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

Paul Heintzman


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.

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