Land Ethic

I found this article taped into one of my grandmother's favorite books written by Aldo Leopold and titled A Sand Country. My grandmother was quite a bit of a conservationist before it was popular and who owned and kept her family farm thru many obstacles including two world wars, the depression and many other hard to believe events. She was a tough lady which I think most ladies of the time were. They were a totally different tough than the modern woman. They could survive and make do; there was no one else to blame, there was no help available and you took care of yourself and your family. Church was a big part of Grandmas life style which was to survive and be independent. She was very good with a switch and a "scatter" gun. She was orphaned at a very early age and her father gave her this farm in N. MO which she dearly loved. She loved the land and I am sure she was a big influence in my life. So here is the article written by Leonard Hall from 1950 and it is quoted directly from the newspaper article taped to her book.

Land managers, of both tame and wild lands, suffer most from the outworn concept that land is a personal commodity to be exploited at will.  And in the end, true conservation is impossible without the development of a "land ethic" now almost non-existent. Man must learn that he is not the conqueror of the land community, but merely a citizen of it.  How can he do this, when even his teachers have not yet learned what "land" is? It is the sum total of soil, water, air, sun and all the wild or domestic fauna and flora found within a given land community.

It is energy flowing upward through the land pyramid; with sun as the motive force, soil and water ads the base, and plants and animals as the complex ascending layers.  When we have learned what land is, says Leopold, and have developed a cooperative and ethical attitude toward it, Conservation will become possible, but hardly before this.

Sixty Six years after the above was written I read articles on the miracles of bees their lost habitat and the incredible good works that worms are always doing and how economists are predicting that the next wars will be about clean water I am shocked. We really have not come that far. I tell clients to buy dirt and especially land with clean water.