While wading through the reserved reading in the library, I came across the article, "The Land Ethic", which caught my eye, as well as sparked an interest deep within me. It revealed the idea that we, as humans, tend to be quite caught up in the idea of community; community between neighbors, co-workers, etc. seems to be something we strive for in our society. It seems that we have not integrated the land into our idea of community, and I feel that this is a serious problem that if not treated, will continue to grow and strive until the land turns into the "dead nothing" many people of today's society feel it to be. I had been put face to face with the fact that I was one of those careless and self-involved members of our race. Having never thought of the concept of "land ethics", I realized that it is very likely that many other people have yet to know of it either. This is a present conservation problem which worries me more than I have ever thought a simple article could be able to do to me.
As the author of this revelation piece, Aldo Leopold (1966), stated in his article, that we need to change our "human role from conqueror, to a member of the land community". This is vital for the future existence of an Earth that is habitable and non-toxic. Many people claim that they have ethics in their work place, or in general life practices. I have yet, however, had the pleasure of seeing many people proclaiming their ethics about the treatment of this planet. I have yet to see a serious and unwavering campaign to stop placing ourselves so high up the evolutionary ladder that the fate of the world we live in, will eventually crumble, as will our race and every other animal along with us.
Michael Soule stated in his article, "What is Conservation Biology"(1985), that we cannot change the past, but we can modify the rate at which our land and species are being destroyed. Although in recent years, we have seen more legal responses toward conservation issues, such as establishments of national parks, our attempts are not being fully developed due to the lack of education. Although there is some level of awareness of the vandalism we are acting out onto our earth, there is less being said to members of our society on what they can do to reverse, change, or slow down the process of destruction. How can this be changed? This issue needs a bigger voice in today's media. It is seen as something that, if we forget, may go away. This is simply causing the situation to worsen. The longer it takes for society to accept the land as part of their community, the longer the land will be destroyed, and the more difficult it will be to heal.
As each generation passes, our technology and research continues to grow, and find more problems facing our land; things are not getting any better as time moves on. A possible addition to the small amount of education currently being done in this country, is the teaching of basic conservation science classes in elementary school; maybe if we start now, their generation will be brought up to mother the earth that has nurtured them. Other helpful additions include the passing of new city ordinances which would make it mandatory that businesses recycle, and teaching farmers alternative ways to take care of their crops, such as using bats instead of pesticides to keep insects off of their plants.
Each culture responds differently to the problems our world is facing. Each generation is hopefully one step closer to saving this planet. We, as the human race, need to adopt the idea of cooperating with our land, rather than competing in a free for all game of greed and ownership towards it (Leopold, 1966). More education, a louder and more permanent voice in the media, and more legal regulations will hopefully further our ability to right the wrongs that have been done to our earth. With time we may be able to save our planet and the animals which inhabit it, including ourselves.
- Leopold, Aldo. (1966). A Sand County Almanac. Ballantine Books.
- Soule, Michael. (1985). Bioscience. San Diego: Cambridge.