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The Land Ethic: the Theme on Ownership, Stewardship and Realtionship with Land

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Within these essays, they have a comparison in the environmentalists in agriculture in their approach. In Aldo Leopold’s essay “The Land Ethic”, he outlines the principles of ethical relationships with the Earth. Leopold describes the necessity of changing the way humans think about the land as an economic benefit versus a necessity of community life. The solution to this problem is presented in the form of education in ecology and a new understanding of community ethics. As it is the development of modern environmental ethics and wilderness conservation. 

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The essay represents Leipold’s belief that preserving biodiversity would serve humans both economically and morally. Within Wendell Berry’s essay “The Unsettling of America”, he argues that successful agriculture is a religious and cultural development. Nevertheless, today’s agri-business takes agriculture out of its cultural context and away from families. Subsequently, we as a country are more disconnected from the land, from its intimate knowledge, care, and love. Both of these essays are approaching the ownership, stewardship, and relationship with land theme. As “The Land Ethic”, Aldo Leopold shows the relationship with land towards the environment communication in society. 

The theme is his argument on the ethical concern if it should be extended from human to human relationship to “man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which group upon it” (203). He says, “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soil, water, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land…. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land community to plain member and citizen of it” (204). Where the theme has its approach when Leopold argues the land ethic is a communication towards society’s environment, which can be seen as the relationship with the land. For “The Unsettling of America”, Wendell Berry approaches it more on the ownership but also the relationship with the land. Were it’s proceeded by the religious and cultural development of agriculture in society. 

As his theme is the argument between two tendencies in America, to conquer the mainland and its resources versus the tendency of the Native Americans to stay in place. Were “the Indians did, of course, experience movement of population, but in general their relation to place was based upon old usage an association, upon inherited memory, tradition, veneration. The land was their homeland.”(36). Sooner or later the ownership of the land has the communities of people or groups that become “redskins”. 

As Native Americans ownership of there land has been taken away, its also their relationship of there land too. Were their community is now called “Save”: Save Our Land, Save the Valley, Save Our Mountains, Save Our Streams, Save Our Farmland.” (37). Within the land, it creates a disconnection between there religious and cultural development from their relationship and ownership. This shows the theme of how the relationship between their land and their ownership has been taken advantage of agriculture in society. 

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