Summary of “The Land Ethic”
Humans and nature have always had an active relationship since creation. According to Aldo Leopold, this relationship has not been right since it has always made man appear to be the superior member; above land, water, and soil. In his view, humans should look at nature as part of the members of a community hence treating them with much respect. Leopold believes that humans have the sole responsibility of ensuring that the ecological system is protected to give opportunity for the future generations to enjoy a healthy life.
The Land Ethic has for the longest time been ignored by humans. It is clearly evident that humans have not in any way loved land, which is made up of water, soil, plants, and animals. This is due to their attitude towards nature. For instance, they believe that soil should be left to be washed down the rivers while water should continue to carry sewers. On the other hand, animal species are killed while plants are not given the opportunity to flourish. Land ethics promotes the fact that the Homo sapiens should not in any way be considered a conqueror but a citizen together with land, animals and the soil. The attitude of conquering the land and not having it as an equal shareholder in the community has had its adverse effects on the ecosystem. For example, the Mississippi Valley was subjected too much pressure due to its fight for control by the Native Indians, the English, French as well as the Americans. This not only had an effect that caused an overflow of people, but it also led to plant and animal extinction.
Over the years, conservation has been considered as an option for restoring the beauty of land. However, conservation, which is a state of harmony for plants and animals, has not been achieved yet. Conservation education has been a consideration for promoting this harmony but has raised more questions than answers. Apparently, this type of education appears ineffective and unsubstantial. It is unfortunate to note that other projects such as the improvement of roads and schools have been placed as a priority while the betterment of nature remains less of a priority. Farmers have all along not been educated enough to take good care of the natural resources. Grass has been cleared for the purpose of feeding cows while chemicals have been used on plants increasing the amount of lime on the soil. For change to exist there must be an internal transformation of individuals. The fact that philosophy as well as religion has not heard anything to do with nature is a sure proof that the conservation of nature has not been considered important in the present society.
The major hindrance towards the conservation of land is the fact that everything has been viewed in terms of its economic value. For instance, the songbirds and wildflowers have been subjected to economic value rather than to conservation. The two members of the biotic community have been put under the Homo sapiens as their conqueror. The lack of economic value forms part of nature for the communities in the biotic systems. Members such as the deserts, mashes and dunes lack any monetary value to the human community hence subjected to extinction. The American government has had difficulty in having control of such communities since most of them are in privately owned lands. However, the government continues to carry out its duties such as fish and wildlife conservancy, management of water and soil together with the migration of birds and animals. For success in conservation, individuals must embrace the right attitude. With or without any economic value, conservancy must be embraced broadly both by the government and the private land owners. An effective conservation system must be based on the ethic obligation of every individual.
The high regard for land is one of the main factors that will promote its conservancy. Maintaining love, respect as well as admiration for nature is more valuable than any amount of money. Evidently, the kind of education offered and the economic system today offer little regard to land. This forms part of the huge hindrances towards land ethics. Today, man has no particular consciousness for land. Land is considered as the distance between two buildings or an area where crops are grown. Any spotted free land is taken away for golf links or for scenery developments.
Various steps can be taken towards the conservation of land ethics. First, the attitude of the farmer towards land must be changed. A farmer should think of land as a citizen in the biotic community other than a lesser member. In addition, the modern trends that seem to be taking root in the society towards land must be avoided. A clear understanding of ecology through ecological training should be embraced. Land ethic is both emotional and intellectual. Right decisions must be made and implemented to maintain the value of land. Finally, there is need for objectivity and sanity in dealing with land to ensure that the future generations enjoy its beauty.