Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seeking the Greatest Good

"Seeking the Greatest Good:  The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot," is a new documentary about the USDA's first Forest Service chief, Gifford Pinchot.  It premiered at the Skamania Lodge on Nov. 16th, but will be also shown on Public Broadcasting Stations.  Check your local stations.  The documentary is short and it might be useful to read Pinchot's autobiography, Breaking New Ground, to get a refined picture of the man, his times, and his outlook on conservation.  The time has come to revisit Pinchot's, Muirs, and Douglass's views on our natural world and what we humans will have to do stay alive in it.  Our very survival is in question.  And yet people are still debating climate change.  The debate is over, folks.  Climate change is here.  Humanity's survival is not a given or predestined in this new world.  We either learn to live with Nature or we will be obliterated by it.  The Earth doesn't care if humans survive.  Do we care if we survive?  The next few years will tell the tale.  We have to look to the past in order to discern our future--and Gifford Pinchot's learned views are a good place to start learning about our past, the past where we humans have extracted the Earth's treasures without thought of the consequences.  "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."  (Santayana)  If we repeat our past this time, we will be doomed.

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