Forester Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) is considered one of the founding voices of environmental ethics. In 1909, as a new ranger in the recently established Apache National Forest, Leopold shot a wolf in northeastern Arizona. At the time, he sensed something was wrong, but it would take 35 years for him to express his unease in “Thinking Like a Mountain,” one of the most famous essays in environmental literature. What spurred him toward that monumental statement? Join environmental historian Dr. Dan Shilling for a talk about how the seeds of Leopold’s revolutionary thought can be found in his years in Arizona and New Mexico (1909-1924). In particular, Dr. Shilling explores how Indigenous attitudes toward nature helped shape Leopold’s nearly 40-year intellectual journey.
This program is part of the Climate Conversations series hosted by Arizona Humanities and made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About the Speaker:
Dan Shilling moved to Arizona in 1980 and earned his PhD from Arizona State University. He joined Arizona Humanities as a program officer in 1984, and was named executive director in 1989. At AH he developed several award-winning projects on environmental history and community building. After leaving AH, he directed a three-year project on place-based tourism. That research earned Dan the Arizona Office of Tourism “Person of the Year Award” and resulted in the book, Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place. Since 2009 he has co-directed three NEH Summer Institutes on environmental ethics for university professors. Dan’s most recent publication, co-edited with Melissa Nelson, is Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Methods for Environmental Sustainability (Cambridge 2018). Dan has served on more than 50 boards and commissions; to acknowledge his service ASU presented him one of its most prestigious honors, the Distinguished Alumnus Award.