Wade into the trout-rich waters of Coon Creek with fish biologist and conservation historian Dave Vetrano, as he recounts the history and future of sustainable land use in western Wisconsin. Underscored with a sense of irony, Dave fishes crystalline waters that were once the state’s poster child for extremes in landscape and watershed degradation from unsustainable practices.
In 1949, Leopold wrote, “Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” When Leopold wrote Sand County Almanac, the population of the planet was about 2.5 billion people. Humans have tripled that number in the last 65 years to well over 7 billion today – and growing by another 1 million humans every four and a half days.
Some of this film explores what Aldo Leopold may have said about today’s challenges of searching for sustainability on the landscape. Buddy Huffaker, Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, answers that question as he puts today’s sustainable definitions and options into perspective. Leopold may have called it “the land ethic” decades ago, but using today’s buzzwords, he likely would have used “sustainability”.
Part of this film explores what happens when a previously “sustainable system” becomes unbalanced. Join the crew and scientists aboard the Great Lakes research vessel R/V Neeskay as they probe the depths of Green Bay in search of answers to decoding the dead zone. UW researchers Professor J. Val Klump and Dirk Koopmans continue their extensive water and bottom core studies to unravel the mysteries of this 36-square mile zone that’s depleted of oxygen to the point of creating hypoxia… where nothing lives – a.k.a “the dead zone”. Scientist, Kevin Ferminich, will also offer clues about how the unbalanced cornerstones of sustainability played roles in creating this hypoxic zone and what promise the future may hold.