Thursday, 10 January 2008

Aldo Leopold's land ethic

Photo: The Aldo Leopold Foundation
There is as yet [in the 1940s] no ethic dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it. Land, like Odysseus' slave girls, is still property. The land-relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obligations.

The extension of ethics to this third element in human environment is, if I read the evidence correctly, an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity....
The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land....

A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies a respect for his fellow members, and also respect for the community as such.

Quotations from Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (San Francisco, New York: Sierra Club/Ballantine, orig. 1949 repr.1970), pp.238-240. See also Wikipedia on Aldo Leopold and Land Ethic; Amy McCoy, The Transformation of Aldo Leopold; The Land Ethic Toolbox from the Wilderness Society.

No comments: