The April edition of National Geographic Adventure has a great interview with actor Harrison Ford on his environmental crusades. According to the article, since 1991, Ford has been a strategic guide for Conservation International — supporting “biodiversity research, protecting endangered species, and working to persuade corporations with a history of polluting the planet to become stewards of it instead.” Harrison opens up on lost worlds, tourism, and how a friendship with a fox turned him onto environmentalism. Here are some highlights:
On settling down in Jackson, Wyoming:
I went to Sun Valley, but it was too built-up for me. So my wife at the time and I rented a car and drove toward Jackson. I’d only heard about it, and we saw it for the first time from Teton Pass. I was blown away. We knew immediately that we wanted to be there. A number of people involved in CI [Conservation International] live in Jackson, and when I became a landowner there, I felt a sense of stewardship for the Earth that I hadn’t really experienced before.
On going where no others have gone before:
I went down to Venezuela and ended up renting a helicopter and flew with my sons to the tops of the tepuis, these freestanding jungle mesas, “lost worlds” as it were. In fact, it’s almost impossible to access them without one. So we were able to land and spend some time there. We were trapped for about six hours by clouds that came in. Unbelievable. Spectacular environments. Very likely places where no other person had ever set foot before.
How a development and an animal turned him into an eco-warrior:
When I was 12, we moved outside the city to former agricultural land where they built all these tract homes. There was an irrigation ditch, and next to it was this little oasis of nature where a fox lived. I would go out there often and sit by myself. The fox became used to me and would come close—ten, six feet [two meters] away. And I think there’s something about that experience that tilted me toward nature in a different way than a visit to a national park or something would. I was struck by the fact that these houses we were living in, these streets we were driving down, had displaced something. That more than us belonged there.