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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Professor publishes book on pollution issue

ULM Office of Marketing and Communications

 ULM Chief Innovation and Research Officer John Sutherlin recently published the third book in his environmental science trilogy, “Hog Wash: The Strange Case of SSA Global.” With over 30 years of experience under his belt and a passion for learning, Sutherlin mastered the art of non-fiction storytelling.

 “During COVID, I just looked up the top ten hardest books to read and went down the list,” Sutherlin said. “Being able to read those books helped me write mine.”

 Using the knowledge he learned from his time in lockdown, Sutherlin felt prepared to write his book. Attempting to capture the emotions he experienced during his worldwide journey was difficult. It took some practice and rough drafts,  but he got the hang of it.

 Sutherlin’s interest began when Hurricane Floyd hit the banks of North Carolina in 1999, destroying concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and polluting over 25 million gallons of water. Over five thousand dead pigs flooded the streets, costing owners over $500 million in damages.

 “These CAFOs are essentially designed to keep a bunch of pigs in a small area, filter everything they drop, and use it back on the farm,” Sutherlin said. “It doesn’t work, and it’s not designed to.”

 Sutherlin and a team of investors attempted to design a solution to the ever-growing water pollution. This turned into a decade-long trip around Europe and two patented ideas before they gave up. Unfortunately, he realized no one wanted to lose money for a good cause.

 He said he tries to look at the big picture after the experience instead of pining on what little he ended up doing. Sutherlin’s 10-year odyssey ultimately led to accomplishing very little towards his goal. 

While various external factors affected the lifespan of the project, the death of a close friend is what ultimately pulled this chapter in Sutherlin’s life to a close.

 “It’s a good lesson. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on.” Sutherlin said. “Maybe that’s the point of the whole thing. Even when you face setbacks… can you pull something out of your failure to still succeed?”

 If you find his journey intriguing, don’t hesitate to buy the book to learn more. All the proceeds go to putting more copies on shelves in low-income areas. 

The world’s environmental situation is not the best it could be, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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