Moving Mountains Symposium

2014 Moving Mountains Symposium Theme: Wilderness

Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.
—Stewart Udall

Schedule Details:
Friday, May 23, 2014 • 9:00 a.m. to  3:30 p.m.
High Camp in Mountain Village (Telluride Conference Center)

Morning Session: 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Lunch: 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Afternoon Session: 1:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The Symposium is open to all Wilson, Ama Dablam and Patron passholders and includes lunch.

Watch the Moving Mountains Symposium LIVE!
With help from Telluride TV, we will be streaming the Symposium on our site beginning 9am (MST) on Friday, May 23. To watch, click here.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act, establishing American wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

The Wilderness Act created a legal definition of wilderness, but its poetic text is unique and groundbreaking for legislation. Drawing on centuries of American philosophy, literature and experience, the Wilderness Act was the first of its kind in the world. It underscores the wilderness as a pristine landscape, inspirational and redemptive — and separate from man. Towering American voices tell us: “In wildness is the preservation of the world” (Henry David Thoreau); and “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit” (Edward Abbey); but also “All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish” (Aldo Leopold).

It’s not as simple as setting aside vast wilderness tracts. Fifty years after the Wilderness Act, the world population has more than doubled. The dichotomy constructed between wilderness — viewed as harsh, inhospitable and dangerous as often as spiritual and beautiful — and man no longer serves the cause of preservation fully. For wilderness to survive anywhere, people and nature must be on the same side in the fight for conservation.

The Mountainfilm Moving Mountains Symposium on Wilderness brings together a diverse mix of artists, activists and academics to present a vision inspired by the giants of the past but informed by a new global understanding.

Trail Leader
Guiding us through the day is our emcee, M Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist at Conservation International. After recently returning from a two-year quest to witness the state of wild places for a new PBS and National Geographic TV series called “Earth: The New Wild,” Sanjayan poses this provocative statement: “What I found is that the wild can thrive, but only if we bring people into the picture.”

“To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people…”

MORNING SESSION • 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The Foundation of American Wilderness
Recognized for his outstanding work with the Land Trust Alliance, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy, Jamie Williams was named president of the Wilderness Society in 2012, the leading American conservation organization working to protect our nation's shared wildlands. He has a strong foundation in collaboration and community-based approaches to conservation.

The Arctic: A Last Refuge of Wild
Born in Germany, Florian Schulz is a professional nature and wildlife photographer and the youngest founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).

PANEL: Does Wilderness Exist?
Emcee Sanjayan challenges four great advocates of wilderness to not only define wilderness, but prove that it exists:

Oceanographer, author and lecturer Sylvia Earle’s extraordinary accomplishments have earned her the moniker “Her Deepness.” Through an act of civil disobedience that resulted in two years in federal prison, Tim DeChristopher saved thousands of acres of federal land threatened by oil and gas extraction. Dave Foreman is a leading environmentalist and activist who founded the group Earth First! and the Rewilding Institute “to combat the extinction crisis.”Wildlife biologist John Francis is the vice president for research, conservation and exploration at the National Geographic Society.

Inspiration to Create
Adam Duncan Harris
is the curator of art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is the author of Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Inspiration to Preserve
Artist and professor Debra Bloomfield’s large-scale color photographs encompass the breathtaking landscapes of the American continent. Her newest work is a multimedia piece titled "Wilderness."

“A wilderness…is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

A Word for “Wilderness” Does Not Exist Here
Jared Diamond
is a professor of geography at UCLA and author of five bestselling books about human societies and human evolution, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel.

LUNCH • 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

AFTERNOON SESSION • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The Forest Sings
Author and musician David Rothenberg has examined the relationship between humanity and nature for many years and bridges the gap between species by creating  music with birds, whales and cicadas.

Living Wild
Founder of the Living Wild School, which is dedicated to developing wilderness living skills, Lynx Vilden has traveled, explored and researched the nature and traditional cultures of arctic, mountain and desert regions from Hudson Bay to the Red Sea.

Áreas Silvestres Para Todos
National Geographic Emerging Explorer and environmentalist Juan Martinez is a national spokesman for getting youth into the outdoors, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

PANEL: Now What
These panelists, who have been working actively to preserve wilderness from international, national, regional and local perspectives, will discuss how to turn inspiration into action:

Hilary Cooper is the director of Sheep Mountain Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving the natural environment in the Telluride region. Vance Martin joined The Wild Foundation — dedicated to protecting wilderness and wild nature around the world — as president in 1984. Shelley Silbert, executive director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, has more than 20 years experience in the fields of conservation and sustainability. Jamie Williams is the president of The Wilderness Society, the conservation organization leading American efforts to protect our nation’s shared wildlands.

With no experience or training, Cheryl Strayed hiked more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — alone. Her New York Times bestseller Wild chronicles the story of her impulsive and, ultimately, healing adventure.

AFTER THE SYMPOSIUM: Wilderness Walk & Talk • 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

A new program called Wilderness Walks & Talks kicks off after the symposium. For those inspired to get outside, join festival guests Conrad Anker and Wade Davis on a guided hike up the Ridge Trail to the San Sophia Gondola Station.

Past Moving Mountains Symposia have focused on energy, water, food, extinction, population and climate solutions.

See who has joined us at previous symposia:

Moving Mountains Symposium photos

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