Argument on the Land Ethic & Tragedy of the Commons

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While Leopold discusses The Land Ethic as a community concept as if land is a living-breathing thing, one must remember the natural human behavior of selfishness. He mentioned the community concept of sounding simple when he states “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” (2) He continues “This sounds simple: do we not already sing out love for and the obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love?” (2) While we do not love the “actual land or soil”, we love the values of our country, the United States of America.

In The Land Ethic, Leopold attempts to explain why people are so selfish in the use of their land. Throughout history, people have been ruthlessly fighting each other for control of the most land possible, including forests, beaches, plains, fields, mountains and so on. But what for? Certainly not to help make use of it to serve the community, or the greater good or the future for that matter. Instead, it is essentially squeezed for all its worth, by people who are only interested in fossil fuels and depleting resources among other things, all without regard to harming the environment, all in the name of big business. To combat the self centered needs of individuals and corporations alike, we must not forget that the government provides subsidies and regulations on land use. Leopold continues “when a private landowner is asked to perform some unprofitable act for the good of the community, he only assents with an outstretched palm.” (7)

He concludes that an economically self-interest society is lopsided and when relegated to government it becomes too complex. He feels that private owners need to be ethically logical to the land.

In The Tragedy of the Commons, Hardin talks about the consequences of our selfish nature and attempts to find a technical solution to the land ethnic....
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