Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free Leopold Film in Boise, 7/20

Greenfire: The Life and Legacy of Aldo Leopold
Free showing
7 p.m. July 20, 2011
The Flicks, Boise

Tomorrow evening, attend a free showing of Greenfire: The Life and Legacy of Aldo Leopold. It's the first feature-length film on visionary conservationist and author Aldo Leopold (1887-1948).

Watch the trailer.

Leopold is best known as author of a collection of essays, A Sand County Almanac. His words and ideas remain as relevant today as they were when first published soon after his death. Arguably, no one has ever said it better, before or since.

Leopold remains one of the most quotable authors on the land ethic, an idea he coined. Many of his ideas seem notably ahead of his time: He predicted the spread of cheatgrass around the West. He realized the important role large predators play in ecosystems. He recognized people as an integral part of conservation.

Leopold thought deeply about conservation issues, discussed them, read about them and wrote about them. But behind his words was a deep love of the outdoors, of wild things and wild places. His conservation ethic was informed by time on the ground, by hunting and fishing and watching and exploring. Without the personal observation, his words lack context. It's a lesson all conservationists should heed. Being out there still matters.

More importantly, Leopold considered his opinions, and changed them, as so eloquently described in Julianne Lutz Newton's Aldo Leopold's Odyssey. On many issues, Leopold's experience and scholarship led him to strikingly different conclusions than he had espoused earlier in life.

Rather than shrinking in fear of being a "flip flopper," he evolved as a thinker and a conservationist, culminating in A Sand County Almanac. In a time of increasingly strident public debate, of lines in the sand, of name calling and meaningless message points, Leopold continues to remind us that we can only really move forward if , as one of my mentors put it, "we listen at the risk of being changed."

We hope you can join us at the film tomorrow night, co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, and learn more about Leopold and his remarkable legacy.

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