The Geography of Hope environmental literary conference takes place in the northern California town of Point Reyes Station. The former railroad station sits just east of where the San Andreas Fault splits California between the Pacific and the North American Plates, just before slipping into the southern tip of Tomales Bay. Built in the 19th century, when the railroad ran from Sausalito to the Russian River area, the town is home to a variety of resources, including a great independent bookstore, a newspaper, fantastic food and drink, and a kayak rental from where you can set out to watch the fingers of fog stealing over the Bay.
B. and I attended this year’s conference, which featured Green Fire, a film about environmentalist Aldo Leopold. His tenure with the U.S. Forest Service allowed him to explore some of this country’s natural wonders while evolving his own ecological vision. This vision included humans and their interactions with the natural world, and was eloquently expressed in his essay collection, A Sand County Almanac.
A second film, Rebels with a Cause, chronicled the tense battle fought by environmentalists such as Dr. Martin Griffin and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, over saving Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. If this fight had gone the other way, a suburban housing development might be sitting smack in the middle of the Marin Headlands. Local and national heroes like this inspire by showing that the most ordinary of us can take up causes we are most passionate about. They recognized that ecological land use planning is interconnected with, and the very foundation for, human health. These also happen to be some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in California.