Environment 2000

A Sand County Almanac

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Summary

The author, Aldo Leopold was “…one of the most influential American preservationists of the first half of the twentieth century.” He became very worries about the wilderness, because lots of commercial activities were happening, and he saw that it was taking a toll on the land. Leopold talks about hunting wolves, as one of the commercial activities. He explains how the wolves are such an important part of the wilderness, more specifically in the mountain regions. These top predators hunt deer and other animals for food source, which in return naturally manages the deer population. They are a keystone species, therefore without wolves, the wilderness in the mountain region would not be healthy and major changes would happen in the diversity of the wildlife. The author realized this after his past experiences of killing wolves himself. Later on in his text, he says that there is no ethic that binds humans to land, animals and plants because humans see these things as economic resources. He suggest having a “land ethic” which would make humans include the land, animals and plants as another important part of their life, not just an economic opportunity. He understands the economic standpoint will determine how far and how much we can protect, but he does know a social change is much needed.

 

Question : What is the basic lesson of Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain”?

The basic lesson of Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain” is to start seeing the land as our ancestors did before. He mentions that today, our educational and economics system is not going in the right direction, which would be towards a way of thinking that implies a conservation and consciousness towards the land. Instead of having an educational and economic system that can repair and restore our crops, wilderness, forest, and all our land, our system is corrupted with physical materials and concrete jungles that keep getting bigger and bigger. The author also mentions how the “modern man” has outgrown his land, meaning original natural products do not suit him anymore. Leopold wants us to use his land ethic which simply means to incorporate soils, water, plants, and animals to our communitie. Living together with the land.

 

Resources :
ALDO LEOPOLD, from A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1977);T. A. Easton (Ed.), Classic Edition Sources: Environmental studies (4th ed., pp. 22-25). New York, NY: Mc Graw Hill
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