New Documentary on Aldo Leopold's Life and Legacy Called "Green Fire"
Posted on Tuesday April 19, 02011
Considered to be the father of the modern Environmental Movement, Aldo Leopold(1887–1948) continues to inspire us today. An American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist, his life's work encourages us to consider our relationship with the land we live within. His actions led to the first designated Wilderness Area in the world. Leopold himself used the term "green fire," the name of this excellent documentary on his life. He uses the term to describe the spirit of the natural world that in his youth he unknowingly compromised its interconnected composition by hunting the American wolf to near extinction. I strongly encourage giving the documentary a viewing and congratulate the filmmakers.
Commonly thought to be his greatest contribution, the well defined term "Land Ethic" can be further explored in his book A Sand County Almanac. I'll leave you with his own words.
"The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land."
"This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter down river. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such."