Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time

Last Friday, I slipped out of Camp Granola for a little green indulgence, a screening of the new Aldo Leopold biography, Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time.

Any greenie worth his or her Birkenstocks has read Leopold’s work. He’s one of the most enduring icons of conservation so obviously I wasn’t going to miss my chance to see this movie. In a nutshell, and my totally biased opinion, I thought Green Fire was a fitting and poignant biography of a man truly ahead of his time. I’m not even going to pretend I can give an objective review of this production but I will share some of the points that resonated with me.

  • As a greenly-inclined person, I was certainly familiar with Leopold’s famous quotes but I had lost sight of the fact that his idea of a land ethic took a lifetime to develop. In so many posthumous summaries of the lives of people as influential as Leopold, their crowning ideas are often inadvertently portrayed as having been established from the beginning of their careers. As I struggle with my own situation and personal role in the environmental failings of modern society, I frequently beat myself up for the bad choices I’ve made. While some introspection is always appropriate, I have to remember that even such a pioneer as Leopold didn’t have it all figured out from the get-go. The makers of Green Fire elegantly acknowledged the journey it took for Leopold to develop his idea of a land ethic.
  • Each of his family members is remarkable in their own right. His surviving children that appeared in the movie were thoroughly engaging. Their delight in their family heritage comes through in the movie and it’s was quite a treat to hear their stories. I hope my children remember our outdoor adventures with the same fondness.
  • The most compelling message to the modern environmental/conservation movement is to remember the land-human connection. In my green opinion, we have to forge connections between the land and people from all walks of life to gain broad-based support for environmental policy changes. It’s just another point that Aldo nailed decades before the rest of us figured it out.

The family is still working through The Aldo Leopold Foundation to preserve and expand upon their namesake’s vision. I do believe I’ll be putting the Leopold Center on my bucket list of places to see.

At any rate, I’ve been slowly rereading my cherished copy of A Sand County Almanac. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read it but it’s still as vivid and compelling as it was on my first read. We just won’t get into how long ago that was.

A big belated thanks to the crew over at GEHC for arranging the screening. If you ever in the Atlanta area, please stop in and check out the facility. It’s ranks really high here at Camp Granola and gets the completely uncoveted Val in Real Life Seal of Approval.

And now for your moment of green…

Western Sunset
Just a little sunset tribute to Aldo.