I found The Land Ethic quite fascinating. This journal put ethics into different terms and I had never really thought this way before. After reading this, however, the journal makes complete sense. We, as humans, are under the general belief that we have “conquered” the land. But what if the land was never ours to conquer? In a community, there are those morals that we must cooperate because those ethics are instilled in us. Humans do not act this way towards the land and nature though. The land provides for us in so many ways. Food, oxygen, space, and countless other necessities. But we do not give anything back. In fact, we treat land as property and although there are certain regulations in regards to land, for the most part we simply do what we want with the land. This relationship between humans and the Earth is not going to change in the near future because we view the land as a “biotic mechanism”. Leopold says that in order for us to be ethical in relation to the land, we must see it as something we love, understand, and feel. The land needs to be appreciated as something much more than property, or this cycle of using the land for our own benefit will continue on. Alex
I found the Land Ethic by Aldo Leopold to be quit intriguing. It caught my attention when he used the comparison between how Odysseus treated his slave girls to be much like how we treat our Earth, as property. Odysseus did not think twice about killing his slaves just like we, as humans, often do not think twice about how we are treating our Earth. Every time we litter, use a plastic bottle, or do not recycle is harming our earth in more ways than we can imagine. In the epic poem The Odyssey, after Odysseus kills his slave girls they come back to haunt him in the underworld for eternity. I believe this could also be a comparison in how we treat our Earth because if we continue to neglect our actions, our future generations will have to face the consequences in which we have created. The Land Ethic is an eye opening realization of how humans are consciously harming our Earth every day and ignoring its costs. Jenna
The Land Ethic by Aldo Leopold was very logical and put forth a well scripted argument towards why, we as humans, treat the planet the way we do. It was very fascinating how he described ethics as an ecological observation and the connection between that, and our predictable mentalities towards topics like land conservation.
It was very disappointing to realize how expedient our government and society has truly become, and the direct correlation between that, and the environment. It irked me when the point was made that homo sapiens have little regard for animals/plants/land masses that don't provide them an abundance of profitability. Unfortunately as I read on, it seemed ominously clear that we would not change our mentalities and behavior towards salary deficient organisms unless we altered our whole civilization from a "conquering race" to a "citizen" status.
The "conqueror" will always defeat himself, was a point made by Leopold to express our pitfall when assuming we can control nature to our whim. He supported his statement by talking about the energy pyramid in our biosphere. I pondered our true affects on the pyramid and how we shift circuits of energy to a global perspective and don't even realize what we are doing. The world is quite obviously in some level of disarray, and that's just to our untrained eyes... Leopold made me question the boundaries of natural equilibrium and how far past them we realistically are.
“The Land Ethic” by Also Leopold was very interesting and eye opening. Throughout his journal, Leopold describes how we as humans are destroying the land that we live in. We go each and everyday thinking only about ourselves and we forget about the environment and the species that live on this Earth with us. In fact, Leopold describes our world as a biotic pyramid. Each level of the pyramid relies on the level below it to survive. Plants rely on the soil to grow, animals rely on plants and other animals to live, and we as humans rely on both plants and animals in order to survive. Yet, we aren’t giving back to our environment. We take advantage to what is provided to us. We simply use the land for our own wants and needs. If we continue to live the way we do, we are going to wake up one day having to deal with all of the issues that we have brought upon ourselves. - Sarah
After reflecting on Aldo Leopold’s journal entitled Land Ethics my perspective on how the world treated land and animals throughout history transformed. Previously I thought our brutal beating on land and animals increased over time and in the past we respected wildlife more. However, this statement revealed itself to be false. Humans always treated land like an expediency simply that it could be thrown away after one use. We molded the earth into our creation instead of molding ourselves into the land. Therefore, we threw the entire system off balance; instead we could have adapted to the natural rhythm that the land and the animals already had established. The selfish human nature consumed everything it desired and didn’t feel any remorse because we didn’t love, understand, or feel nature. We only simply used it for economic purposes and development of our own beings. We took control instead of joining a global community. Nature consists of a vast community with all interdependent parts and humans came in and decided to reign themselves king. Disturbing the food chain in a fast and violent way, humans allowed animals to overpopulate or disappear all together. Furthermore, humans transformed into unwanted pests that feast upon everything in reach, until all resources are exhausted. Liz
This article (Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic) was very interesting and thought provoking to me. It raised lots of questions that I have not thought about in this certain context before. Seeing the land as just another piece of the "Land Pyramid", and viewing it from a perspective of being just as important to life on this planet as we are, is something that I think needs to be talked about more. What Leopold was saying in regards to something having importance only if it has some sort of economic value, is a sad but true reality in our world. This is somewhat backwards in my eyes, as we as humans are really the only living things that could make a case of economic profitability for ourselves. Land, animals, and other important parts of our environment, have no way of speaking up for their cases of value. I think that we as humans have gotten very greedy with the way that we use resources and energy. We continually disrupt this cycle of energy that Leopold talks about, and we only think about everything else, when it is almost depleted. I think issues in this text need to be talked about more, and are subject of great importance in the standards of living that should be shared by all things living on this planet.
