"The Land Ethic" - Aldo Leopold; "It All Turns on Affection" - Wendell Berry

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As I read through Wendell E. Berry’s lecture, I was very moved by how strongly the author felt about where he grew up, especially when he says “I am fairly literally flesh of its flesh” when talking about his home neighborhood. His grandfather and father instilled in him that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going kind of attitude. His family didn’t have much money but they loved what they did. They worked as hard as they could although profit was not the main motive. The main motive was taking care of the land and farming in an environmentally friendly way. I think more people should have this mentality. Berry explains the difference between a “Boomer” and a “Sticker” and expresses his opinion that boomers are motivated by greed and power. Boomers don’t care much about the environment because they want to do whatever they can to get ahead of others. Stickers care entirely about finding a passion for life and taking care of their environment. Berry wants us all to see clearly that life is more than just trying to be financially successful but encourage humans to respect the Earth by not destroying it. I agree completely with this and love how Berry stands up for what he believes in.

Reading through ‘The Land Ethic” essay, I found it mind blowing how hypocritical the human race is. The essay tells how the god-like Odysseus would hang women when they became useless to him. People would be extremely offended today if that actually happened but we also disregard land and trash when we find them to be useless… why do we not get as offended from this like we would over women being hung? We need to change as a whole to stop changing and using the land for things other than necessities. We are going to regret this years from now when we have no more land to develop and have more environmental issues than we have now. Earth is crucial to our existence – it produces air, water and food yet we have no respect for it. Both of these articles had understanding points that really make you think of the land first, not our own success. We would be nothing without our beautiful Earth and we should appreciate every little thing mother nature does for us versus trying to always change it.

As I read through Wendell E. Berry’s lecture, I was very moved by how strongly the author felt about where he grew up, especially when he says “I am fairly literally flesh of its flesh” when talking about his home neighborhood. His grandfather and father instilled in him that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going kind of attitude. His family didn’t have much money but they loved what they did. They worked as hard as they could although profit was not the main motive. The main motive was taking care of the land and farming in an environmentally friendly way. I think more people should have this mentality. Berry explains the difference between a “Boomer” and a “Sticker” and expresses his opinion that boomers are motivated by greed and power. Boomers don’t care much about the environment because they want to do whatever they can to get ahead of others. Stickers care entirely about finding a passion for life and taking care of their environment. Berry wants us all to see clearly that life is more than just trying to be financially successful but encourage humans to respect the Earth by not destroying it. I agree completely with this and love how Berry stands up for what he believes in.

Reading through ‘The Land Ethic” essay, I found it mind blowing how hypocritical the human race is. The essay tells how the god-like Odysseus would hang women when they became useless to him. People would be extremely offended today if that actually happened but we also disregard land and trash when we find them to be useless… why do we not get as offended from this like we would over women being hung? We need to change as a whole to stop changing and using the land for things other than necessities. Land is crucial to our existence – it produces air, water and food yet we have no respect for it. We are going to regret this years from now when we have no more land to develop and have more environmental issues than we have now. Overall, both of these articles had clear points that really make you think of the land first, not our own success. We would be nothing without our beautiful Earth and we should appreciate every little thing mother nature does for us versus always trying to change it.

Jenni Carnel

Reading "The Land Ethic" essay made me realize that today's economy ignores and even eliminates specimens that have no true economic effect on its nation. For example, the songbird was about to go extinct. Economist came up with the reason that without songbirds, insect populations would increase and be even more of a bother than they are right now. Thus, creating new government regulations for songbirds to keep the species thriving. Leopold obviously believes that the conservation systems of this nation are based solely on economic self-interest. He thinks its no fair.

Reading Wendell Berry's lecture was very touching. He told of how his grandpa was an extremely hard worker and would go through extreme hardships in order to keep his farm. This gave his grandfather the identity of a "Sticker" (one who remains in a spot and earns a living through the affection he has for his land). He tells how these hardships were passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him and his brother, and is going to be passed down to his children. He blames the economic hardships his family has suffered on American Tobacco Company, a monopoly in the early 1900's. He described the corporate head of the company as a "Boomer" (one who makes an earning and leaves through the greed of money). Wendell stated that the economy ignores the land economy, thus, making it difficult for the "Stickers" to earn a living.

