↑ Play Journey to the Stikine and the Sacred Headwaters.
The Left Coast is the sacred headwaters of the green movement. How did it begin? And how does it continue to flourish here?How did Westerners first become environmentalists? The video above offers a clue: Someone set out on an adventure, formed a deep connection with the landscape, and ultimately joined the movement to protect it.
Our proximity to unspoiled nature on the Left Coast is one reason why the environmental movement started here and remains strong in our region. Even in our biggest cities, we’re still connected to awesome natural landscapes and wild spaces that help keep us connected to the reverence that people living elsewhere can too easily be disconnected from.
The process so many of us have followed—moving from adventuring in nature to defending it—was the same for the official founder of America’s National Parks, Teddy Roosevelt. As with the adventurers in the Sacred Headwaters video, Teddy Roosevelt also visited the Stikine river in British Columbia. He actually came back to America and named his new dog Stikine after the region.
The following passages from Teddy Roosevelt’s journal document his transformative trips with John Muir, presented here in the stunning high-definition of your imagination.
John Muir met me with a couple of packers and two mules to carry our tent, bedding, and food for a three days’ trip. The first night was clear, and we lay down in the darkening aisles of the great Sequoia grove. The majestic trunks, beautiful in color and in symmetry, rose round us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the Middle Ages. Hermit thrushes sang beautifully in the evening, and again, with a burst of wonderful music, at dawn.
There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.
I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.
Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals—not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.
We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.
Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.
BC resident Wade Davis traces the headwaters of the modern green movement to another adventure: our collective adventure to the moon, the first time we, as a species, looked back from the moon and saw our beautiful blue home floating in the black velvet of space. Since then, he argues, humanity has become divided between those who’ve embraced the significance of that moment, and those who’ve resisted it.
In his talk at the University of British Columbia, Wade Davis delves into the history of the most beautiful place he’s ever seen—the Stikine. Yes, it’s a long talk, but just imagine yourself sitting there in the lecture hall.
Wade Davis: Odyssey to the Sacred Headwaters