When Conservation Works

by Handsome Matt

If Michael Moore is the documentary equivalent of The Rolling Stones, then Ken Burns is Johan Sebastian Bach.

Where other documentaries attempt to use the film equivalent of a battle-axe to persuade you, Burns prefers a more subtle approach. Letting the stories develop in and of themselves. Perhaps it’s the fact that he interacts with historical sources, where the facts and outcomes have already been established. Or it could be that he is amazing at filming.

Our Parks

I’m a Burns fan. From the time “Baseball” and “Jazz” came out, I’ve been hooked. I caught an article in National Geographic: Adventure that sealed my deal. In it, he shared both stories of filming and personal experiences in America’s parks system.

But more importantly, he exposes the parks for what they are. America’s heritage. Europe, Burns explains, has castles and cathedrals; we have the wild beauty that is our untamed land. It is our heritage, the rugged natural beauty exemplifies the rugged independence of Americans.

Conservation Can Succeed

I think the larger question that our conservation efforts ask is this: “Yes, we can do this; but should we?” Environmental stewardship and economic sustainability are moral issues as much as anything else. I can’t finish this thought, because it is ever ongoing. Needing constant answering.

I think that is important to understand, there is more to life then what we see and experience today. As evidenced in business and politics today, we’ve become shortsighted in our efforts. Focusing on the here and now and less on the legacy we leave behind. Is this a result of the Cold War, Post-modernism, the erosion of American rights, greed and avarice? I don’t know.

But, as you will see if you watch “The National Parks” when a few individuals look beyond themselves, great things occur.

Check it yourself

National Parks – PBS’ website for Ken Burns documentary

Ken Burns – IMDB biography of Ken Burns