Land Ethics- An Idea of the Past or a Solution for the Future?

Yvette, as many of you know by know, is interning with us. This is her second post (catch up with the first). Read it and grace her with some of your expertise and ideas in the comments.

With every year that passes it seems like more rich farmland is being converted into sprawling residential developments forcing food to travel farther and farther to our dinner plates and as a result increasing the carbon footprint. When you live in the suburbs you are almost as likely to see deer, skunks, and possums on the road as you are other drivers because their habitat is slowly disappearing. There are millions of car dependent communities across the country and with this dependency comes wider roads and highways along with massive parking lots significantly reducing groundwater recharge. Where are our land ethics?

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As children we are taught about the ethical treatment of human beings but what abut the ethical treatment of land? We are dependent upon land resources for survival yet as a society we have lack an appreciation and admiration for it.

Aldo Leopold championed the idea of land ethics. Land ethics is a perspective of ecological planning. It is a way to view man in relation to the environment. Land ethics should hold a particular standard which maintains the beauty, and high standards of environmental consciousness because it is immoral to set inferior criterion.

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Our minimal value of land is largely due to the fact that man views himself as separate from nature. He sees himself as an all-powerful being with no relation or dependence on the world around him or her.


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A large part of our disconnection from nature is that we spend so little time in our natural environment. We spend 90% of our day indoors away from grass, trees, flowers, animals, and all the other pleasant amenities nature has to offer. Our water is piped though the walls and seems to almost magically appear on demand. We can call on any natural amenity with such ease and as a result we forget that water actually came from a natural resource. When we are hungry we do not need to pick tomatoes or butcher a cow, we simply have to enter a supermarket that will supply us with endless options of food to satisfy our nourishment or indulgence.

If man begins to immerse him or herself with nature we will begin to reconnect with our environment. Reconnecting with nature by growing your own vegetables or even taking a few moments out of the day to appreciate natural beauty will help to create a lifelong relationship filled with love, admiration, and respect.

The clock is ticking and with every passing day we become more entrenched in global warming. The sea levels are rising as our quality of living is lowering. Could land ethics lead to the solution of our environmental worries? Is the issue of land ethics even a reality or was Aldo Leopold off base? Do you feel connected with nature? Do you feel you or those around you appreciate land and treat it with respect?

Please comment, I would love to hear what you think!