By: Samuel Lewis
Earth Day is nearly upon us! On April 22nd we will be hosting an evening of food, drink and conversation to celebrate this planetary event at the Center for the Arts right here in Jackson Hole. On the theme of connecting to our planet and fighting for its future, we are screening two films absolutely free as well as plenty of good vibes and Earth friendly folk!
Each film is uniquely suited to the themes of Earth Day, and we're very excited to share them with you. The films explore the need for a connection between human life and the natural world. We are all part of a complex system of exchanges that create the circumstances necessary for life to exist. Both films host these ideas of connection in different ways, underpinning the ideals of Earth Day in the stories they weave.
We couldn't wait, so we've previewed them and even prepared some tantalizing reviews to get you in the mood for earthy film goodness!
Our Local Epic
Waterways are the arteries of the natural world. They deliver nutrients, connect disparate lands and cut swathes through the face of our planet. They transmit energy and create pathways for life to take hold in even the most unlikely of places. Each river has a journey and a story to tell, carved out over immeasurable time and through chaotic entropy. Constant, beautiful and wild, rivers are enchanting features of our world. They draw in our imaginations, our sense of adventure and our desire to feel connected to the power of nature. At times this is inspirational, at others, unpredictable and terrifying. Our relationship with the waterways of the land defines how we function as caretakers of our own environment. Our Local Epic is the incredible and multi-faceted story of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. This film ambitiously draws together the narratives of kayak enthusiasts, Native Americans and government into a stunning love letter to the Clarks Fork.
Within this harsh and thrashing channel, some have lost their lives, yet others have found something they believe is worth fighting for. Once believed untraversable, this river has become the benchmark which seasoned kayakers have come to measure themselves against. In an area of remarkable natural beauty, the Clarks Fork twists and churns down 150 miles of unspoiled Wyoming landscape. The river's story is told through the lives of those it has shaped. From the tale of Chief Joseph who led his tribe to escape hostile military across the treacherous gorge, to a young group of kayakers and their hazardous, yet life affirming experiences on the river. Told retrospectively in interviews through the filter of gained wisdom and age, their story reveals the captivating charm of the river and what makes them risk their lives to be a part of its course. When the river is threatened by the proposed building of a new dam, adventurers become activists. With the help of committed lifelong residents, they must hope that the undeniable character of landscape can convince developers of its intrinsic value. The rivers catalogue of unique human stories has inspired efforts to conserve waterways nationally. Our Local Epic continues that tale. The preservation of this tributary will pass on an invaluable gift to future generations that can only be described by one word: epic.
Wildways: Corridors of Life
For wildlife, isolation can be a death sentence. When barriers block free movement of animals, biodiversity falters and the number of species that can survive decreases dramatically. Our planets current state is one of decline. There are fewer and fewer species that can eke out an existence within the isolated pockets we have designated as protected areas. For life to flourish, diversity is essential. In creating national parks and areas of wildlife conservation, we have managed to save many important species. However, this is not a permanent solution. Animals, like humans, need the ability to move freely and breed with individuals outside their family groups in order to achieve a healthy population. This is the urgent message of Wildways: Corridors of Life. To solve the biodiversity problem we must stitch together the remaining pockets of wild areas to form a network of interconnected areas.
Wildways: Corridors of Life follows the fates of keystone species such as Grizzly bears, lions and elephants whose success or failure indicate the overall health of an ecosystem. The scientists, park rangers and conservationists who track and record these animal's movements are at the forefront of the story. Each individual they capture, collar and release recites a unique life journey revealing the avenues that make up the diverse tapestry of an ecosystem. Using the information they gather, they catalog the ways in which wildlife can be supported and how to create safe pathways between the areas in which they live. Genetic barriers such as roads, fences, and private farms can be overcome with modern methods of compromise between human infrastructure and wildlife migration. Drawing on the knowledge gained by generations of pioneering scientists, this film focuses on exploring the ways in which parks can be linked to create havens in our increasingly overcrowded world. Wildways: Corridors of Life is an insight into the developing world of connectivity conservation that offers hope to a planet increasingly divided both in nature and in humanity. Without these life giving passages of connection spread across the globe, our very existence is unsustainable.
We hope that you're as excited as we are after seeing these fantastic trailers and reading our reviews! Earth Day is all about unity and making an individual effort to contribute to a larger whole. Everyone has a different way to connect to conservation. If we are all willing to contribute in our own way, we can achieve harmony between humankind and the land we inhabit. Conservation is a demanding task, which requires our dedication and passion. Join us on Friday April 22nd for Earth Day at the Center for the Arts right here in Jackson Hole!