By Sally High
Special to The SUN
“Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time” will be shown at Pagosa’s Liberty Theater at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 27, as part of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival Caravan.
“Green Fire” won a 2012 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary.
The feature-length film documents the life of legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac and The Land Ethic. Leopold’s extraordinary career began when he joined the newly formed United States Forest Service, after earning a Master of Forestry from Yale.
By 1912, the young forest ranger was stewarding the Kit Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico. It was there that Leopold saw the “green fire” extinguished in the eyes of a dying lobo, shot in the role of his job. Deeply moved by the power in that wolf’s eyes, the lifelong naturalist later documents the experience in his writing.
Leopold encouraged us to, “think like a mountain.” He was, what we call today, an integrated systems thinker. He saw the big picture when analyzing an ecosystem. He thought about the long term when pondering human beings’ relationship within the natural world, their greater community. His lessons on the inevitable role of fire in a forest ecosystem prove as relevant today as 100 years ago.
Leopold’s influence on modern ecological science and environmentalism is undeniable. His 1933 address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “The Conservation Ethic,” illustrates his lasting legacy. In 1934, Leopold founded The Wilderness Society with like-minded colleagues.
The essential role of predators in maintaining ecological balance proved to be a lifelong musing of Leopold’s. The GGP Film Festival includes “Wild Things,” a 39-minute short, to be shown in several sessions, including Saturday night’s final session. Humans tend to view large carnivores as a threat to livestock. For decades, farmers, ranchers and government trappers have killed native predators in large numbers. “Wild Things” reexamines that official policy’s impacts on the environment.
Two-day wristbands or tickets to individual sessions for the Colorado Environmental Film Festival Caravan can be purchased at www.pagosagreen.org. All proceeds benefit the construction of the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership park in the west end of Centennial Park’s Riverwalk. The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to constructing a center for environmental education, sustainable economic development and community gardening.