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Humans: The Conquerors of Land A Response to Aldo Leopolds The Land Ethic

Madeline Nilson

iolo!" ##$% &risten Ta"lor 'e(ruar" $$) #$#*

Humans: The Conquerers of Land After readin! Leopolds The Land Ethic) there +ere t+o concepts that struc, me the most- The t+o concepts +ere one: the ecolo!ical conscience of man,ind. and t+o: the su(stitutes used (" humans to a/oid li/in! (" solid land ethic !uidelinesThe first concept is the ecolo!ical conscience of man,ind and ho+ it impacts our /ie+s on conser/ation- 0 completel" a!ree +ith this idea discussed in The Land Ethic- As humans) +e tend to follo+ the mentalit" of doin! somethin! mostl" (ecause it +ill (e of (enefit to us- 0n our societ" toda") ecolo!ical ad/ancement is +hat +e (elie/e +ill (enefit us most in this lifeTa,e) for e1ample) farmin!- There +as an e1ample in the article a(out farmers in south+estern 2isconsin- 0n #344) the" +ere told that if the" +ould adopt a specific set of remedial practices for fi/e "ears time) that the pu(lic +ould pro/ide the CCC la(or required to install them) includin! machiner" and materials- A!reein!) the practices +ere e1tensi/el" for!otten (" the end of this fi/e5 "ear contract) the farmers continuin! onl" the practices that 6"ielded an immediate and /isi(le economic !ain- 'armin! is one of the main reasons +e use the land. raisin! crops) tendin! li/estoc,) etc-) and all of these are thin!s that +e need sur/i/e- 7ust li,e an" other animal) +e need the land to sur/i/e- 8o) +h" do +e treat it the +a" that +e do9 0f +e +ish to use the land for as lon! as possi(le) "ou +ould thin, that +e +ould (e more conser/ati/e and respectful in the +a" that +e use it- Leopold +rote) Conser/ation is a state of harmon" (et+een men and land) and 0 (elie/e that +e ha/e "et to reach that place-

The second concept is the idea that as humans) +e use su(stitutes to a/oid doin! the 6ri!ht thin!- 0n this case) the ri!ht thin! is in direct relation to respectfull") or ethicall") usin! the land- 0t is interestin! ho+ directl" this second concepts relates to the first- :ne of the main su(stitutes 0 (elie/e humans use) is the econom"- There is an e1ample of this in the article as +ell) a(out ho+ certain (irds +ere slo+l" disappearin!- The reason this +as thou!ht an issue +as the thin,in! that the insect population +ould (ecome pro(lematic for us if (irds failed to control their num(ers- The compellin! aspect of this is that no(od" +as necessaril" concerned until the information +as presented differentl") Leopold +ritin! that the e/idence had to (e economic in order to (e /alid- 2e could not li/e +ithout this land that +e inha(it. +e are part of the (iotic cloc,- Humans are manipulatin! the land to their (enefit- 2e are currentl" stuc, in the 6economic self5interest state of mind- 0n terms of (oth of these concepts) humans ha/e tried to ma,e conser/ation of the land easier (" simpl" /ie+in! it as inconsequential0n terms of m" o+n conser/ation philosoph") 0 (elie/e that althou!h +e ta,e little steps) there is much more that +e could (e doin!- 2e ha/e utili;ed the land !reatl" for oursel/es) and +e need to do a (etter <o( of ,eepin! it in tact- 0f +e continue to destro" the land li,e +e are) it +ill soon (ecome detrimental to us- 0n fact) +e can alread" see this happenin!- Choppin! do+n trees can increase the chance of land slides) or (e destro"in! a natural (arrier from other disasters such as floods- 2e cant fi1 +hat as quic,l" as +e destro") so +e need to increase our efforts- 0 ha/e come to m" (eliefs a(out land ethics throu!h multiple school courses o/er an e1tended period of time) ne+s reports) articles) and m" o+n research and opinions on +here +e li/e-

