Aldo Leopold

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"We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, or otherwise have faith in" (Erdmann Paragraph 5), one of the most renowned fathers of wildlife ecology, Aldo Leopold, so famously declared in his important non-fiction book, A Sand County Almanac. From his extensive studies of the environment, Leopold created the idea of the “land ethic”, which called for citizens of the global community to include the “land” with its soil, plants, animals and waters as part of the ecological community worthy of the respect and moral consideration of humans. Leopold stressed the importance of breaking the previously impenetrable barrier between man and nature by including the land as part of the community, and by developing an ethical relation and spiritual connection to the land because the land is as much part of the cycle of life and a part of the community as humans are. Leopold’s ecological interpretation of the relationship between humans and nature have caused him to convince many have the immense value and beauty of nature, and the importance of the preservation of wilderness.

One of Leopold’s most important contributions to the conservation movement was the development of the concept of the “land ethic” which must first be defined in order to understand Leopold’s basic argument in favor of protecting the wilderness and nature. One of the first premises of this concept is the presumption that humans are co-members of the global community instead of conquerors of the different members of the community. According to Leopold, “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals…” (Leopold 129) and thus, as

co-members of this community, we should respect all other constituents of the community as we would respect other members of the human race. Thus, to Leopold, fostering this “land ethic” means changing our “loyalties, affections, and convictions” (Leopold 129) to include the...
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