Jens Jensen the Living Green Showing at Milleneum Park

JJensen sceneIf you missed the showing of Jens Jensen the Living Green during the One Earth Film Festival you won't want to miss this.  And even if you saw it in March you may want to see it again and bring some friends.  The film will be making it's official Chicago debut with showings at Pritzger Pavilion in Millennium Park and on WTTW TV simultaneously on Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 8:00pm. Today four out of five Americans live in cities. Yet the connection between the urban experience and the physical and emotional need for city and national parks is only just beginning to be made.

Jensen was a conflicted man, his Prairie Style revolutionized park design with 600 democratic and naturalistic landscapes for the workers of Chicago as well as the titans of industry. He predicted the devastating effects of the automobile on the environment, yet he worked for Henry and Edsel Ford. His story dramatizes an environmental battle that lasted five decades culminating in the creation of the nation’s first urban national park. A true conservation hero who used his art as activism, his philosophy and tactics on behalf of saving the land could not be more prescient.

A century ago, a rebellious Dane, JENS JENSEN (1860 - 1951), rose from street sweeper to 'dean of landscape architects’ to pioneering conservationist when he risked his career to stand-up to Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan whose steel mills threatened to industrialize the entire Indiana shoreline. Jensen staged the “Dunes Pageant” that drew an estimated 40,000 - 70,000 to the dunes. It was Earth Day, Woodstock and Lawrence of Arabia all rolled into one. His pageant whipped-up a conservation fervor that effectively stopped industrial expansion.