There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the esthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture. That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. Such a view of land and people is, of course, subject to the blurs and distortions of personal experience and personal bias. But wherever the truth may lie, this much is crystal-clear: our bigger-and-better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap. Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings. Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, tame, and confined in terms of things natural, wild, and free. Aldo Leopold 4 March 1948 Native American Seed Recommended Seven Story Sequence Knowing what happened in the past is essential to make meaningful, lasting changes to the future.
Read this series in order. Learn What has occurred over the course of human history that got us to where we are right now. Learn to better understand where we may be going from here. 1) 1491 2) Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America 3) One Vast Winters Count 4) The Worst Hard Time 5) Sand County Almanac 6) Ishmael 7) A Short History of Progress