Press Herald publishes feature on Coghlan

Stephen Coghlan, an associate professor of freshwater fisheries ecology at the University of Maine, is featured in the latest article in the Portland Press Herald’s “Meet” series. The article was published ahead of his Dec. 3 talk, “Can Homesteading Provide Sustenance and Surplus in an Age of Scarcity?” at UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Coghlan’s aim in his research was to answer what the true energy return is on the investment of living off the land, specifically in three areas: lightly mechanized firewood harvesting, ice fishing for sustenance and making artisanal maple syrup, according to the article. He built energy-flow models using data from his homestead in Argyle Township, the article states. “I make energy budgets to track the amount of energy that is invested in a process, compared to the amount that comes out of a process,” he said. Humans will deplete resources into extinction, according to Coghlan, unless we change soon. Coghlan said he knows he is tied into the system, but his homesteading is a means to extricate himself from it as much as possible. “You can’t have 8 billion people on this planet with everyone owning 70 acres and homesteading,” he said. “But I am trying to build up my own personal resilience.”