Newness for a New Year

Friday, April 23, 2010

“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in that community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-operate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for).

The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.

This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.

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

From “The Land Ethic,”Aldo Leopold’s final essay in A Sand County Almanac


Daisy Chick said...

I LOVE Aldo Leopold. So glad you posted this and something from a Anne Morrow Lindberg. Both are speak to my soul. Love you.

Tammy said...

Thought provoking. I like it. I got to visit the National Botanical Gardens in D.C on Sunday and I was pleasantly surprised by my sense of wonder and awe. There is truly "the dearest freshness deep down things"

Megan said...

it makes me feel at home to read your thoughts. i miss being around your inspiring and thought provoking mind. being in france reminds me of you and our days of journeying together. i have been amazed by how much i miss bulgaria being here. i miss having a flow of the language at the tip of my tongue and having a deep relationship with others in a different culture. i will work hard at french so i can get there one day! please come see us! i miss spending time with you! this place is so beautiful!!!