Argument on the land ethic

Is a seasonal pond, or the underside of a fallen log, or a compost heap a biotic community? How does he argue for it? Those are true statements. At its core, the idea of a land ethic is simply caring: about people, about land, and about strengthening the relationships between them.

We may even destroy ourselves. Thus, it was short-sighted, even on purely economic grounds, to exterminate them.

Aldo leopold believes that we owe nature

In this view biodiversity and terrestrial carbon storage - an element of climate change mitigation - are global public goods. The Industrial Revolution and World Wars brought humanity into the modern era. Those are true statements. He understood, from bitter experience, how humans could fail nature. In fact, a common argument in favor of industrial agriculture is that it is a good practice because it increases the benefits for humans; benefits such as food abundance and a drop in food prices. At its core, the idea of a land ethic is simply caring: about people, about land, and about strengthening the relationships between them. So what exactly is the logical or evidentiary connection between the scientific facts Leopold cites and the normative conclusions he draws from them? This argument fails for two major reasons. Beyond this, scholars disagree about the extent to which Leopold rejected traditional human-centered approaches to the environment and how literally he intended his basic moral maxim to be applied. Why should we accept it as applied to nature? For example, in , Garrett Hardin applied this philosophy to land issues when he argued that the only solution to the " Tragedy of the Commons " was to place soil and water resources into the hands of private citizens. If so, what is the relationship between the outer and inner spheres of this expanding circle of moral concern?

How do we make the land ethic a reality? If philosophical arguments aren't sufficient grounds for a land ethic, there are practical arguments too4.

land pyramid

It is the third step in a sequence. Some ecocentrists agree, but most embrace more moderate views. There is no point-by-point instruction set handed down by a higher authority.

The land ethic pdf

Modern ecology has shown that randomness, disturbance, and change, not stability, is the norm in most natural ecosystems. Other critics object to Leopold's ecological holism. Has this process of ethical extension stopped, or will it proceed further? Does it mean that the stability, integrity and beauty of the biosphere is the sole criterion on morality? Since we only see the cause and effect of our actions in hindsight, we cannot know with confidence that the actions we take toward the land today will turn out to be ethically right or wrong. The Land Ethic Revisited In his essay "The Land Ethic", naturalist and conservationist Aldo Leopold1 argued that American, if not global, society needed further ethical development to account for human treatment of land. A well-known libertarian theorist is John Hospers.

Why should we place such high value on current ecological balances? For example, when the US Forest Service was founded by Gifford Pinchotthe prevailing ethos was economic and utilitarian. He understood, from bitter experience, how humans could fail nature.

Argument on the land ethic

Does the land ethic place too much value on the good of species or of whole ecosystems and too little on the welfare of individual organisms? Forests also act as sinks for CO2 produced by our burning of fossil fuels5. A land ethic is a moral code of conduct that grows out of these interconnected caring relationships. As we saw, Leopold seeks to provide a substantially scientific foundation for his holistic ethic. Baird Callicott, ed. However, to expect the government to solve the problem with a few parks ignores the responsibility of individuals to be involved in the preservation of the land and its ecosystems. In nature, the "stability and integrity" of ecosystems are disrupted or destroyed all the time by drought, fire, storms, pests, newly invasive predators, etc. Eventually, they restored a patchwork of pines, hardwoods and prairie that survives today. And that was what Leopold wanted: not to give us easy answers or tell us what to do, but to inspire generations of conservationists to think deeply about our relationship with the land. That responsibility can come from an ethic that says that land, like humans and like animals, is not something inevitably to be owned and to be disposed of at its owner's whim. If philosophical arguments aren't sufficient grounds for a land ethic, there are practical arguments too4. Would it, for example, allow for construction of a new soccer stadium in a drained wetland, or a brick patio in my backyard?

Does this require constant and excessive human intervention in nature?

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Can Aldo Leopold’s land ethic tackle our toughest problems?