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Stewart Udall, January 31, 1920 – March 20, 2010

“Go well, do well, my children. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.”

The environmental and sustainability movements lost a great champion Saturday with the passing of Stewart Udall. Mr. Udall left an indelible mark on the planet by protecting vast areas of North America from the indelible mark of encroachment by humankind.

For the past two years I’d been hoping to make a short trip down the freeway to Santa Fe, New Mexico to chat with Mr. Udall and capture an interview for my film, Hooked on Growth. The fact I procrastinated adds a little to my sadness. The good news is he does appear on the silver screen in the documentary Earth Days, coming to PBS April 19 in the U.S.

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As U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the 1960s, Stewart Udall oversaw the creation of 4 national parks, 6 national monuments, 9 national recreation areas, 50 wildlife refuges and 8 national seashores. His son Tom and nephew Mark Udall carry on his legacy as they serve today in the U.S. Senate.

I’d like to memorialize Stewart Udall with a few of his own words that struck a chord for me:

“Over the long haul of life on this planet, it is the ecologists, and not the bookkeepers of business, who are the ultimate accountants.”

From a letter he and his wife wrote to their grandchildren:

“Americans must finally cast aside our notion that we can continue the wasteful consumption patterns of our past. We must promote a consciousness attuned to a frugal, highly efficient mode of living…..

To sustain life on our small planet, we will need a wider, all-encompassing planetary resource ethic based on values implemented by mutual cooperation. This ethic must be rooted in the most intrinsic values of all: Caring, sharing, and mutual efforts that reach beyond all obstacles and boundaries.

Go well, do well, my children. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.”

– Stewart and Lee Udall


Dave Gardner is producing the documentary, Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity. For more information visit
www.GrowthBusters.org.

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