Land Ethic (Part 1)

As I was reading Aldo Leopold‘s essay, The Land Ethic, this sentence caught my attention: “… a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.”

As I was reading Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation, I could not stop figuring what his belief was. Was he a Christian? Did he actually have any religious belief at all? He mentioned Abraham, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, but I wasn’t sure. The only thing I was sure from what he wrote was that he was a simple man with a passion for nature. And he’s a great writer.

Going back to the sentence above, I asked, Should we be plain members and citizen of the land-community? I believe Leopold couldn’t really mean that. For if we become plain members, who will take the responsibility to preserve and conserve nature? But then another question appears: Wouldn’t ecology continue to function normally were men taken out of it? I realise we often hear such statements as: Men are not necessary for the ecosystem to function; if there were no men on earth, the earth goes on. It would be even better for the earth and all the living things that live on it. But is this true? Doubtless, there is some truth in that statement. Firstly, men are not necessary since God is able to take care of His creation without men’s help. Secondly, the presence of men on earth has indeed brought more misery than hope.

I believe it is more in relation to the second truth that the statement was sounded. The earth would be better off were there be no men on it, since their presence has only brought destruction to it. However, we would not be hearing such statements if man had been carrying out his God-given mandate responsibly, the mandate to rule over the earth, to work, and to keep it, as an expression of worship to Him.


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