I thought the issues and questions raised in The Land Ethic were very interesting. I never looked at things from the unique perspective that Aldo Leopold uses to convey his ideas about nature. The reading ties in very nicely with the photos from Burtynsky and Jordan. All of these works deal with the interactions between humans and nature and seem to raise several questions. Where do we as humans draw the line in our never-ending quest to conquer nature? How much is too much? Is there a proper balance? The Land Ethic takes a unique approach by arguing that it is humanity’s moral obligation to protect and preserve the environment. We also must ponder whether we, as humanity, want to be the conquerors of nature or simply a citizen of nature. Leopold also states that we shouldn’t do this for economic or practical reasons but because of the interconnectedness of nature and to protect the aspects of our Earth which may seem insignificant, but actually have great value. I also thought his ideas of the “Land Pyramid” were quite interesting, mainly because I have never heard of that concept before. He basically states the all of the environment is connected in a chain of flowing energy. I’ll admit that many of the concepts and ideas presented in this essay went over my head and seemed really far out to me. Ryan
In The Land Ethic by Aldo Leopold there are a lot of ideas that are still relevant but there are also some theories that do not match up to modern society. I agree with his ideas about how we cherish and rejoice the land that we live on but we fail to really care for it. We have let the soil deteriorate, the waters get polluted, uproot plants and let animals live only where it is convenient for us. It was interesting to me to look at the dates from his writings because they are from the 1930’s and 1940’s, a long time ago when it comes to farming and environmental issues and techniques. Today we are much more aware of what kinds of technology we can use to prevent any more erosion or damage to the land. There are also ways that we are improving the environment by replanting forests and creating residences for wildlife and plant species. It is crazy to think about how different our country could have been if one thing would have been done otherwise. There may never have been a corn belt or an area known for cotton and peanuts. We have used the land to our greatest advantage and are now trying to make up for our mistakes in the past.
The article made some interesting points and comparisons. However it must be remembered that the article was written in the late 1930's and since that time much has changed in agriculture and conservation. It is interesting to look at that time period through the writing of the time. It would have been difficult to make rapid changes in conservation when 18% of the labor force was farmers. Our perspective and respect for land has changed much since then. The rate of land erosion has decreased dramatically with the advancement of technology and better management practices. He offered a third person perspective of what agriculture was like at that time. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "Farming is easy when your plow is a pencil and your a thousand miles from the corn field"
In “The Land Ethic” by Aldo Leopold, he is trying to tell us that we should include the earth as part of our community. We should treat soils, waters, plants, and animals, or the land as part of our community. He also talks about the relationship between man and land or in other words, conservation. Even though conservation has been around for years, it is still moving at a snail pace. The public needs more education on the environment and how to conserve it. Another message that he is saying is that we as humans believe that we own the environment, we own it but in reality we don’t. He is trying to say that he values the environment in a philosophical sense, not in an economic way. He respects the land for more than a way for us to make money, more than a way to use its resources. He enjoys it just because of how it is. He wants us to make decisions about the land for more than just economic gain. - Nick
The Land Ethics essay was very interesting to me, because after reading it I realized that the ideas it expressed were very obvious, but almost always unnoticed. Humans treat the land like an asset to be handled rather than an important part of our communities. If women were treated like property today like they were in the Odysseus example people would be appalled, why do we not have the same reaction regarding the land? Humans and nature are both living, contributing members of a community, yet nature is almost always overlooked when we are making decisions or passing new laws that would affect both parties. The land provides many resources for us such as water, plants and oxygen but we often don’t appreciate that significance. By acting selfishly towards the land and trying to conquer it we have already driven numerous plants and animals into endangerment and even into extinction, which makes me question where humans will be in the future? If we don’t start treating nature as more of an equal to ourselves in communities, will there be any nature left for us to use? Instead of trying to conquer the land, we should be working with it to create the most prosperous and efficient communities we can. -Ashley
