Summary Of Aldo Leopold's The Land Ethic

Journal Two: Leopold

Aldo Leopold’s The Land Ethic mainly focuses on the importance of developing a sort of ethic for interacting with the land or a symbiotic relationship with the land and the world around us. This piece touches on numerous aspects of our current relationship with the environment and what needs to be reformed and understood in order to improve this relationship. Although The Land Ethic was published in 1949, Leopold’s statements and evaluations made in this piece are still relevant today, and our lack of a positive land ethic as a society can even be observed at our own school, Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as in our course book, The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean.

As I noted, The Land Ethic focuses on the
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According to Leopold, a land ethic should “[change] the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it,” but FGCU is still playing the role of the conqueror in some ways, thus demonstrating that this school has not yet fully developed a good land ethic (60). For example, in order to build this school, numerous acres of land had to be leveled, thus destroying trees and habitats that had survived here for many years. In the video that was provided to us at the beginning of the semester about how FGCU found its “sense of place,” one can see just how green and lush this area was before FGCU was built, and it is extremely upsetting to think about how many trees were cut down and how many animals were forced to relocate in order to build this school (McCulloch). Essentially, FGCU conquered this land and forced out many of the species that were living here, and FGCU’s presence has led to even more destruction in this area since more natural land had to be leveled to build the large shopping centers, such as Gulf Coast Town Center, …show more content…
John Laroche appears to be very interested in plants and orchids, but he seems to only care about their profitability as an adult. In the book, it is noted that although he seemed to appreciate the land more as a child and adolescent, and even spent time photographing orchids and plants as a teen, as an adult, his interest in orchids and plants turned more toward profit, and he even states that in all of his years of being involved in nurseries, he’s been searching for a “profitable plant” (Orlean 13-14). In fact, the event that brought Susan Orlean to Florida involved John Laroche and some of his Seminole coworkers stealing orchids, including ghost orchids, in the hopes of cloning and selling these plants for profit (Orlean 26). This demonstrates that Laroche’s main interest in the environment involves using its resources to earn money and become famous, and he does not care very much about the well-being of natural, unprofitable plants and organisms. Furthermore, to relate Laroche’s intentions back to Leopold’s views, I would say that Laroche lacks a land ethic considering his relationship with the land certainly involves “privileges but not obligations” since

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