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Green Fire (2011)

Aldo Leopold is considered the most important conservationist of the twentieth-century. He is the father of the national wilderness system, wildlife management and ecological restoration. ... See full summary »


Stephen Most


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Credited cast:
Peter Coyote ... Aldo Leopold (voice)
Aldo Leopold Aldo Leopold ... Self (archive footage)
Curt Meine Curt Meine ... Narrator / Guide


Aldo Leopold is considered the most important conservationist of the twentieth-century. He is the father of the national wilderness system, wildlife management and ecological restoration. His classic book A Sand County Almanac inspires us to see the natural world as a community to which we belong. Green Fire explores Leopold's personal journey of observation and understanding and reveals how his ideas resonate today with people across the entire American landscape, from inner cities to the remotest wildlands. The film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land community. Written by Anonymous

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Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

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"Not just current, far ahead"
30 May 2013 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

Aldo Leopold is one of the most important, revolutionary men you've never heard of. He was shockingly ahead of his time with his ideas on water conservation, environment appreciation, and, most importantly, the "land ethic," as he called it. If you plan to find a definition of the "land ethic" in Green Fire, a documentary by Ann Dunsky, Steve Dunsky, and Dave Steinke, respectively, you won't get it here. An ethic is something you shouldn't have to explain, but know already, and they allow you the freedom to make it up as you see fit. The starting question is how deeply you feel we should preserve our green earth? Green Fire emphasizes the idea that the earth doesn't belong to us but we belong to it. We should feel blessed to inhabit such a miraculous, incalculably beautiful land and should treat it with respect and care. The film instructs from Leopold's novel A Sand County Almanac, an book that revolutionized conservationism and environmentalism. Leopold was, and still is, far ahead in his thinking and insight into the world of caring for the planet earth. His ideology and focus on the world is still being examined by contemporary conservationists and modern biologists. "He's not just current, he's far ahead," says one interviewee.

The film itself tries to piece together Leopold's ideology into a film that is equal parts didactic on modern science and biographical on his life. Leopold studied forestry, a very unpopular field in his day (think the early 1900's) and emphasized the responsibility and importance of the forests in the world. One of my favorite quotes from Leopold is one that shows just how much he adored the wilderness and nature in general. It is, "to those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part." Part of the reason Leopold has remained significant and is highly-regarded in his respective field is how he was the first of his kind; a pioneer in the most unconventional sense. He had no one to borrow ideas from and no one to truly compare thoughts and environmental ethics with. We live in a world where theories and assumptions can become dated far too quickly and pioneers such as Sigmund Freud in psychology are usually examined as a fossilized creature. You could teach a class on conservationism and environmentalism directly from Leopold's writings and still be pretty current.

The ideas explored in Green Fire aren't too different from Ron Fricke's Samsara, which was an audio/visual experience unlike anything I've ever seen before. It was a film that spanned the locations of twenty-five different countries, capturing them all in amazing, pulsating sounds and eye-popping, authentic visuals. It's a masterpiece and my favorite film of the new decade. Both films share the intertwining meanings of land-preservation and environmental appreciation and both introduce or rather capitalize off of an ethic we've been fiercely lacking in fulfilling.

Directed by: Ann Dunsky, Steve Dunsky, and Dave Steinke.

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5 February 2011 (USA) See more »

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