Author Ken Ilgunas at West Chester University

At West Chester University on Sept. 17, a crowd of students and community members heard author Ken Ilgunas recount his hike across much of Canada and the US along the actual and proposed parts of the Keystone Excel pipeline route.

From the devastation wrought by the extraction of saleable product from the Alberta Tar Sands, the talk ranged across many themes and adventures, from winter weather and unwanted encounters with bovines to the beauty of the landscapes and the generosity of farmers faced with a tired and hungry hiker asking if they couuld spare a glass of water.

The listener couldn’t help reflecting on the underlying principle of Ilgunas’s adventure: this land is our land–the land of the people who live here–and not that of the corporate interests.