“The Land Ethic”
I. Reflection Paper Due Date: See Assignment tool on Canvas. Please submit via Assignment Tool. This assignment must also be posted on your SLCC ePortfolio as a BS Gen Ed signature assignment – include a link to your e-portfolio in the “comment” box on the assignment tool. Be sure to include on your ePortfolia a separate short reflection about this assignment as it relates to General Education.
NOTE: This is NOT a writing class but it IS a college course. I expect you to use proper grammar and spelling as well as demonstrate that you can make and follow a coherent argument!
II. Reading Assignment:
The Land Ethic from “A Sand County Almanac, With Essays on Conservation from Round River” by Aldo Leopold, 1949
You can check this paperback out at almost any local library or find it at most used book stores. I have also provided a pdf. file under Module One.
III. Reflection Paper Requirements
The purpose of a reflection paper is to demonstrate what you have learned about principles (theories, concepts) of what you are read or viewed. A reflection paper has three elements. You might do well to think about these as roughly one page per element in your write-up. Write these as a coherent whole with appropriate transitions between elements!
Part I (min 1 page). A summary of The Land Ethic in your own words. This section should clearly demonstrate what you learned about the article. In the summary, you do not need to provide an exhaustive description – in fact, you won’t have the space to provide one! You will need to decide what the important points the author was making that are relevant to the important lesson(s) you learned. Those are the points that you will need to present. Present at two important points that the author made.
Part II (min 1 1/2-2 pages). Using paragraphs (2-3 sentences each), write a clear and concise response to the follow questions. DO NOT number these responses! Write them as a coherent commentary with appropriate transitions between answers!
1. How would you characterize your own conservation philosophy? How did you come to hold these beliefs?
2. Consider this statement: “A land ethic changes the role of humans from conqueror of the land community to plain members and citizens of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.” How would you apply this ethic in practice?
3. Leopold wrote in the 1940’s, “The land-relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obligations.” What would you say is our land-relation today?
4. Leopold says the land ethic is extending a community’s sensibilities to all members of the community, nonhuman as well as human. What would that mean in your life or community?
5. Do you agree with this passage from the “Land Ethic”: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Was Leopold suggesting that the integrity of the biotic community supersedes the concerns for its individual members? What are the implications of this concept for you?
6. In the “Land Ethic,” Leopold said, “It is inconceivable to me that an ethical relationship [with land] can exist without love, respect, admiration, and a high regard for its value.” Which is more motivating for you: beauty (aesthetics) or duty (ethics)?
7. In thinking about your “land ethic,” does it emanate primarily from self interest, or from a true interest in non-human elements?
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