Bryan Bjerk

In reading Aldo Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ article I felt mixed feelings. I agree with him when he makes points that mankind is hypocritical and takes for granted all our land and animals. Having said that he makes it sound like everyone is the same in that aspect. But truth is that some farmers and hunters care more about land and animals than most people. I am a hunter and whenever I shoot and kill a deer yes I feel guilt, and some sadness because I did just take the life of an innocent animal, but I also do feel a sense of satisfaction. I feel that sense of satisfaction for the simple fact that I am keeping the animal population in check. See if there were no hunters in the world, the animal population would get to large and be more susceptible to diseases. In my personal opinion it is better for an animal to die from one single bullet, than to suffer from some awful paralyzing disease. I also believe the same for farmers. Yes you do have the ones that dump stuff into rivers and what not. In general though, farmers care about their land and try to keep it healthy and safe. My final thought on the article is that I agree with his statement about everything being intertwined in nature and connected. So if there was a disease that attacked deer and severely effected the population it would mostly likely screw up the ecosystem. That is why I do my part to keep the numbers down so they aren’t overrun with disease.
When I read Wendell Berry’s Lecture I felt as if he was telling the story of America through his own family and also explained to an extent how human’s intelligence has grown. He tells us that there are two types of people in the world the ‘stickers’ and the ‘boomers’. Personally I relate more to the ‘stickers’ because my family has lived on the same piece of land for over a hundred years, peacefully and contently. Without any ‘stickers’ in America there would have been no farmers or other families of that sort to get this great country up and running. They were the foundation of America. Then came along the ‘boomers’ who took ‘sticker’s’ ideas and ran with them, creating an industry. But likewise we wouldn’t be the country we are today without the ‘boomers’. The ‘boomers’ essentially put us on the map in the industrial revolution. Then like I mentioned before he writes about human’s growth of intelligence. He says, “We were intelligent enough to know that our intelligence, like our world, is limited.” I believe that statement was true back over a hundred years ago. But then something changed in us, and we realized our intelligence only goes as far as we allow it to. Who knows where we would be today without ‘stickers,’ ‘boomers’ and the unlimited boundaries of our intelligence.

Tanner Tousignant

Reading "Land Ethic" made me realize that we really only care about things when we find them to be useful. It's almost as though w take what we have for granted and never really understand the value of something until extreme notions get ready to take place. There were a few parts of this lecture that caught my attention specifically. The first being the part about Odysseus hanging girls just because it was "convenient" for him to do so rather than him actually looking into who actually was doing bad things while he was away. We as Americans do things out of convenience all the time, instead of looking into the right and wrong of things. The second part was the part about the national anthem; the land of the free and the home of the brave and how we say he love this land but we don't act like it. We only take advantage of it. It's like we take no thought into what we say and versus what we actually do. So wouldn't that make us hypocrites? The last part was about the songbird and how they were about to become extinct, but because somebody's saw "value" in them they made a reason to keep them alive. So to me we sort of take advantage of what we have, or don't really realize what we have until extreme measures are about to take place. We need to learn to respect our Earth more, because if we destroy it, then it's gone. We only have one Earth.

Reading Wendell Berry's lecture I was very moved. I think that the labels of "Boomers" and "Stickers" were very clever and explained the two types of people very well. I think that Boomers are motivated by booming. They're greedy and and are pretty much solely focused on prospering for power, whereas with Stickers work hard for what they want and stick with something even if it's hard. He labeled is grandfather as a sticker which shows a lot about his character and the character of his family. Again, it seemed as though Berry was trying to get us to understand, really to value Earth and the nature that we have, it's not always about prospering with money. His grandfather planted corn and the soil eroded. But he worked hard to fix it. If we valued and respected our Earth more, I believe that it would be a better place because we wouldn't be destroying it. I think that was one of Berry's main intents in writing this lecture.

Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic” seems to be about how human nature and nature itself co-exist, or should I say how human nature dominates and destroys nature for obtuse reasons. Right from the beginning Leopold compares human nature to the god-like Odysseus, and nature to a dozen slave girls hanged on one rope in front of Odysseus’ house. The slave girls were Odysseus’ property and the disposal of that property were only for advantageous ambitions, rather than what was right and just. That being compared to human nature and nature is saying human’s feel they own nature and it’s their right to do want they want with it and to it. I feel Leopold was right in saying humans have no land ethic, it’s ridiculous how evidence has to be ‘economic in order to be valid’ for land species and land communities to keep existing. What gives humans the right to say this certain species of tree have no economic value, so we have to get rid of them? Humans wouldn’t like it if nature said to us you aren’t physical fit and well adapted to live on us and use our resources, so you’ve got to go. It’s saddening and cruel that entire biotic communities can be wiped out just because their dollar amount doesn’t match up to par with political standards. Leopold say’s the belief that economics determines all land use is not true, and that it is really determined by the land-users taste and predilections, and not by the size of the wallet.
Wendell E. Berry’s “It All Turns On Affection” lecture is a family story of a generation of farmers who actually care for their land, instead of trying to make a profit out of it. Berry’s family, who not rich and like others struggled with debt, still kept and cultivated their farm land because they respect and cherish it. For instance, Berry said his grandfather fell into difficult years when he plowed a field on the lower part of a long slope. Do that the soil was exposed; heavy rain fell on it and eroded the field. Berry’s grandfather didn’t choose to just leave the land and give up; he decided to devote the life of his life to healing the scars and then obligated to take care of the land. Though this process Berry’s grandfather and father learn how to care of the land better; what to do and what not to do, and that was passed on the Berry and his brother. If more people were like Berry and his family: who treasure the land, want to use to resourcefully, and learn from their mistakes and better themselves, then humans and nature would peacefully co-exist.

