From Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, WILD LIFE follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in mid-life, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur, Doug Tompkins, left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer like Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit, and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina. WILD LIFE chronicles the highs and lows of their journey to effect the largest private land donation in history.
WILD LIFE will screen at the Mendocino Film Festival on Friday, June 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Festival Tent, as well as Sunday, June 4th at 10:20 a.m. at Coast Cinemas.
GROUNDWORKS travels from traditional acorn gathering spots to the studios where the “Groundworks” performance was rehearsed before being shared at sunrise on Alcatraz—nearly 50 years after the Indians of All Tribes occupied the island and brought attention to Native American rights. Originally initiated by contemporary dance company Dancing Earth Creations, the “Groundworks” project was designed to amplify the oft-forgotten Native presence everywhere in the Americas.
Groundworks weaves together four artists’ stories and their contemporary ways of sharing traditional Indigenous knowledge. By exploring their creative practices, it highlights these Native artists’ contemporary relationships to the Pomo, Ohlone, Tongva, and Wappo/Onastatis territories, languages and traditions. Their efforts to “re-story” the land through creative reclamation are important facets of the Land Back movement.
Profiled in the documentary are Ras K’dee, Pomo, a musician with ties to multiple bands in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties; Bernadette Smith, singer and dancer from the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians; Kanyon Sayers-Roods, a multidisciplinary Ohlone artist from Indian Canyon, a sovereign Indian Nation outside of Hollister, California; and L. Frank, a Tongva-Acjachemen artist, tribal scholar, canoe builder, and language advocate.
We spoke with director, producer, writer and cinematographer, Ian Garrett, about his film, GROUNDWORKS, via Skype on May 16, 2023.
GROUNDWORKS will be screening at the Mendocino FilmFestival on June 4 at 3pm in the Festival Tent. A special program with Coastal Pomo dancers will open the program and a panel discussion will follow.
The Bozeman Doc Series afforded us the opportunity to interview the filmmaker of the film, of THE LAKE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD, Kathy Kasic, and the ‘main character,’ Professor of Ecology in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU Bozeman, John Priscu.
He has been organizing expeditions since 1984. He is a principal investigator in the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project and SALSA, the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access project, which is the subject of this film. His work, and the work of his teams, have revolutionized our understanding of our Earth, as well as the diversity of life on our planet and beyond.
Kathy Kasic is a director/cinematographer and Associate Professor at California State University Sacramento. Twenty years ago she traded researching evolutionary biology in the Ecuadorian Amazon for filmmaking. Since then her artistic vision and craving for adventure have brought her to film off the bow of a ship, underwater in wild mountain rivers, and on the ice fields of Greenland and Antarctica. Using a sensorial emphasis on place to unveil the human relationship with the natural world, her 100+ productions have appeared at international festivals, on television (BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian, PBS, National Geographic), art galleries, museums (The Hirshhorn, Portland Art Museum, The Crocker), and won numerous awards. Most recently, Kasic field directed for BBC’s Earth Shot: Repairing Our Planet (feat. David Attenborough and Prince William) and directed The Lake at the Bottom of the World, a sensory vérité feature film about an international team of scientists exploring a subglacial lake 3,600 feet beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. She has been part of three National Science Foundation grants and mentored 12 graduate students. She believes that filmmaking is a way to give voice to what is not voiced, to see and hear more deeply, and to foster compassion across cultures.
THE LAKE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD will be screening at the Emerson Crawford Theater on Sunday, April 30th, 2023 at 7pm.
In this edition of Radio Goes to the Movies, we inquire about a new documentary from Bozeman based Grizzly Creek Films with director, Eric Bendick, PATH OF THE PANTHER.
Drawn in by the haunting specter of the Florida panther, it follows a wildlife photographer, veterinarians, ranchers, conservationists, and Indigenous people, who find themselves on the front lines of an accelerating battle between the forces of renewal and the forces of destruction that have pushed the Everglades to the brink of ecological collapse.
Once ubiquitous in North and South America, but now perched on the edge of extinction, this perilously small, sole remaining population of the panther east of the Mississippi is an emblem of our once connected world. A vision of what could be again.
We spoke with the Emmy Award winning director of Path of the Panther, Eric Bendick, about his work and this powerful new film via Skype on April 5, 2023.
It will be premiering on the National Geographic/Disney+ channel on April 28, 2023.
Source: FloridaWildlifeCorridor.org; Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
George Monbiot’s latest book is Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet, published by Penguin Books.
Since the 1980s, he has traveled the world doing on-the-ground investigations of how global dominant systems destroy crucial wildlife habitats and displace peoples from their ancestral homelands, while contributing to catastrophic climate change. This has led to his being made persona non grata in seven countries, sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in Indonesia, shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked, stung into a coma by hornets, and pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar General Hospital in North-western Kenya from cerebral malaria.
