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Leopold's Shack and Ricketts's LabThe Emergence of Environmentalism$
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Michael Lannoo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520264786

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520264786.001.0001

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Ethic and Engagement

Ethic and Engagement

Chapter:
(p.151) Chapter Sixteen Ethic and Engagement
Source:
Leopold's Shack and Ricketts's Lab
Author(s):

Michael J Lannoo

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520264786.003.0017

Aldo Leopold formalized the mature view of his land ethic sixty years ago, and as a philosophy it garnered wide appreciation forty years ago. But appreciation is not acceptance. The future of humanity lies not in the old mind-set of individual self-preservation, but rather in the new comprehension that all life, even human life, must fit within the limits of the Earth's ecosystems. Edward F. Ricketts and John Steinbeck perceived that in today's world the features that we universally admire, such as wisdom, tolerance, kindliness, generosity, and humility, are “invariable concomitants” of failure, while features such as cruelty, greed, self-interest, and rapacity are regarded as the cornerstones of success. One way to overcome people's resistance to changing their views and behaviors involves a synthesis of Leopold and Ricketts's worldviews. Together, their ideas create a unified, natural history-based worldview representing something broader than ecological thinking. The benefits of an ecology that is focused more on natural history extend far beyond the practice of science.

Keywords:   Aldo Leopold, Edward F. Ricketts, ecology, science, natural history, philosophy, ecosystems, land ethic, John Steinbeck

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