Gabrielle

When reading Aldo Leopold’s Land ethic it was interesting to see how a community can work together or split up. I understand why their is this sense of economic land ethic. Money is important to many people which is why I see this happens. People often do not see the effect or harm they have on others all they think about is themselves. So when farmers may do something to harm the community it is because the farmers need to feed for their families and this is their way of life. Even though this may happen I do not agree that this should happen. A community should work together as a group and a family and be able to work together so not one persons is ruining the environment for their own personal gain. Often we see that people that do not get a personal gain out of something like farming will not care what happens because they are not getting any gains out of that. However the earth is important and it is the beautiful land we live in. If people continue to be selfish and just worry about themselves and not the community this planet we live in will get destroyed.
While reading Wendell Berry’s lecture it made me think how there really are only two types of people out there “boomers” and stickers” and I see how this can work in our society today. Bommers just use others for a short period of time and make some money then live the easy life and do not put any thought into others feelings and lives and just think about themselves. However stickers stick around and appreciate life and understand they have worked hard and continue to do that live a happy and settle life. This made me realize the importance of community and not to be selfish. If everyone in a community was a boomer then nothing would ever get done and no progress would be made because everyone is thinking selfishly. However if a community has boomers people will live a better life knowing the hard work they put in to help everyone in the community and themselves.

Wendell E. Berry Lecture &
In reading Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic” I came to the conclusion that human nature only cares about convenience. The beginning of the article Leopold talks about Odysseus and how he hung “all on one rope a dozen slave-girls of his house-hold, whom he suspected misbehavior during his absence.” All of these slave-girls were property of Odysseus, so he could do whatever he wanted to them. I believe that this is totally out right wrong. Odysseus didn’t know for sure if these girls were truly the ones that misbehaved while he was away, he just assumed. Assumption isn’t always right but in Odysseus case it was, he assumed, so he murdered. This just simply shows how human kind will just kill and crime just because they believe they are right and don’t want to have to worry about it any longer, it is in their convenience. Wendell E. Berry’s “It All Turns On Affection” article is told about a family’s story of their generation and how they cared for their certain land that they farmed, cropped, and took care of. This family didn’t make money out of their farming they just simply took care of it and farmed it at their house; this family is Berry’s family. Berry talks about how there are 2 kinds of people, the “boomers” and the “stickers.” The stickers help others with anything needed with in their home or the society, they stuck around, even when the work became very difficult. Berry gave the “sticker” title to his grandfather. The “boomers” seem to be a different story. These were the sort of people that used you for a short period of time to get help and then shortly left right after, they were very selfish and greedy. I believe that we should all be like the “stickers.” The earth would have so much more value to it and we would have many more species alive still today if we didn’t affect them very poorly without actually having to.

Kassy

In Aldo Leopold's "The Land Ethic", I found it quite interesting that we as a society really have no land ethic. We take advantage of land and animals too much. We shouldn't have a "right" to kill anything we want. There should be more limitations on what in nature is available to take. We need to stop using and changing land unless it proves to be a necessity. Also we can't just kill off any sort of animal or plant because it seems useless in the world. The species may be helpful in ways not discovered yet. What to take away from this reading is to "think of each question as ethically or esthetically right, as well as economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Our planet is in need of a more gentle approach to using nature for success.

