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The land ethic

We are citizens in an interdependent community of life.
By Aldo Leopold
Spring 2006 2.15.06

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All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise that individuals are members of a community of interdependent parts. Their instincts prompt them to compete for their places in that community, but their ethics prompt them also to cooperate. . . . The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. . . . A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.

Adapted from “The Land Ethic” in A Sand County Almanac (1949). This passage has been modified to employ gender-neutral language.

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