The Environmental Ethic of Bill Mason: A Model for Environmental Education


  • Paul Heintzman University of Ottawa, Canada


Almost 20 years after Bill Mason's death, the writings and films of this leg- endary Canadian canoeist, filmmaker, and artist remain popular: "Few peo- ple of any nation have been so influential in creating a sense of responsibili- ty for the environment" (Buck, 2005, p. 12). Supported by statements in Mason's writings and films, this paper presents eight themes of Mason's environmental ethic which reflect a Christian perspective on caring for the earth. Haluza-Delay (2000) argues that religious understandings can be influential in developing meaningful environmental ethics and environmen- tally friendly lifestyles, as religious membership and practice are a signifi- cant source of values and motivation for behavioural change for many peo- ple. Thus, for many Canadians, Bill Mason's environmental ethic may be a good model for constructing their own environmental ethic. Implications for environmental education are discussed.