Sand County Almanac

3885 words 16 pages
A Sand County Almanac
A Book Investigation
Section I: The Almanac 1) Which is the birth year of mercy for all things natural, wild, and free? Why does Leopold give it that name? * The year 1865 is the birth year of all things natural, wild, and free. Leopold gives it this name because in that year, John Muir offered to buy from his brother, who then owned a farm 30 miles East of Leopold’s oak, a sanctuary for wildflowers that had gladdened his youth. His brother declined but could not suppress the idea. (February, pg. 17) 2) According to Leopold, which has greater value – things hoped for… or things assured? * The disappointment that Leopold feels on the autumn mornings the covey-chorus are silent shows that things hoped
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How may it be translated? * Every farm is the best textbook on animal ecology. Woodsmanship is the translation of the book. (December, pg. 86)

Section II: Summarize and critique “The Land Ethic”
Aldo Leopold begins “The Land Ethic” with an account of the ancient Greek hero Odysseus. After returning from the Troy Wars, god-like Odysseus hanged a dozen slave girls of his household solely based on a suspicion of misconduct. Since the days of Odysseus, we have extended ethical criteria to many fields but suffer great shortcomings when judgments are made in those fields based on expediency only. Like Odysseus, our society makes decisions to obtain a desired effect even when those decisions are unjust and come with severe consequence. “The disposal of property was then, as is now, a matter of expediency, not of right and wrong… Land, like Odysseus’s slave girls, is still property. The land-relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obligations.” In the time of Leopold (and even to this day) there is no ethic dealing with the relationship between man and his surrounding lands of plants and animals. The application of this ethic is not only plausible but absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of the natural world as we know it. According to Aldo Leopold, ethics are a process in ecological evolution described by ecological as well as philosophical terms. “Ecologically, ethic is a limitation on freedom of action in the struggle


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