From the first of his 13 books published in 1989, POISONED ARROWS: An Investigative Journey Through the Forbidden Lands of West Papua; to Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding; to his radio programs, and long standing weekly columns in The Guardian, he has informed us in delightful prose through the powerful lens of his political philosophy for social and ecological justice and sanity.
On October 27, 2022, attorneys for two environmental organizations, WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote, a project of Earth Island Institute, filed a lawsuit against The State of Montana, by and through the MT Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the MT Fish & Wildlife Commission. The suit was filed in MT First Judicial District Court in Lewis & Clark County.
The case named, WildEarth Guardians v. FWP, Cause No. DDV-25-2022 DK, alleges that the state’s wolf hunting and trapping policies violate the Montana Constitution, Montana Administrative Procedure Act, Public Trust Doctrine, and several federal laws meant to protect wildlife on federally-managed lands.
On November 10, 2022, a motion was filed asking The Court to prohibit the start of the state’s wolf-trapping season, as well as immediately halt the on-going wolf-hunting season, while the merits of the lawsuit are being considered. The conservation groups filed the time-sensitive motion with the wolf trapping and snaring season set to begin on November 28, 2022. The hunting season began in September. This motion asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order, followed by a preliminary injunction, to stop all recreational killing of wolves in the state pending resolution of the lawsuit.
On November 15, 2022, District Court Judge Christopher D. Abbott, granted a partial Temporary Restraining Order, with a hearing set for November 28, 2022. It’s set to expire November 29, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. The partial TRO requires MFWP to return to 2020 regulations with respect to wolf hunting and trapping quotas and “bag limits”, prohibits the use of snares, and limits quotas in former WMUs 110 (bordering Glacier NP), 313, and 316 (bordering Yellowstone NP).
In the 2021-2022 season, 273 wolves were killed by hunters and trappers—including 19 Yellowstone wolves—with nearly 70 percent of the wolves killed, after the trapping season began. As of November 15, 2022, hunters had already killed 56 wolves, while regulations permit hunters and trappers to kill an additional 395 wolves before the season ends in March 2023. The motion alleges that the conservation groups’ interests will be harmed beyond repair, if the court allows the hunting and trapping season to proceed while they fully litigate their case.
The motion—and the underlying lawsuit—claim that there are significant flaws in the population model used to estimate the total number of wolves in the state, and that since the quota of 456 wolves for this season relies upon a flawed population model, reaching the quota could have devastating consequences on the state’s wolf population. The motion states, “Montana does not have an accurate picture of how many wolves are living in Montana, and cannot sustainably and legally manage the species through another wolf hunt this winter.”
A listener asked us to investigate, and we share interviews with four people knowledgeable about the issues, Lizzy Pennock, an attorney with WildEarth Guardians;
Greg Lemon, Administrator of MFWP’s Communication and Education Division;
Pat Byorth, MT Fish & Wildlife Commissioner for Region 3, below
Michael Waasegijig Price, of The GREAT LAKES INDIAN FISH & WILDLIFE COMMISSION, which joined six tribes, who sued the state of Wisconsin in September of 2021 to prevent further wolf slaughter there.
Documents, articles and links pertinent to this episode of Ecotones:
Returning to Forthright Radio, award winning science journalist, broadcaster and author, Gaia Vince, has a new book out from Flatiron Press, NOMAD CENTURY: HOW CLIMATE MIGRATION WILL RESHAPE OUR WORLD.
Her first book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, making her the first woman to win that prize outright.
We spoke with her via Skype on August 22, 2022.
The original broadcast included audio excerpts from the 100th birthday programs honoring James Lovelock, whose Gaia Theory revolutionized the way we approach global crises. Links to the full programs can be found below.
Articles/videos pertinent or referred to in the program can be found here:
In 2019, we interviewed Dahr Jamail when his book, THE END OF ICE: BEARING WITNESS AND FINDING MEANING IN THE PATH OF CLIMATE DISRUPTION, was published by The New Press. In addition to interviewing scientists from around the world, he consulted with Indigenous people as well, investigating some of the cultural and spiritual dimensions of the climate crisis.
After THE END OF ICE came out, he joined with writer and teacher, Stan Rushworth, in interviewing 11 Native women and 9 men from different generations and walks of life to solicit their perspectives. This collaboration has resulted in the book, WE ARE THE MIDDLE OF FOREVER: INDIGENOUS VOICES FROM TURTLE ISLAND ON THE CHANGING EARTH, also published by The New Press.
Stan Rushworth was a full time, tenured professor at Cabrillo College from 1992 til 2008, where he taught Native American Literature and Critical Thinking. He continued teaching and developing Native classes there until 2022. He is the author of three earlier books, GOING TO WATER: THE JOURNAL OF BEGINNING RAIN; SAM WOODS: AMERICAN HEALING; and DIASPORA’S CHILDREN.
