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Stewart Udall & The Politics of Beauty Film Premiere with Award Winning Filmmaker John de Graaf

April 27, 2023 @ 6:30 am PDT

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 Udall, from Message to our Grandchildren

Just in time for Earth Day Santa Barbara Permaculture Network hosts a free community event, the film premiere of Stewart Udall & The Politics of Beauty with award winning filmmaker John de Graaf participating in a discussion & Q&A following with community members describing Stewart Udall’s connection to Santa Barbara and the first Earth Day.

Celebrating the life and legacy of former U.S. Congressman and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, this beautiful film tells the inspiring story of Udall as an advocate of social and environmental justice, international cooperation, the arts, and most of all, the protection of our shared environment and magnificent natural beauty, leading the way with much of the environmental legislation we now take for granted. Stewart Udall’s record and accomplishments are perhaps unmatched by any other Interior Secretary, yet most Americans know very little about him. .

Serving as Secretary of the Interior under both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, he provided the political leadership for an enormous legacy that includes the Clean Air and Clean Water Restoration Acts, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Wilderness Act, the Endangered Species List, the Highway Beautification Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Scenic Trails Acts, the Pesticide Reduction and Mining Reclamation Acts, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

Stewart Udall was also responsible for the creation of many of our national parks and monuments, more than any other American since Theodore Roosevelt. Working collaboratively with Congress, 3.85 million acres were added to the public domain, including four national parks – Canyonlands in Utah, Redwood in California, North Cascades in Washington state, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas – and six national monuments, eight national seashores and lakeshores, nine national recreation areas, twenty historic sites, and fifty-six wildlife refuges.

Udall was also the government’s primary advocate for the 1964 Wilderness Act, which permanently ensured that millions of acres of wild land would remain “untrammeled by man.” He was the intellectual force behind the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which directed fees and royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to pay for wilderness protection and recreation.

But Stewart Udall was much more than an environmentalist. He spoke out for peace during the Cold War, at one point traveling with poet Robert Frost to the Soviet Union to meet its premier, Nikita Khrushchev, to encourage weapons reductions. With his brother Morris Udall while still in college, they challenged racism at the University of Arizona, where both were celebrated and popular athletes. Later as a public official, with the support of President Kennedy, he forced the integration of the Washington Redskins football team in 1962. When Udall discovered that the National Park Service (NPS) had only one African American ranger (in the Virgin Islands), he directed the NPS to launch a major recruiting campaign in traditionally black colleges. Robert Stanton, the only African American director of the National Park Service, credits Udall’s effort as helping make possible his career as a park ranger.

Udall also reshaped the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to give more power to tribal organizations, appointing Oneida leader Robert Bennett as the first Native American to direct the BIA. “Udall always took a back seat to Indian leaders,” says Diane Humetewa, a Hopi and the first Native American federal judge. In 1966, Udall froze the federal transfer of lands to the state of Alaska to ensure that Alaska Natives would not lose their lands. As William Hensley, an Alaskan Native leader later wrote, “Udall, with his sense of fairness, used his power to help establish the most generous land settlement in American history. Later in life, Udall managed a law practice that represented uranium miners, many of them Navajos, who had health issues due to radiation exposure.

Among his rare missteps, one had devasting consequences for our own community when Udall approved federal oil and gas leases off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA. As a result of that fateful decision, in 1969 a catastrophic oil spill happened in the Santa Barbara Channel, at that time ranked as the largest in U.S. waters. The consequences were devasting for the Santa Barbara community, its environment, wildlife, and economy.

But what transpired out of that tragedy lives on in a remarkable legacy. Citizen activists, students, and volunteers from all walks of life rallied, pitching in to clean up, and then formed an amazing array of organizations still active today to help protect against future disasters & formulate environmental policy, including the Community Environmental Council (CEC), Get Out Oil (GOO), the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), and the first Environmental Studies Program at UCSB, and an impromptu Earth Day at the foot of the Santa Barbara pier, which later inspired the nation’s first Earth Day. Stewart Udall later returned to Santa Barbara to acknowledge his mistake and formerly apologize.

The event takes place at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Thursday, April 27, from 6:30-9pm. More information: www.sbpermaculture.org; margie@sbpermaculture.org, 805 962-2571.

A Community Event Hosted by Santa Barbara Permaculture Network

Politics of Beauty FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Learn More:

John de Graaf Bio: John De Graaf has been producing and directing PBS documentaries for more than 40 years. He spent 31 years at KCTS, the Seattle PBS affiliate. Fifteen of his programs have been broadcast nationally in primetime on PBS, including his 1997 hit special, Affluenza. He has directed and written many biographies and history programs, including the PBS national Earth Day 1990 special, For Earth’s Sake: The Life and Times of David Brower, which includes an interview with Stewart Udall. His 1992 biography of Japanese American internment resister Gordon Hirabayashi, A Personal Matter, won the highest award for legal reporting from the American Bar Association and inspired the acclaimed play Hold These Truths. He has won more than 100 regional, national, and international filmmaking awards, and The John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, named for him, is presented annually at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in California. He is an author, filmmaker speaker and activist with a mission to help create a happy healthy and sustainable quality of life for America.

Official film trailer: Stewart Udall & the Politics of Beauty

John De Graaf Website

‘Stewart Udall: The Politics of Beauty’ on Thursday’s Access Utah | UPR Utah Public Radio

Stewart Udall: A Letter to My Grandchildren 2010

Books by Stewart Udall:
· The Quiet Crisis, 1963
· 1976: Agenda for Tomorrow, 1968
· America’s Natural Treasures: National Nature Monuments and Seashores, 1971
· To the Inland Empire: Coronado and our Spanish Legacy, 1987
· The Quiet Crisis and the Next Generation, 1988
· In Coronado’s Footsteps, 1991
· The Myths of August: A Personal Exploration of Our Tragic Cold War Affair with the Atom, 1994
· Majestic Journey (Re-issued as, To the Inland Empire) 1995
· The Forgotten Founders: Rethinking The History Of The Old West, 2002

Related Resources:

The Ocean Is Boiling, The Complete Oral History of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill – Pacific Standard Magazine

The January 28th Conference: 15 Years UCSB After the Santa Barbara Oil Spill

KEYT-TV (Channel 3) news film footage of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Santa Barbara’s Role in the Birth of the Modern Environmental Movement – 2005

The Aftermath the Santa Barbara Oil Spill Had On Santa Barbara: Panel Discussion

Building a Movement: 50 Years of Environmental Studies at UCSB


April 27, 2023
6:30 am PDT
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