Leopold Land Ethic and Education

In Leopold’s land ethic, he argues that the basic principle of the land ethic is, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” He also describes that, “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land….land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”

I think Leopold’s most interesting point that I wanted to talk about this time came from the conclusion where he discussed how, “Perhaps the most serious obstacle impeding the evolution of a land ethic is the fact that our educational and economic system is headed away from, rather than toward, an intense consciousness of land.” That caught my attention and got me thinking about how I can’t remember in my own education if I ever had a course that talked about environmental issues (except this one of course). This course wasn’t mandatory and was chosen by us; so how could we be educated about these issues? Some states have started the “Education and Environment Initiative (EEI)” for K-12, but it seems to be an early program. So if our education (and economics) aren’t aware of this idea of land ethic, than I can see why this would be an issue.


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