When I met Douglas Tompkins and spoke to him over a delicious but frugal Country-Life vegetarian dinner, I was amazed how his values resonated with mine.
It was even more amazing that although I missed his contributions to the 2013 German BioFach congress forum where he was one of the panelist of the "Imagine... - the beauty of organic farming", I virtually "bumped" into him later in Prague. Both of us were supposed to be elsewhere. Whether this is a coincidence or a destiny, his documentary presentation swept me off my feet. The unparalleled beauty that he and his team created by, what he calls, "painting the landscapes", has showed before only in my dreams.
Douglas Tompkins is an American environmentalist, conservationist and a former owner of two clothing companies, The North Face (outdoor outfit) and the ESPRIT. In 1989, he left the business arena to dedicate himself to environmental activism and land conservation. Together with his wife, Kristine Tompkins, over those years, he has conserved some 8,100 km2 of wilderness, in Patagonia (the southern part of Chile), as well as in Argentina. He currently runs four foundations dedicated to conservation.
Described as a deep ecologist, he believes that true ecological sustainability and species extinction can be achieved only through rethinking our values where nature is no longer seen merely as a commodity for human exploitation and profit. Rather it must be seen as "a partner and model in all human enterprise".
Video: Laguna Blanca, 20min
Deep ecologists see the main culprits for current state of Earth in:
• "The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world" and instead dwells on an "assumption of human superiority to other life forms"
• The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world" which is "fundamentally incompatible with ecological sustainability on a finite Earth"
• "Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology has wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy."
• Overpopulation Source: Foundation for deep ecology
When I saw his documentary Laguna Blanca, I sighed: "This is what it looks like when dreams come true!"