Aldo Leopold – On Conservation and Community

I am struck by the truth and wisdom of today’s quotes from Aldo Leopold, who is one of the fathers of Conservation. I hope you will read them closely, and think about them not just today, but all week.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” — Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

“Conservation means harmony between men and land. When land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land; when both end up better, by reason of their partnerships, we have conservation.” — Aldo Leopold, Round River

“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him also to cooperate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for). The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or, collectively, the land.” — Aldo Leopold, “The Land Ethic”

How do you think of the land around you? Do you assign its value by what it produces for humans? Doesn’t this land also provide habitat, food and water for all of God’s creatures? Humans need to stop thinking of the natural world as a commodity for only one species (them) and realize that it belongs jointly to all the species that occupy it, providing sustenance for everything.

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