Penn College Colloquium to Feature Acclaimed Author Rick Bass

Published 03.24.2016


Author, activist and geologist Rick Bass will discuss the balance between one’s desires and one’s responsibilities in a time of war on the environment during the next edition of the Daniel J. Doyle Technology & Society Colloquia Series at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium at Penn College.

Bass’ talk, titled “A Pilgrim’s Wilderness Lessons on the Environment, War & Technology,” will trace the evolution of his time spent as an activist in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley. The talk will be accompanied by selected readings.

Rick BassBass is an oil and gas geologist and hunter who fell in love with the Yaak Valley’s wild landscape. For 30 years, he has been working to protect the Yaak’s national forests, the valley’s last wild places on public lands. His years of experience as a geologist prior to becoming a writer led him to engage in global-warming activism, as well.

He works at the local, national and international level, lobbying county commissioners, traveling to Washington, D.C., and attempting to protect lands and raise awareness, all while remaining engaged as an artist – a writer of short stories.

In citing a statement by Thomas Merton, who wrote that the frenzy of the activist can become a kind of violence unto itself, Bass asks, in a fragmented time of war, particularly the war against our physical environment, how does one seek to balance one’s desires against one’s responsibilities? Indeed, what are one’s responsibilities, in a time of war? Is balance no longer even possible, and now only a pretty pipe dream, a myth?

Bass began writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. His fiction has received O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, among many other honors.

His most recent works are “For a Little While: New and Selected Stories,” published in 2016 by Little, Brown and Co., and “All the Land That Holds Us,” a novel published in 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Named in honor of a Penn College professor emeritus and 1984 Master Teacher, the Daniel J. Doyle Technology & Society Colloquia Series features presentations by noted authors and academics that challenge audiences to consider the impact of technology on society.

In the spirit of all colloquia, a question/answer period will follow the presentation; the conversation can also continue during the reception that will follow.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.