Land Ethic was an inspiring piece of literature. I appreciated all of the comparisons Leopold drew between Odysseus abusing his rights to his wives in Greek mythology and all of the modern time examples drawn from all nations of the world. Post-reading his reflections on our treatment of our habitat I was shocked at the truth that rang out in his every word. We truly do abuse all of the power that was given to us to rule over our domain, namely, all of the resources of Earth. The example which best exemplified the abuse of power we exhibit in every situation of power we are entrusted with was the experiment conducted in Wisconsin which tempted the farmers to use techniques of preserving our environment which also bolstered their production and long-term return to their input. However, as soon as the farmers ended their five year trial period of the experiment run by the government they relapsed back to their greedy selfish ways of looking for immediate profit no matter the eventual consequences for the environment. This display of selfishness shocked me, as it is only human nature to wish to bring oneself profit, but we do not consider in the slightest the ramifications of our decisions. My reflection of this article inspires me to make a change by encouraging others to better the environment through their actions as opposed to always taking the selfish route which will, in time, lead to destruction of our habitat. Braden
I found the article fascinating. I enjoyed the authors take on community and how our definition and perception of community has changed over thousands of years. He links that community is where we generate our morals, or codes of conduct. From these morals we eventually develop a natural sense making them into traits rather than guide lines. I though that that take on morals was very interesting and I agree with it in part. What I was very impressed with however was how the author tied all of the moral problems we face into that original sense of community, saying that as humans continue to evolve so to does our concept of community and human nature. One day I believe that we will eventually encompass nature and the world around us into our definition of community and through that develop a moral and ethical responsibility to the land we live on. In a way it is interesting to think that nature truely being alive is just one more thing that humans learn to live in symbiosis with. I also believe though that it will come as a compromise. We as a species will do our best to live in harmony with the earth but the fact of the matter is that at teh end of the day we still need things from the earth that it cannot readily replace. These are the materials that we will eventually strip from the earth. Wesley
One can say, after only reading a few pages of the Land Ethic that Aldo Leopold wrote it as a persuasive essay. He believes that as humans we have an obligation to take care of the earth. I was impressed with the analogy in the begging when he compared our relationship with to earth to that of Odysseus and the slave girls. Humans believe that they have a right to do with the earth whatever we want. Another very striking passage was when he wrote about how we sing of nature in our national anthem but then turn our backs and destroy what we praised only moments before. Leopold has some very strong and concrete beliefs through the essay and they all show very well. Personally I am in the middle. I am disgusted by how we treat the world but at the same time I don’t want a recession of technology and halt in our discoveries. Humanity is growing at an exponential rate and if we can slow down the growing population that would be the starting point for a better and safer world.
I found the article "The Land of Ethic" to be a very interesting piece of literature. The Comparisons that Aldo Leopold made caught my attention right away. For example, when he made the comparison of Odysseus treating his slaves like how we treat earth. This made me think about how Odysseus thought nothing about having slaves and killing them, much like how us humans think about nature. We as humans do not think about how using a piece of paper, is destroying millions of trees. We do not think about how if we litter or throw away a plastic bottle we are in some way killing the earth. I also thought the land pyramid concept is rather fascinating. He explained that each level of the pyramid relies on the level below to survive. Plants rely on soil and animals rely on plants, but us humans rely on both plants and animals to survive. This just shows that we don't understanding that we are killing our means of survival. Humans need to stop and think about how we are destroying our nature and the world around us, but in turn could also be destroying ourselves.
