. In the meantime, I read the articles the PETA folks left behind about steel-jawed traps and the suffering of raccoons, beavers and rabbits – and a few family pets –  that all had their legs stuck in jagged traps.

The PETA articles were reasonable enough, but the group’s guerrilla tactics seemed a little extreme. I continued to think along those lines, and was no more sympathetic, even when nude female models paraded the streets proclaiming: “We’d rather go naked than  wear fur.”

Is this really necessary?

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Silver Dollar City Delivers Gold With “It’s A Wonderful Life” & More Christmas Goodies!

Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Light Parade cruises the Silver Dollar City streets nightly during An Old Time Christmas with over a dozen LED light floats and numerous colorful, costumed characters.

By Don Corrigan

It’s worth a trip to Branson this holiday season to take in that Christmas Classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, as performed on stage at Silver Dollar City.

This time of year, Branson is full of lights and color and holiday cheer. And Silver Dollar City has a Christmas Parade that’s perfect to cap off a day of entertainment that includes, It’s A Wonderful Life, and other great shows.

Frankly, the live theatre production of It’s A Wonderful Life at Silver Dollar City breathes new life into a movie that airs too frequently on television this time of year. It’s so refreshing to get a new, musical take on what is admittedly one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made.

A Silver Dollar City musical adaptation of a beloved classic, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an hour-long Broadway-style production featuring theatrical special effects, flying ghosts and numerous set changes.

Celebrated director Frank Capra referred to the film as his personal favorite of all his movies. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers all deliver memorable performances in the Capra favorite – and the ensemble in Branson lives up to their legacy.

My only criticism is that the Silver Dollar City production doesn’t make more of Uncle Billy and his pet squirrel as found in the movie production. And Silver Dollar City is the perfect locale to capitalize on the antics of a trouble-making squirrel.

Read more below.

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Corrigan Addresses Eco-Anxiety of Young People in College Paper

Eco-anxiety is intense anxiety about ecological disasters and threats to the natural environment. These threats include increasing pollution and climate change disasters, ranging from floods to storms to wildfires. Variations to the definition exist such as the broader description explaining it as the worry caused by concerns about the present and future state of the environment. and planet earth.

EE’s Don Corrigan, author of  the book, “Environmental Missouri,” recently wrote about the eco-anxiety of students in a guest editorial he was invited to write for the Webster University Journal. The link to his response to eco-anxiety is provide below:

Heres a link to his timely op-ed:


Noah’s Climate Change Action

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

The Popular Culture Association slotted me for a talk on “Squirrels: Icons of the Midwest” a couple of weeks ago. On the way to give my talk in Ohio, I stopped at the Ark, the full-size model boat of old Noah, built by the Creation Museum and its founder Ken Ham.

Bill Nye the “Science Guy” says Ken Ham is all about fake science. Nye says dinos lived 65 million years ago and couldn’t have been on the Ark. Ham’s take on Genesis is that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and dinosaurs were human contemporaries. Ham has a few Scutosauruses on his big boat.

I didn’t go to the Ark for my science. And Ham’s lecture on Adam and Eve’s sin causing all the imperfections in the creation – he included gays and kids with Down syndrome – struck me as some kind of warped sci-fi nonsense.

I traveled to Ham’s theme park to get specs on building an Ark. We may need to build a few Arks as our seas rise. I know climate warming skeptics scoff about rising seas. As Noah told his wife, Naamah, while herding Scutosauruses onto his Ark, “scoffers will scoff.”

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“Climate Change Was On My Mind…”

Don Corrigan at Rocky Falls. Photo by Emery Styron

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

After three major floods in four years, a lot of Missourians living in flood plains are throwing in the towel — and a very wet one at that. They also have become believers in climate change, because seeing is believing.

Climate change was on my mind a few weeks ago when riding my bike on the Meramec Greenway. Actually, there was very little greenway left to ride. Most of the trail was under water. So I rode on top of the Valley Park Levee and a stretch of Marshall Road between flood barricades and the flood waters.

“This seems to be happening every year now,” I said to myself, while swatting mosquitoes; watching tadpoles swim over the roadway; and enjoying herons in flight over the waves of Tree Court Industrial Park and the fields of the Kirkwood Athletic Association.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about climate change in this space, but it’s not for a lack of material. Among the materials on my desk for reviewing:

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Asian Carp Invasion: Time To Build A Wall?

Don Corrigan has an opinion on “The Wall.” No, not the wall proposed along the Mexico border, but a wall proposed in Illinois.

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

It’s time to seize the day and build the wall. Not the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for at our southern border, but a wall to stop invading Asian Carp from traveling up our Mississippi and Illinois rivers into the Great Lakes.

The multi-million dollar wall would be built underwater near Joliet, Illinois, to keep the Asian carp from swimming into Lake Michigan near Chicago. There are fears the invading carp would make a home in the Great Lakes, including that big lake they call Gitche Gumee.

Around these parts, I have seen Asian carp establish themselves in the lakes we call Simpson, Unger, Creve Coeur, as well as in the Meramec River. During our annual 500-year floods, I have seen hordes of Asian carp kissing the surface scum in the Meramec River tributaries at lovely Emmenegger Park.

Asian carp take over wherever they invade. It’s estimated that they now make up more than 60 percent of the fish bio-mass in the Illinois River. Scientists say if these voracious fish enter our Great Lakes, they could ruin prized fresh water angling and wipe out the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

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