Stan and Dahr told their interviewees: “Our focus is the disruption of Earth; how did we get here? how do we move on in the right way? What’s in the way of that? And no matter the outcome, how do we carry ourselves?”
We spoke with Stan Rushworth on August 3, 2022 via Skype.
Links to articles and videos pertinent to this interview:
“WE ARE THE MIDDLE OF FOREVER” is from a poem by John Trudell, The Cleansing (from his first album, Tribal Voice).
In February of 2022, we interviewed John Leshy about his book, OUR COMMON GROUND: A HISTORY OF AMERICA’S PUBLIC LANDS. That interview can be heard on the forthright.media website. And in fact, the history of America’s public lands is an evolving story. It has always been a tale of competing interests and ideologies with tremendous consequences for not only American citizens, but all of Nature on this continent and as we learn more and more, the entire biosphere.
Our guest today on Forthright Radio, environmental writer, activist and psychoanalyst, Joseph Scalia, III, brought to our attention what’s at stake in the recent revision of a National Forest Service Plan that affects the area bordering the north of Yellowstone National Park.
Joseph Scalia writes, “The Gallatin Range is the last crucial, and wholly unprotected yet indispensable wild country in the northern reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a vast wild land of some 20 million acres, a true rare find in today’s world of diminishing wild country. Here lives all of the fauna of its pre-1492 conditions.”
“In the Rocky Mountain West, in addition to the despoliation of wild lands by extractive industries as well as misguided efforts at “forest management” – which itself has become a hotly contested and too-often perverted concept, recreation has proved to be a major threat to both the ecological and the aesthetic or spiritual values of these lands. Over and over and over, we have carved up wilderness for another and yet another “use” that degrades its integrity. The policy that has dominated this unending subdivision that eschews rigorous reflections on both ecological science and conservation aesthetics and losses of opportunities for quietude has been known as “collaboration and compromise.” “This model has been promoted by neoliberal capitalist or, one could accurately say here, predatory capitalist corporate foundations on whose grants most Big Green environmental groups have grown dependent for their survival. This is Cornel West’s “the commodification of everybody and everything.” It’s not just that monetary reward drives decisions, but more that corporatization has been unfettered and ubiquitous in its social engineering that has us, as a collective, thinking we can go on indefinitely and with impunity in such acts as the unending subdivision of nature.”
He asks: “What if environmental leaders did not acquiesce to putatively dominant unfriendliness to Wilderness designation? What if they didn’t conform to the story that’s publicly delivered? What if, instead, they got out in front, and argued forcefully – with all the big-money resources they have to potentiate such efforts – what if they argued passionately, persuasively for broad Wilderness protections that are based upon ecosystem considerations, without succumbing to what Aldo Leopold called political and economic expediency? Expediency. A good word: “The quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.”
Journalist Todd Wilkinson, who has also been our guest, called it “industrial-strength outdoor recreation,” supported by “the outdoor recreation industrial complex” and its consumptive consumerism.
The program ends with excerpts from Judi Bari’s talk at an event recorded at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarians on April 23, 1993, and a poem by Dr. Ian McCallum, “Wilderness,” (links to both below). We recorded this interview on June 6, 2022.
Here are links to articles pertinent to this interview:
Sara Dosa wrote, directed and produced the extraordinary documentary, FIRE OF LOVE. It premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival as the Day One film in the US Documentary Competition, & won the Jonathan Oppenheimer Editing Award for Erin Casper & Jocelyne Chaput’s superb editing, as well as raves from critics. Her work has won a Peabody Award for AUDRIE & DAISY and an Emmy Award for REMASTERED: TRICKY DICK AND THE MAN IN BLACK.
National Geographic Films acquired FIRE OF LOVE for release in 2022. It screens at the Mendocino Film Festival audiences on June 3rd & 4th at the Coast Cinemas.
FIRE OF LOVE recounts the love between, and work of, two young French volcanologists, Katia and Maurice Kraffts, whose courageous exploration and documentation of volcanoes revolutionized our understanding of Earth processes. They dedicated their lives to trying to answer questions like “what forms & re-forms the world.” and “What is it that makes the Earth’s heart beat, her blood flow?”
They were one in their obsession with volcanoes, but they were complementary in their approaches and division of labor, which certainly advanced the success of their work. When asked if they were the only volcanologist couples in one of their many media appearances, Maurice said he “doesn’t think there are any other couples, & if there are, I pity them, because it’s very hard for volcanologists to live together – it’s volcanic…. We erupt often.”
FIRE OF LOVE is dedicated to the 43 people who lost their lives on Mt. Unzen on June, 3, 1991, which is when Katia and Maurice Krafft were finally consumed by that eruption they were studying.