The Land Ethic

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” (Leopold 1949)

I think this is the easiest way to define conservation. Someone who is conservative has a more traditional way of thinking. They think more about how things they do will effect the earth and their surroundings. I think people in other countries practice this tradition more than we do in the United States. In India, for example, they find cows sacred and they do not build on the land that cows live on. Another example includes the people that live in Italy. Most people who live in Italy value a more all natural diet. They grow most of their own foods and would rather preserve the land and use it as a natural resource, rather than build on it and use it for profit. Sardinia Italy is actually a blue zone. A blue zone is an area where because of their lifestyle, the citizens live the longest. I think this speaks volumes. If we all start think about how we should live with the land instead of just on it, we will all live happier and longer lives.


Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy. Photo by A. Radaszewski


“When one of these non-economic categories is threatened, and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to give it economic importance.” (Leopold 1949)

In this part of the excerpt, Leopold was talking about saving birds and how ornithologists would jump to save some distinct bird using ‘shaky’ evidence, suggesting that insects and bugs would eat us alive if we did not save this one specific bird. I did have to look up what ‘subterfuges’ meant, and I found that it means using deceit in order to achieve one’s goal. Essential, he says that we will do anything we can to save something if we love it, even if it has no specific value. I think everything put on this earth has a value. Even the things that may only have a negative value, I think those things exists to teach us lessons. Things that may not have ‘non-economic value’ still have other significant values that I think we should recognize.


Temple of Poseidon, Sounion Greece. Photo by A. Radaszewski


“Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.” (Leopold 1949)

Even if you are not a ‘tree hugger’ and you don’t eat all organic foods, this is something that everyone should at least understand. We all live on this earth, and as humans we should at least respect all that it gives us. ‘Treating others how you want to be treated’ this is considered the golden rule as it should be. This should be no different when it comes to the earth and our land. We should not just tear up harmless land to make a profit. Unfortunately, in today’s society, money is the only thing we stress about. It is important that we understand that land is so much more than just grass and trees. Those trees provide us with oxygen and without them we wouldn’t even be able to li eon this earth.


Nature trail in Huntley, Illinois. Photo by A. Radaszewski


Leopold, A. (1949) Excerpt from A Sand County Almanac. In University Colloquium: A sustainable Future (pp. 58-77). Acton, MA: XanEdu Publishing

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