After reading The Land Ethic by Leopold my eyes were opened to many new concepts that actually seemed very obvious once I thought about it. Although I understood most of the concepts Leopold explained, there were a few that were hard for me to wrap my head around. Ethics basically states that humans are constantly at a battle between whether they should simply compete for themselves or if they should compete for their community as a whole. Taking that a step further, The Land Ethic states that the “community” is not simply other humans, but it is also the soil, the water, the plants, and the animals. It was interesting that The Land Ethic stated that it can’t prevent humans from using these parts of nature as “resources” but it can prevent humans from completely destroying an entire species. They have the right to remain existent in our world. Leopold makes an interesting and accurate point when he states that humans feel all they need to do is follow the law, join a few organizational groups, vote, and understand what conservation is and know how it will benefit their own land. If they do all of this, they think that the government will take care of the rest of the problems, but this is far from being true. Another very interesting argument that Leopold brought up was the fact that if we do not deem something to be economically profitable (like the songbirds) we don’t really seem to care for its existence. We are so obsessed with being economically successful that almost everything we do revolves around it. This greed and selfishness needs to change.
After reading “The Land Ethic” by Aldo Leopold, I must admit I was a little bit shocked. Many of these great points and perspectives that were introduced by Leopold had never even crossed my mind previous to this article. I really enjoyed how the concept of land responsibility was introduced and some of the questions that were raised along with it. I feel as if we all would like to believe that we respect and give right to the land, but in retrospect our greedy nature and almost egotistical view of the world is much more prevalent. Point in case, when the 1930 experiment was conducted with the farmers, most would have expected that being people of the land they would take advantage of that opportunity to enrich the land. Alas, their human nature kicked in and they chose personal gain over the greater good of nature, as most humans would. If there was one thing in this article that really made me want to break the greedy habit was the pyramid theory. The fact that all things run off of the life source inferior to them, and all are based from the earth and or nature is quite eye opening but at the same time very believable. I feel that if we were to bring that perspective into the conversation more people would think twice about using the world as their domain and disregarding almost all other life forms rights. This of course is all highly improbable though, using and unproven theory to break the habit of human nature is not likely to happen anytime soon. Derek
Aldo Leopold’s article The Land Ethic I realized I don’t think people will ever respect the forests and give them rights in the way Leopold thought. What I think of when someone says the trees have rights and we need to respect them I think of a tree hugger hippy type person. I like his ideals and also believe we should save these natural resources but more so the people of the future can see and enjoy them. People have a natural desire to succeed and a long time ago someone found out how much money there is in natural resources and began selling them. Ever since this people have used the land for everything it has to get money. People will not stop until they have screwed up and decide they have to fix it. The other big reason I think people don’t truly respect the land is because they can’t land feel its living but its seen as an inanimate object. This is different than people, or even animals which are now seen as having some rights. People and animals show suffering and pain so we feel it is wrong to have them suffer or take their rights. The natural resources are just there for us to take or respect. Justin
I found this article quite enlightening. The author's take on the way communities are defined and perceived over thousands of years was interesting. The linking of the way we act to community itself was an interesting concept to me. It was interesting to see the argument that these naturally occurring acts slowly evolved into more of expected ways of acting and eventually into the normal. Another piece of the Land Ethic that was very interesting was Aldo Leopold's urging of human to try to move towards being "citizens of the Earth" instead of "conquerors of the Earth". In the end, I do not believe that humans can move towards that sort of future. Being realistic, humans would rather run this Earth into the ground before they have to see mother nature naturally take its course. Humans are driven to try to better there status, whether it be financial, social, or otherwise, humans will always want something better. The only way that we could change the Earth for the better is if all the leaders and higher-ups want a better Earth. That may take awhile. -Tate
I could understand where Aldo Leopold was coming from with his essay "The Land Ethic", but I disagree with a lot of what he was saying. There is always room for improvement when it comes to the way we treat our earth, but what would change if we did start treating it differently. We will still used the land as we wished to get natural resources and make consumer goods. We would still wipe out huge areas of forest or mountains or other nature to put houses and industrial buildings because the human population keeps growing. If we did not do these things we wouldn't have as much fuel or resources to keep up with all the people.
I did however find Leopold's comparison to The Odyssey very interesting. odysseus did not treat his slaves with resect, just like we do not treat our earth with as much respect as it deserves.
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on September 6, 2012 10:29 AM.
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