Sunday, April 23, 2023

Visionary Couples --- Day 12/118

Walk: Opera Plaza Cinema (Wild Life)

Distance: 4.1 miles

Certain marriages are a bit awesome to Ciwt.  That the partners would be so seemingly perfectly suited, that they would have actually met each other in the first place.  Two examples of these marriages are combined in the new National Geographic documentary Wild Life. One couple consists of  the professional mountain athlete, photographer, film director, and author Jimmy Chin and his wife, Princeton Comparative Literature major, documentary producer and director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelya.  Theirs are the true canon of mountaining films: Free Solo, and Meru especially. The other is the marriage of mountaineer-businessman-conservationist Douglas Tompkins who (among other endeavors) founded the outdoor clothing company North Face and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins who was the CEO of North Face's fiercest rival, Patagonia.

Unfortunately Doug Tompkins died in a 2015  kayack accident in Chile and without completing his vision of acquiring massive amounts of land in Chile and Argentina, converting them into national parks and donating them back to the governments of those countries. Certainly putting an elevated spin on the word 'conservationist.'  But his bereaved but determined widow, Kris, made sure that Doug's vision was brought to fruition.  Today, due largely to the ongoing work of the nonprofit Tompkins Conservation run by Kris, almost 15 million acres of pristine wilderness in Chile and Argentina are protected in perpetuity.

Chin and Vasarhelya were invited (or hired, Ciwt doesn't know the arrangement) to document the Doug-Kris-Tompkins Conservation story and have once again created a superior film with Wild Life.

But as Ciwt sat in her theater seat along with a smattering of other viewers, she couldn't help thinking 'What does this have to do with me?'  Of course she too loves the environment and gorgeous land and wants it to be preserved.  But Wild Life is on such a grand scale it feels to her as if it should be showing in corporate board rooms and places where enormously weathy sportspeople or other visionaries gather.  Perhaps it will be.

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