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LOCAL>> Something of the Marvelous: Lessons Learned From Nature and My Sixty Years as an Environmentalist
Chris Desser and Kirk Marckwald discuss the late environmentalist’s recent memoir
Featured Book: Something of the Marvelous
You may already be familiar with Huey Johnson, a local hero and giant of the modern environmental movement. Huey passed away last July, just weeks after completing the manuscript of his memoir, Something of the Marvelous: Lessons Learned from Nature and My Sixty Years as an Environmentalist.
The title comes from Aristotle – “In all of nature, there is something of the marvelous” – but it could just as easily apply to Huey’s own life of great adventure and achievement.
Those of us in the Bay Area have Huey to thank for much of the glorious landscapes and open spaces that make living here so extraordinary – Marin Headlands, Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, Point Reyes National Seashore. Huey wrested these and many other cherished places from imminent commercial development and protected them for everyone’s enjoyment, now and forever.
Huey intended his book to be less a memoir and more a collection of invaluable life lessons to pass on to a new generation of environmentalists – and to everyone who cares about the future of our planet. His lessons are both thought-provoking and practical:
- When to compromise and when to hang tough.
- How a little madness can lead to great things.
- The difference between love and respect.
- The lifelong value of acquiring basic skills.
Not surprisingly, Huey found many of his most meaningful lessons in nature itself, using his own inner resources to survive life-threatening encounters with bears, glacial ice, and restive rivers.
For a story that spans eighty years, Something of the Marvelous is surprisingly timely. Huey’s crusades for worldwide environmental management, green space in urban neighborhoods and the defense of public lands against commercial exploitation are more urgent than ever. He continued to work full time in Mill Valley until his death at 87, engaged in environmental advocacy programs like Restore Point Reyes Seashore, the campaign to end ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore.
CHRIS DESSER is an artist, writer, and advocate for progressive social change and hosts conversation with writers and activists on Enthusiasms on KWMR. For four years she has served in the Marin County Planning Commission, currently as vice-chair. She previously served on the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Commission for the Environment. She was a Fellow at On the Commons, a think tank focused on developing the concept of The Commons as an overarching analytical structure organizing across social sectors and disciplines. She developed A Catalogue of Extinct Experience, a collaborative art installation demonstrating that our best, creative, evolving selves grow out of and depend on preserving a diverse and evolving planet.
KIRK MARCKWALD is the Founding Principal of CEA Consulting and has been at the helm as a Principal since 1984. His deep experience in energy and environmental regulation provides the foundation for CEA’s work with a variety of private and public sector clients. Kirk has led large-scale regulatory reform and strategic planning projects for major manufacturing and transportation companies as well as for trade associations and nonprofits. He has represented individual clients and trade associations before legislative and regulatory agencies in California and Washington, D.C.
Note: Book is only available for in-store purchase
Co-Sponsor: Resource Renewal Institute