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The Green Life: Movie Review: Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

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October 11, 2011

Movie Review: Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

 Seen a good eco-themed film  lately? Send us a short review and we might publish it.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time (2011)

Available on DVD and at select screenings. The film will be shown on PBS in 2012.

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” —Aldo Leopold

Writer Aldo Leopold has influenced environmentalists and scientists for decades. Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is the first feature-length film about Leopold. It centers around the evolution of his thinking, starting from his childhood, heading into his years as an early graduate of Yale's Forestry Management program, and finally, profiles him as a mature conservationist.

Produced with alacrity and a Wisconsonian lack of fanfare, this 72-minute documentary is narrated by Curt Meine, a conservation biologist who helped create the film by partnering with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Meine brings Leopold's words into the context of his life and times with historical photos, event chronology, and interviews with his progeny. Even Leopold experts may find new inspiration in seeing the destroyed, fallow land he acquired and made into a family project. Today, the thousands of trees he and his children planted sway in gentle breezes as busloads travel to Sand County, Wisconsin, from around the world to pay homage to the quiet revolutionary.

As Buddy Huffaker, the executive director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, said, “What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold. It also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined.”

Seeing this film brings Leopold’s seminal work, A Sand County Almanac, and remarkable essay “Thinking Like a Mountain” to a new level of experience. It takes viewers to the places that inspired, transformed, and nudged the author’s doctrine into something that ties the concept of a land ethic to each of us. And into something that still offers hope and invites action.

--Pamela Biery

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