Voices that Echo, Resonate, and Inspire

Mar 30, 2017 | Citizen Advocacy

Great quotes are great, and famous, for reason. There are some stirring words bouncing around our brains here as we reflect upon a sold out 10th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival (held in Madison on March 29, with an inaugural companion event coming up on April 20 in Green Bay).

A few of our favorites? Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” comes to mind. As does what is arguably one of the best quotes about an engaged citizenry, from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

The films we’re sharing with ardent supporters, dedicated friends and newcomers alike are nothing if not inspirational: the story of a solo female mountaineer in Wasfia; the symbolic building of a canoe in an Ecuadorian rainforest (and where it was paddled once completed) in The Living Forest; the lone landowner in Peru’s northern highlands fending off a corporate mining giant in Water Song.

While our festival highlights people and stories from around the globe, it also reminds us of the voices in our midst who personify the words of Gandhi and Mead right here, right now, in Wisconsin.

  • Long-time River Alliance friends and supporters Francie Rowe and Barb Gifford are just two of literally hundreds of individuals we work with on a regular basis who are tenacious and diligent defenders of water in their local communities (both were profiled in a 2015 Wild & Scenic blog post, California to Wisconsin: A Tale of Two Groundwater Struggles).
  • Two Wisconsin restaurant and tavern owners, Rick Carlson and Tom Koren, rely on a strong tourism economy in Wisconsin for their livelihood and testified in front of our state legislature as a business voice for clean water. Their refusal to accept the false argument that environmental protection hurts the economy and gets in the way of creating jobs was one of the seedlings that led to the formation of our Blue Water Business Consortium.
  • Others put their passion into action in a bit more adventurous way, such as Jesse Heib. Jesse embarked on a solo 430-mile SUP trip down the full length of the Wisconsin River last year, noting that the undertaking was much more than an endurance challenge. “It is an opportunity to be an active advocate for the natural resources I rely on and that bring me great joy,” he said. We’ve got much more coverage of Jesse’s adventure and his subsequent film here.

We could go on and on about the amazing people and amazing work we are fortunate to be involved with every day. Sharing stories—whether locally, regionally or globally, in person, on film or through other media—is just one way we come together around the central mission of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. It’s where activism gets inspired… and we hope it’s where you’ll get inspired, too.

Many thanks if you joined us in Madison (take the survey) and do be sure to get your ticket if you’ll be joining the fun in Green Bay on April 20th to see seven short and inspiring films.