Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic and the Great Lakes

Abstract

Using Aldo Leopold's essay The Land Ethic I argue that Leopold's land ethic provides a consistent and dynamic paradigm for how we perceive and protect the natural environment. The land ethic implies that people interested in conservation must develop an understanding of what is necessary for conservation through experience with nature. Experiencing nature allows us to enter into a relationship with the land and develop sound judgment in our ecological decision-making. Invasive species have become an area of concern for ecologists, industrialists and those who use the Great Lakes recreationally. In examining the cost of ecological damage to the Great Lakes ecosystem caused by the 140 species of invasive plants and animals now present in the lakes we are faced with many ethical questions. This essay attempts to understand the moral paradigm which is necessary to effectively manage the Great Lakes ecology in light of these questions

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Andy Sanford
Western Michigan University

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