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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Most people in these regular traditions understand that ethical communities foster cooperation and mutual benefit. Nearly everyone gains something from the community. In its simplest form, Leopold wants to expand communities outward. He wants to switch from a solely human centered ethic to an enlarged ethical community. He wants to expand the circle of ethics outwards until its edges encompass all of nature. The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed a similar idea: "The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end. The extent to which this generation of circles, wheel without wheel, will go, depends on the force or truth of the individual soul." (from the essay Circles) Like Emerson before him, Leopold was equating a wholly human ethic to a ring imperceptibly small. To enlarge and evolve this ethic we need to recognize that animals are part of this community. From there the circle can expand outwards even further to encompass trees, waterways, air, planets, and even space itself. There is no outer limit; there is only the limit which depends on the force or truth of the individual soul.proportionally. The Land Ethic We can be ethical only in relation tosomething we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in. A. Leopold Poll Assignment Our topic in this section is the Land Ethic of Aldo Leopold as expressed in his 1949 book A Sand CountyAlmanac. There is no true substitute for a full reading of this book reclined on pine-needles with head propped on a convenient log. But in the space of a short semesteronlinethis is not feasible. So we are reading a selection from Leopold, watching a Fierce Green Fire, and I will lay out the basics of the ethic in this infographic. But I would be remiss in my duties if I did not encourage you to read the whole book. It is compact and approachable. There are no theoretical hurdles to overcome before picking it up. It is short and convincing. Perhaps its greatest power is its wonderfully written and poignant presentation of placeSauk County, Wisconsin. In the pages you will begin to feel that very place in your own bones, feel what Leopold felt; and this will make his argument even stronger. This Section: I firmly accept that you learn best through immersion and through doing. And that will be your assignment. After your engagement with text, video, and lecture, I want you to do land ethics. It is important to learn about the theories of environmental ethics; but it is equally important to look outward at the world and see the difficulties and possibilities first hand. More about this at the end of the infographic. Begin Here Find Comfortable Log Get Book Read For Leopold, traditional ethics can only take the world so far. Whatever your ethical source: family tradition, utilitarian, deontological, religious, or humanistic, the environment is not fully integrated. Many people with these regular ethical traditions value the environment for its usefulness to humans. Some of them even love the environment for its beauty and inspiration. But they rarely include the environment in their community; only people are part of a community. These regular ethical traditions may value trees, land, and water. But they do not value them as they value a loved one or life-long neighbor. People Forests Waterways Use Manage Enjoy Relationship that Leopold critiques Air People Trees Animals Air Land These are not far-fetched ideals. In many ways we have already expanded our circles. We have given legal protections to animals, trees, waterways, and air. Many destructive practices are banned outright; and many others are constrained by cultural habits. Animal Welfare Act Clean Air Act Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Leopold wants more than legalistic protections. He wants you to recognize that trees, land, and waterways are so deeply intertwined with your life that hurting them equates with hurting yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors. The environment should not be protected only because it is useful to humans; it should be protected because it is important in itself as a part of an enlarged ethical community. Remember This... There are seemingly as many responses to the environment asthere are people. So this brings us to this weeks assignment. I want you to take the land ethic into the world. I want you to poll 3 to 5 people about their ethical relationship with the environment. Questions:1) Do we have an ethical relationship with the environment? If "Yes" Then: What is it? If "No" Then: Why not?...Record their responses to share with me andthe class as a whole. Polling Tips: -It is OK to say it is for a class...but leave it with that.-You want to encourage them to express their viewswithout influencing their answer (as much as possible). Created by:Dr. Michael E. Brady 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. A. Leopold
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