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.