2e do) as humans) conquer- 2e ha/e alread" done so +ith the land +e li/e on- Humans are <ust a part of the (iotic cloc,) <ust li,e all of the other li/in! thin!s on the earth- 2e are <ust another animal- 2e need to (ecome more a mem(er of this communit") and not a conqueror- 2e need to (e more +illin!) and +or, harder) to !i/e (ac, +hat +e ta,e) conser/e +hat the land pro/ides) and do +hat +e can to help the land re/i/e:ur land relation toda" is /er" economic- 2e use it to our (enefit) and onl" do +hat +e have to do to ,eep it thri/in! for our specific needs- 2e ha/e (e!un to form a land ethic) (ut it is not a stron! one) as it is (ased mostl" on o(li!ation and selfishness- 0t should (e considered a pri/ile!e to li/e on and care for the land +e ha/eHumans are not the onl" mem(ers of the (iotic communit" that affect the land- A communit" includes the human and nonhuman ali,e- Animals) plants and humans all pla" a part in ,eepin! the en/ironment health"- 0n m" lifetime the more conscientious +e are of the land) the more it can (enefit us in the lon! run- 'or e1ample: ma,in! a compost pile) rec"clin!) reducin! +ater usa!e- 2e should ma,e a conscience choice to use rec"cla(le and rec"cled materials- 2hat +e do affects the land) the plants) and the animals- 2e alter the air qualit") dump to1ic su(stances) and litter the earth +ith all sorts or !ar(a!e- The plants and animals also affect the land- The food chain is in constant motion) controllin! populations- =ecomposition of plants and animals affect the soilThe condition of the land influences +hat +e can do +ith it- 0t is a (i! circle) and the entire communit" is in/ol/ed- There are ri!ht and +ron! decision to (e made (" e/er"one) and those decisions affect e/er"one in the circle0n terms of ri!ht and +ron! in the (iotic communit") Leopold (elie/es that if somethin! preser/es the inte!rit") sta(ilit" and (eaut" of the (iotic communit") then it

cannot (e +ron!- 0f it doesnt) ho+ can it (e ri!ht9 0 do (elie/e that if +e can use the land and not destro" its sta(ilit" and purpose) then +e ha/e utili;ed the land correctl"- Ho+e/er) 0 also (elie/e that man has ad/anced in man" +a"s- 2e ha/e (uilt incredi(le thin!s on this land- 2e ha/e created a (eautiful and structured +orldut) 0

also (elie/e that +e ha/e made some mista,es alon! the +a") and +e are still learnin! from them- Man ,ind no+ needs to (e more conscientious of +hat +e do +ith) and ho+ +e treat) the remainin! free lands of the +orldAlthou!h 0 appreciate the (eaut" of the land +e li/e on) 0 (elie/e that ethics comes (efore (eaut"- The earth is ama;in!) and there +ill al+a"s (e (eaut") particularl" if +e li/e (" a land ethic that +ill help preser/e some of the (eaut" that alread" e1ists in the land0 (elie/e m" land ethic stems from (oth personal interest and an interest in non5 human elements) +ith aesthetic and ethical reasons (ehind it- 0 (elie/e in respectin! and ta,in! care of +hat +e ha/e the pri/ile!e of usin!) and appreciate the (eaut" of +here +e li/e +ithout feelin! the necessit" to destro" it:/erall) 0 (elie/e that The Land Ethic is an interestin! read) and a /er" informati/e and e"e5openin! article- 0t did not necessaril" chan!e m" opinion as much as it did stren!then certain aspects) as +ell as add to m" ,no+led!e and opinion- 0 +ould recommend readin! it to an"one) as it is rele/ant to e/er"one- 0f "ou are ali/e) it is rele/ant to "ou- 0f more people read thin!s li,e this) 0 (elie/e that acquirin! a land ethic to li/e (" +ould (e more easil" attained- Education on the su(<ect of conser/ation is ,e") (ut so is actuall" taking action and doin! somethin! +ith +hat "ou ,no+-