“I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
If there is an issue with environmentalism today, its simply that it sometimes feels cliché, a self-righteous tweet, a way to sell gear, something perceived by the right as a cause-du jour of elitist, left-wing 60′s revivalists and Prius driving, tree huggers. A cliché’ is easy to ignore after all. What’s worse is that “Green” has now become a marketing slogan. And while increased awareness has it’s benefits, in the end all slogans go to a special hell reserved for the likes of Ray Jay Johnson and Urkle. Conservation has become a brand that many simply won’t buy. Aldo Leopold understood the foundation of this. In fact, in his forward to the Sand County Almanac he wrote, “These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast..” THIS, is what turned me on to Aldo Leopold. He also wrote, “Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity…” That was in 1948. Still, without understanding these concepts, one cannot possibly be prepared to work for the protection of our environment today. While I may have been won over to environmentalism by the “dying green fire”, I realize many of those around me view a wolf as nothing more than a valueless burden on production & threat to recreational hunting. Again, I’m brought to something else Aldo Leopold had said,“It is hard to make a man, by pressure of law or money, do a thing which does not spring naturally from his own personal sense of right and wrong.” I often wonder if we spend too much time preaching to the converted, when the real challenge is working with those who have not developed the moral grounding that is paramount to preservation of our environment.
Luckily change is happening, if for no other reason than rampant abuse of the environment has become obviously less sustainable than it had seemed in the middle of the last century. Too many years of simply taking from the land has finally made conservation a necessary economic tool for even the most closed minded among us. It’s a sad human truth that sometimes it’s only in seeing the stark results of our abuses, by pushing things to the very limit, do we find ourselves forced to chance course. Environmentalism today is not brought on by a good breakfast, but by too many years of taking that good breakfast for granted. While it must be said that we’ve come a long way since A Sand County Almanac was first published in 1949, it’s also obvious we still have a long way to go.
Green Fire Premiere
So with that little diatribe, I’m happy to announce Wisconsin’s premiere of Green Fire, the first full-length, high-definition documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, will be hosted here in Baraboo, WI., at the Al Ringling Theater on March 1st, 2011. Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career and traces how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Maybe most importantly the film helps us to re-acquaint ourselves with why we found ourselves caring about environmentalism in the first place. The evening program will include an introduction by members of the film team, and a catered reception will follow the film. Doors open at 6:30pm. To purchase tickets online or find information about presentation dates around Wisconsin and around the country just go here. Tickets are also available at Community First Bank and at the Al. Ringling Theatre Ticket Office. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door.
You can score a couple free tickets to the Baraboo presentation of Green Fire slated for March 1, at the Al. Ringling Theatre. Just click here and comment on our Facebook. The winner will be announced on 2/24/2011 on the same FB post.
*Photo of Aldo Leopold copyright by the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Used by Permission.