In Leopold’s writing I also found that the major theme consisted of convenience. Throughout the entire piece Leopold explains different examples or perspectives of convenience. One of the more interesting points he made was about imagination. As humans we tend to take the easy way out of things. However, if we took the time to exercise our imagination and creativity there are tremendous amounts of other possibilities out there. For example, recently a big step in becoming more ecofriendly is the invention of electric cars. We’re finding different resources that are more acceptable, so that we can also keep our luxuries. Although this is only one small step, it shows how if we just use our creativity we will find multiple ways to go about things and get what we want. I also noticed that Leopold pointed out that this issue of overly taking advantage of things isn’t just arising from our generation, it goes back for centuries. Yes, today we are more materialistic and use a greater abundance of products in comparison to decades ago. However the building block of this habit started ages ago. Once the idea was planted, it simply grew.
Jazlyn

When reading Aldo Leopold's, and Wendell E. Berry's articles there were many things that didn't actually take me by surprise. they spend a lot of time using farmers as an example talking about how they only work for what gives themselves the best money, and not caring as much about the land. Farmers have the option to use different resources to benefit the community but instead they choose to use ways that focus more on themselves. Many people will take the side that the farmers are doing the wrong thing and will also say they need to be less selfish. I will not take that side. When I read this article I am not reading to blame and say that the farmers should farm for less money because its better for the land. I see it as innovation. Its pretty natural for a person to want to make the most money possible even if it hurts the land a little. It may not be right but you can't avoid the facts. I think after reading this article that there should be more effort into developing better ways of using the land without hurting it while at the same time improving profit. Give a farmer a strategy to make more money, I doubt he would refuse. I don't believe that people will just read an article and suddenly change their ways. I believe that humans learn best from their mistakes and in this case that is what will happen. Once a significant piece of lands finally becomes uninhabitable; it will then open some peoples eyes and they will decide to change for the better. When it comes down to it, I think the best way to conserve the land is to discover a new healthier way to use the land that is also more efficient.

After reading Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic”, I felt sad about how human treat the nature. It’s ironic that everything is putting on a “price tag”, and instead of respecting all the living things on the earth, people in the industry measure them by looking at how much profit they are able to get. The example happened in 1930 which about the southwestern Wisconsin's topsoil was slipping seaward left me a deep impression. Even the government noticed the problem and tried to let the farmers treat the land well in five years; however, people actually chose to take the action which is profitable. I am sure this problem still exists today, and people are blinded by their greed. We really should respect our land and lives on the land, just like what Aldo said, “That land is not merely soil,” and we are coexisting.
From “It All Turns On Affection” I could feel that Wendell E. Berry has a very strong connection with his family, and his grandpa and father gave him a very good influence, but which also made him able to see how different the “Boomer” is from his grandfather. However, this is the reality of the society, people changed and became selfish. Most of them might use to be like author’s grandpa, doing what they really like to do and do not care about the money, but as people started to have more wants, they became greedy and lost the good connection to others and to the natures.

Sherry

In Leopold's writing, the way he shows how even in Greek Mythology the wasting of property is still a common thing. He talks about how Odysseus and how he hangs his female slaves. He treated them as property and as such they were just things. His talk about land too in the land pyramid was very deep too in the fact that he talks about how we view "Land" as something we can see, touch, feel and have faith in. He criticizes how we fail to see the "conservation of land".

Wendell Berry really spoke to me because I come from southern Minnesota, also known as farm country. His father was poor so his goal was to one day become wealthy, along with Wendell and now Wendell's children. This is human nature. To make a whole lot of money and to become successful. He talks about the monopoly of the tobacco industry and the struggles his family has had because of it.

When I read “the land ethic” it really popped out at me that the economy tends to eliminate specimens that don't have a direct impact on nature. It says in the text that the god Odysseus would hang women that he found as useless, well on a smaller scale we kind of do the same thing with land and the forests for an example, people don't seem to need all the trees and nature the forest has to offer so we don't hesitate to cut them down and get rid of them.
When I read through Berry's lecture it was obvious that the author really cared about where he was raised. He emphasizes that though his family didn't have a lot of money they loved what they did for a living. He mentions in his lecture about “boomers” and “stickers” which really made sense to me because there are still a lot of “boomers” in todays society, but not as many “stickers”. A “boomer” is a person who does what he does for greed. A “sticker” is a person who finds something they have a passion for.

