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Ishmael Inspires Reader's Career in Environmental Education

Colin Doyle has been featured in the Ishmael in Action section of this website before, with three write-ups about his time living in an indigenous community in Venezuela, inspired by Ishmael and "walking away" from civilization.

After moving back to the United States, Colin went to graduate school to directly investigate "the big questions in life," in the realm of religion and philosophy. After receiving a Master's degree, he turned to a career in international development. He worked hard for months to land a job in sub-Saharan Africa, and in September 2007 started a 6-month internship with an organization in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

But merely a week after arriving in West Africa, Colin was touched again by Ishmael's ideas. Thinking about what Sierra Leone needs, his thoughts turned to what the world needs, and concluded that it is not international development but environmental consciousness. Re-reading The New Renaissance and Ishmael, Colin's view that the "environmental" field is more in need of support than development abroad was cemented. He thus decided that after his internship finished he would pursue very different work.

Colin considered many different avenues, including environmental education with youth in the U.S. and any environmental work possible in Liberia, where he was at the time. He is now an Outdoor/Environmental Educator with the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He leads programs with visiting middle school groups during the school year and leads hiking-based trips with teenagers during the summer. With every multi-day group, Colin adds his own twist by leading a discussion on the final day about global environmental issues. The students discuss global warming and other issues, and what they can do about them. Colin integrates a gift of The New Renaissance to every student, giving them an eco-oriented entree to the ideas of Daniel Quinn in a non-compulsory way. In addition, Colin recently mailed a copy of The New Renaissance to every U.S. Senator in Washington.

Fulfilling a desire to work for environmental consciousness, Colin wants to go further than touching select youth, to promoting readership of Ishmael and the related sequels on a broader scale. Nearly a decade after reading the book that changed his view on the world, Colin is still being driven by Ishmael's ideas and ecological need.

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