UU World Magazine Spring 2006, published by the Unitarian Universalist Association
Environment, Environmental Justice, Nature
All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise that individuals are members of a community of interdependent parts. Their instincts prompt them to compete for their places in that community, but their ethics prompt them also to cooperate. . . . The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. . . . A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.
Adapted from “The Land Ethic” in A Sand County Almanac (1949). This passage has been modified to employ gender-neutral language.
Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) was a conservationist, ecologist, and educator and is regarded as one of the key figures in the history of American environmentalism. His book, A Sand County Almanac (1949), is an environmental classic.