Leopold the Land Ethic
“The Land Ethic”is an individual essay that was collected from the major publication “The Sand County Almanac” written by Aldo Leopold during his life time, and it was published one year after his death in 1949. This essay was read by many people during his lifetime and was a powerful force in ecological sphere for many years. Leopold collected all his knowledge in this major publication, and in “The Land Ethic” he calls for people’s attention in order to preserve the environment, protect the land from changing, and protect species from the extinction.
Aldo Leopold in “The Lend Ethic” explains to his readers what is meant by land ethic. It’s a sort of combination of rules about what is right and what is wrong, and Leopold writes that it “is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community” and “is wrong when it tends otherwise”. In the chapter “The Ecological Conscience” Leopold writes that this ecological set of “rules” can not be written down on a paper as a book of laws, because “obligations have no meaning without conscience, and the problem we face is the extension of the social conscience from people to land”.
What the author means is that people must take action by following the rules either written on paper or not. “Education must precede rules” writes Leopold in his essay. People should be more educated regarding the conservations they have and understand that without land ethic there is going to be no “place to compete for”. In my point of view, Leopold is absolutely right at this point and as a result, we can see thousands of species that are already extinct forever from the face of the planet. Our future generations will not have a chance to see them.
As an example, Wikipedia Encyclopedia gives a wide variety of those species that were extinct and will never be seen on this planet. The tragic part is that most of those species disappeared as a result of mankind’s unethical decisions. That is why it is so important to understand the idea and the whole point of the land ethic in order to truly follow the “unwritten” rules of ethic. Leopold raises one of the very important issues of the humanity today, and it is a land use. By mentioning the land Leopold means “soils, waters, plants, and animals”.
He concerned about how people can abuse the land in nowadays and exterminate all resources that it provides. When the author talks about resources he says that lend ethic suppose to “affirm their right to continued existence”. The main ideology of the land ethic is that people should be responsible for their actions when they use land and keep it in the original condition like they received it when they came on this land. In my point of view, in order for people to establish the kind of land ethic that Leopold describes, people should take action seriously on what is happening today.
People should switch to a clean natural energy sources like wind, water, and sun. There should be stricter regulations on factorial’s waste, because still most of the factories dump into the close by river or ocean, which causes deaths of thousands of animals. Cars and trucks should minimize exhaust gases in a larger proportion then we see it today, because only very few people can afford driving expensive electric cars or hybrids. Those types of cars should be more accessible through cheaper prices and government help.
As of today, our government doesn’t help people who are concerned about the environment, and there is no budget for that. Government doesn’t see any economical advantage in helping those people, because “the evidence had to be economic in order to be valid” – writes Leopold in “Substitutes for a Land Ethic”. In my point of view, this is a critical mistake, and I agree with Leopold at his point, that “a system of conservation based solely on economic self-interest is hopelessly lopsided”. Today’s ideology is if some species don’t have any economic value they will be exterminated.
For example, timber crops “grow too slowly, or have too low a sale value to pay”. Moreover, it’s not only some specific species that luck on economic value, but there are entire biotic communities, like “marshes, bogs, dunes, and deserts”. Is that mean that we should get rid of those things as well? Things like dunes and deserts are homes for millions of species. In order for people to develop a conscience with regard to their use and abuse of the land, they should clearly understand the land pyramid system.
Leopold talks about the importance of the land pyramid in “The Land Ethic”. The land pyramid is a sort of a food chain structure, where mankind is tightly involved. Soil, plants, insects, and animals are all tightly involved in this food chain and cannot survive without the existence of one another. Soil provides food for plants, plants for insects, insects for animals, and “man shares an intermediate layer with the bears, raccoons, and squirrels which eat both meat and vegetables”.
At this point, people should clearly realize that by exterminating of one of these layers humankind exterminates itself. By abusing the land people can loose everything they have today, and it can be no future for people. Realizing people’s position in the land pyramid can help people to understand how important it is to protect every single layer of the pyramid, and preserve what they have. In my point of view, people should follow land ethics and respect what the land gives them. People should be thankful to the land for what it gives them.
For example, when it comes to the use of natural resources, people should think about the environment and not damage what was naturally created. They should not interfere or destroy the natural cycle, otherwise it can lead to disastrous consequences. Even though people don’t see from their perspective that some things such as dunes, deserts, and rocks can bring economical or financial value, it doesn’t mean that they can get rid of them. They are valued beyond an economical standpoint; they can protect lands from flooding and prevent millions of species from extinction.
When it comes to me personally and what I do in order to follow ethical values, I take responsibility for my actions. For example, I recycle plastic bottles and bags, or when I go out to the forest with my friends I never leave trash behind. Maybe my actions seem too little when it comes to a global issues, but I believe that anything big starts from a little. I really hope that more people will follow Leopold’s ideas, and all together we can make a difference.