On June 2nd, Recycled Paper Printing co-sponsored the Boston premier of Green Fire , the full-length documentary about legendary environmentalist, Aldo Leopold.
Why did we sponsor this movie? Quite simply, we wanted to do our part in making more people aware of Leopold’s contributions to wilderness conservation and of the “land ethic” philosophy he developed.
What a happy coincidence that Jeannine Richards from the Aldo Leopold Foundation would call me to ask me to sponsor this Boston movie premier. She couldn’t possibly have known that somewhere back in the late 1970s, while strolling through the hallways of my high school at the end of the school year, I found a then-old copy of A Sand County Almanac discarded in a locker. I took the book home for summer reading. Leopold entranced me with his graceful rendering of nature observations in rural Wisconsin. More importantly, he strengthened in me a growing determination to protect the environment. How could a teenager, with what my Uncle John called an “overdeveloped sense of justice” not be profoundly moved by a statement like:
“Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays.” — Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac)
Leopold was a pioneer and leader in the development of conservation management techniques – including the reintroduction of predators, such as wolves and mountain lions, into wilderness areas. He continued to study and write about ecology throughout the 1920s and 1930s – co-founding the Wilderness Society in 1935. You can read more about him at The Aldo Leopold Foundation’s website.
Perhaps one of Leopold’s most far-reaching contributions was the development of the “land ethic” philosophy:
“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” — Aldo Leopold
This seemingly simple postulate would become the philosophical foundation of the conservation and ecological movements that gained ground in the 1950s and, one could argue, of the sustainability movement of this century.
It is also a call to each of us to find a way to live on this planet in a way that recognizes the interconnected nature of life and the environment. In essence, he posited that unsustainable exploitation is unethical:
“That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics…..A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.” — Aldo Leopold
This concept continues to inspire our company every day!