Influential conservationist gets spotlight in Green Fire
Aldo Leopold may not have any physical connection to Lake Tahoe, but the early conservationist’s theories are at work all over the area.
Leopold wrote of man’s connection to nature and inspired generations to rethink how they interacted with the land. Though lesser known in the West than John Muir or Gifford Pinchot, Leopold’s work was arguably just as impactful.
“Green Fire,” a new film chronicling the life and philosophies of Leopold, will be screened at Lake Tahoe Community College on Wednesday.
“He’s extremely impactful because his philosophies are really the guiding philosophy of management for the Forest Service today,” said filmmaker Steve Dunsky, who created “Green Fire” with his wife, Ann Dunsky.
During Leopold’s life in the 1900s, the prevailing theories of land management called for such misuses as eliminating predators like wolves and bears. As a young Forest Service employee, Leopold countered that, contending that man is part of a larger community that includes the many animals of the many ecosystems.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community,” Leopold once wrote. “It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
Leopold is credited with creating the science of wildlife management.
In making the film, Dunsky visited Leopold’s former home in Wisconsin. He skimmed through thousands of photos and letters. He even included the 29 seconds of video footage that was taken of Leopold before his death in 1948.
“He lived in a very trying and difficult time when there wasn’t a lot of hope,” Dunsky said. “Yet he persevered.”