The Fight for the Preservation of my Backyard 1

The Fight for the Preservation of my Backyard
Ariana Oakeson

Salt Lake Community College

Conservation Biology 1120

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Homo sapiens wish to take ownership of the land and conquer it. Where in truth we are

more so one species of a vast community trying to compete for our own piece of it. Through the

development of technology the competition of land dominance has become nil. The fight is no

longer a true competition for the land and animals. Land should not be a matter for the humans to

buy, sell, and trade in an economic ethical purpose only, but rather what would be best ethically

correct to continue the required maintenance of our environment.

The struggle of educating the public has become a never ending battle. If a social

expectation could be established to do with your land as what is most beneficial to

yourself/family and the government will assist in the maintenance of your land for the future of

our generations to enjoy and partake of as well, then there might be a chance for change. The

average population certainly has the same general mindsight: do as we wish with the land and

use it as we please, because there are no consequences and nature will correct any wrong doing.

With this same mindsight of people continuing on a daily basis our lands will not continue to be

as they were 200 years ago, 100 years ago, or even almost 65 years ago when this very article

was published. Through these thoughts alone the next generations are being raised to be less and

less conscious of the misuse of the land and its values.

Obligations to take care of the earth and the earth in return will provide for you is falling

short. It is truly shameful how some individuals treat our land today, and sadly enough those

people who do not respect the land and its values is still a respected and valued member of the

community. There is yet to be enough social discord to those who misuse the land. Opportunities

have been given to maintain lands with assistance, free of charge, but many only seek to do that
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which is immediately profitable to themselves. Until recently communities have taken much of

the land for granted and not seen the value of different species. Some have sought the

extermination of specific species for their own special interests and personal gains.

My personal conservation philosophy is that the land is very important for us. Sadly the

world that we currently live in believes that it is more for economic gain rather than an ethical

use and maintenance of our land. We have taken many species for granted and used them for the

wrong purposes. Homo sapiens almost feel like a plague, because everywhere we go we have

deforestation, beloved animals going on the endangered species list, and land being traumatized

for the development of our economic species.

When I was a child I never really thought of the land around me and how to preserve it. I

knew I didn’t like spiders so I would step on them anytime I would see them. I didn’t understand

the role a spider plays in our biotic community, in which a spider makes a web as it’s home and

in-turn the web catches flies or others that get caught in it and the spider then uses that individual

for food. Since I was a child I have grown to understand that every species plays an important

role in our world. The spiders help maintain the population of flies which I equally do not like.

Through the development of my relationship with the world I have come to learn how we

maintain it, preserve it, and equally destroy it. I want my children, their children, and so on to be

able to experience this beautiful world that we live in. I want them to be able to see all of these

species that are currently endangered such as many species of elephants which I personally have

loved since 3rd grade.

My husband and his family love to go hunting every year. We have to put our names into

a drawing every year and hope that we get drawn so that we will have tag to hunt a deer. Now

this may simply be a tradition for my family but we still follow the law, even though we only get
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a deer about once every 15 years. Humans that simply care for themselves and conquering every

footprint they make don’t care about getting a tag to hunt a deer, or where they hunt a deer, or if

the deer is a doe or a buck, they simply care about showing off and doing as they please with no

regard to the community. We need to understand our place in the environment and that many

creatures are dangerous even with our current technology. I understand in paying respect to the

environment and thanking it for providing for us to live and maintain living.

Our generations are getting worse, in over 80 years since Leopold addressed obligations

had turned into privileges, it has since transformed into rights. This current generation that’s

becoming adults all believe that they have a right to every little thing. The land-relation now is

even more economic. The price on land is rising everyday as humans try to each pin down a

piece of it to claim their ownership. Value on our biotic communities are becoming less every

year. Privileges have blended into rights, establishing that only economics in this world have

merit, and the land will only continue to be destroyed by humans that believe in conquering is

more important than preserving.

I would think that with the Land Ethic extending its sensibilities, everyone would be

more conscious to the preservation of our animals, lands, and waters. With reflection the Land

Ethic has yet to penetrate many communities. The Duckbill an iconic rock formation in Oregon

was just this last September destroyed due to a group of vandals who went and pushed it over for

what they believed them doing the world Oregon a favor. This incident alone shows that people

have not become sensitive to our world and their treatment of it but rather they’re lacking the

respect for the world and are insensitive of their treatment. Even more disappointing is the lack

of laws and restraints for destruction of our public land and monuments. I don’t understand
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Leopold’s point on that the land ethic would influence non-humans sensibilities, since they are

simply doing their best and following nature's course and don’t have any control over humans.

I do agree with Leopold when he notes that things are best to be maintained as they are

and it is wrong when it does otherwise. I don’t believe that Leopold was suggesting that the

integrity of the biotic community is more important than its individual members, because the

individual members create the biotic community and without that established then the

community as a whole could be thrown out of balance and then there would be nothing to

preserve. Each member of the community is valuable, some more so than others. These

implications show that the preservation of such communities is key and without these

communities he notes in his article that many different factors about an environment can be

compromised. The community is more than just plants, or animals. Without all aspects of a

community other parts of the community can then become damaged, such as the fertility of soil.

The motivation for maintaining and preserving our lands is not ethics or beauty but rather

both. I can’t admit an ethical responsibility without noticing the beauty I wish to preserve.

Regarding my beliefs with Leopold’s I understand that he felt the same way. When he held a

standard to maintain an ethical relationship he in turn felt “love, respect, admiration, and high

regard for it’s value.” I don’t believe that anyone could begin to have a coexisting and respectful

relationship with our land without noticing its beauty as they began to take care of it.

I believe that my land ethic is composed of non-human elements. When humans take the

time to go on a hike or spend some time in nature rather than a city with all of our man-made

objects and the oppression of nature, they begin to see the value in the serenity. Land is more

than us humans, and the hustle of life. Sometimes we just need to take sometime, slow down,
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and appreciate the world that hasn’t been completely ravished by humans. Listen to the birds,

feel the warm sun, and breathe in that fresh air.

In all honesty the land ethic is both useful and nonuseful. It is somewhat of a difficult

read in places, especially the beginning which I didn’t understand as a basis of establishing the

topic, by using Odysseus, but aside from that it is a useful read. It establishes that the world is

going in the wrong direction for preserving our lands for upcoming generations. Knowing that

Leopold had this published in 1949, sets a fantastic backbone for the integrity of his work, and

the lack of progress that has been made in almost 65 years.

It was a useful exercise to see different views than just my own and I learned some new

things that I hadn’t known before, such as “larger predators are lopped off the apex of the

pyramid; food chains, for the first time in history, become shorter rather than longer.” Previously

I hadn’t really thought of it in that view of the larger predators (primarily humans) are now

removed from the food chain.

The reading did change my opinion a little bit in the terms that we seek for a solution

such as what they tried with the farmers in Wisconsin. We seek a solution like they tried with the

farmers, we hope that if the government holds their hand then maybe we could finally get

somewhere and maintain some order. I see now that such an easy civilized solution may never be

possible. Sometimes people just need to be told exactly what to do regardless of their feeling or

opinions. That may be the only solution, but at the same time I don’t see true success on the

horizon with that option, because there will never be true change unless they choose to change

for themselves.

My opinion of preserving our lands as they are for future generations still stands in

agreement with Leopold that “It is inconceivable to me that an ethical relationship [with land]
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can exist without love, respect, admiration, and a high regard for its value.” It will be a long hard

fight for our lands and their preservation especially with the regards the current generation has

for its wellbeing. Hopefully there will be something to preserve when the general populous

concludes the importance of all environments within our world.