As I was reading Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic” I found myself agreeing with the philosophical definition of an ethic versus the ecological definition. I think I side with this definition solely due to how I became familiar with the word ethics. In my psychology class during high school my teacher would always ask, “What are the reasons this experiment is ethical?” and I always used the philosophical definition to answer the question. The section, “The Community Concept”, reminds me of the galleries created by Burtynsky and Jordan because it relates to the aspect that humans need to work harder together to protect the environment.
Wendell Berry’s, “It All Turns on Affection”, showed me the meaning of “boomers” and “stickers”, and that these are the only types of people. There are the people who do not wish to work hard, are greedy, and must find their wealth from somewhere else, while there are also the other type of people who are motivated by endearment and are more conservative. This lecture also let me visualize the verb “to imagine” in a clearer sense. Berry describes it to be synonymous with “to see” which is very understandable. In my view, which is quite similar to Berry’s one should be able to visualize something in great detail, such as color and depth, in order to “imagine”.
Dave Bodger

As I read Leopold's writing "The Land Ethic" I found it very upsetting to read about how the god-like Odysseus would hang women when he found no more use for them. In contrast, I also found it very intriguing the way the author compared Odysseus's disregard towards women to our disregard towards trash and waste. We tend to look past how we are hurting the earth around us as long as we are pleased. He often refers to how we don't respect the land, which in fact is true. If we respected our land would we liter and waste so much? I think we all need to take a step back and realize we don't necessarily need everything we have. I also think it's very sad that we as a country wait until an animal is about to go extinct before we put any sort of regulation on hunting it. Our wildlife is a beautiful part of our world and it seems as if we are just taking advantage of what we have instead of honoring and enjoying it. Instead of looking at every thing as conveniences maybe we should think of ways to conserve what we do have before it's too late.

Wendell Berry's lecture was very insightful. He explained how his family really loved and respected their land and are there more for then just making a profit. He goes on to talk about the two different kinds of people in the world. The first is the stickers. The stickers are those who will stay with what they are doing even when the going gets tough. They have a real passion for what they are doing and are not their just to make money. The stickers are the kind of people that will lend a helping hand and be there when they are needed. In the reading Wendell gave his grandfather this title. On the other hand he discusses the boomers, the boomers are those in the industry. They are the people that want all the money and power in the world. They boomers have little respect for the land and do not appreciate what they really have. The stickers are the sort of people who will do what they have to in order to get what they want and will do anything to do so. I admire Wendell Berry's passion and the way he expressed how he feels. I hope that more people can see what he sees and respect the land we have before it is too late.

From reading these two articles, I feel like my views upon nature and life itself has enhanced in many ways. The Aldo Leopold article showed me that the importance in the land itself and conserving it and learning how to conserve is a major factor in leading to a better future. How I think about a single tree will not ever be the same anymore. A tree is more than a tree. It is life, beauty, knowledge, and even consequence. Also, how Aldo relates to the food chain and how everything is connected makes perfect sense. Reason why is if one whole part of the chain were to disappear or be used up then there would not be anything to replace it. What is lost is lost in turn leading to the loss of other food sources for other. This brings me to my reading of Wendell because he portrays a major idea about affection. I believe a lot of what he says about how affection is the key to leading us away from our own destruction. For example, when our car, shoes, clothing or something valuable to us is dirty then our natural reaction is to clean it because of our relationship and affection with it. I can now begin to see the beauty and learn to have affection for the land that I live on now due to the fact that it is what allows me to grow out of my limited mind. By using imagination as not a mere “dream” but a reality and something that can inspire and be the driving force to be able to take a moment and cherish the land that I use and not waste it will be one step to changing the world.

By reading these two readings, I found that both authors ( Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry) had a bittersweet understanding to the land. With Leopold, he gave off the air as though he saw bad in everything that had to do with the land that we live on. He described and used the story of Odysseus to his advantage to explain land over the years and ethics of the use of nature around us. Leopold explained clearly that we cannot all live by the "Golden Rule". We face problems in the world battling society and or individualistic views, and Leopold is saying that we can't distinguish between what is important to the land and what is worthless. Every citizen should be accountable of their land. Leopold gave a new look on land usage, too: 'we must obey laws, vote respectably, and be active, and of course the government will help with the rest'. I found this statement intriguing because the amount of the governments involvement is municipal compared to what farmers and appreciative citizens do. Yes, the government helps with preventing deforesting, but it is too late for that. They should focus on planting new trees. Although Leopold held strong to ethics there was more to look at with Berry's writing.
With Berry, he viewed nature as peaceful and more directly related to his previous experiences. He personally valued Earth because his family influenced him to. The whole idea on "stickers" and "boomers" fascinated me. Berry was able to categorize how people lived with two simple terms, which connected to me as the reader. I realized that I am a sticker because ultimately, who needs to make money when they are happy with a lower paying job? I believe that there is some truth to what these two authors are saying. Ignorance is not blissful anymore because we are harming our environment and we should be able to control ourselves, but it might be too late. The only measure we can take as humans is to not lose our hope, but use it as a tool to change.

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This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on September 5, 2013 11:14 AM.

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