Released in 2017, Ken Ilgunas’ book Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland recounts his 1,700-mile journey along the proposed path of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The book acts both a travel memoir and a reflection about climate change. Starting from Alberta and going all the way over to the Gulf Coast of Texas, Traveling Across America recounts all of the trials, characters and ecosystems Ilgunas met across the way - and how they would be impacted by the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Now, Ilgunas is bringing his story to Lake Erie College. Students will get to hear Ilgunas talk about his journey across America and learn about how they can make an impact on the world around them.
“I’ve spoken at nearly 100 universities, high schools and bookstores over the past couple of years,” Ilgunas said.
Climate change is something that the students Ilgunas talks to think about every day, as it’s something that’s going to impact them for the rest of their lives. Ilgunas can see how thinking about climate change or something as big as the Keystone XL Pipeline can be intimidating, causing many students to ignore the problem or avoid it.
“I think my trespassing hike across the Keystone XL gets them to think about their own role against something so huge,” Ilgunas said. “I think that students often feel they’re on a conveyor belt of sorts – leading them to a life of debt, bills, and toward a shaky job market.”
Ilgunas hopes that he can inspire LEC and other students to take a more proactive approach in their lives.
“I think my story – of getting off the conveyor belt and living a life of adventure – encourages them to reflect on their own life trajectories, hopefully broadening what they think is achievable in their own lives.”