“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
― Aldo Leopold
If you ever get an e-mail from me, this quote is part of my signature. I put it on there in hopes to get as many people to read it as possible. My hope is it latches on somewhere in folks minds and the next time they are outside they will make “better” choices than the day before.
Yesterday, I went out for a site-visit with a landowner who had just acquired the 10 acres of property next to him and he wanted to manage it because the previous owners had not. When I say they had not…I mean they really had not. Reflecting back to the quote we see the land as a commodity to us…the previous landowners saw just that. Because they were the “owners” of this 10 acres of woodlot, they felt they could abuse/use it in anyway they wanted because it was “theirs”. All over this 10 acres was old dying trees, it was overgrown and unproductive but this is not even the worst of it. Scattered all around the 10 acres were piles of trash, tires and old bricks! I even saw an old baby stroller! The landowner who I was walking with made the comment “maybe they did not realize the trash was picked up weekly”! Instead of recycling or throwing away all this trash they hid it in their back yard woodlot. What they could not see did not affect them. The good news is the new landowner is chiseling away at this trash and cleaning it out and harvesting it to bring it back to a natural forest again.
This all brings me back to the Aldo Leopold quote on seeing land as community versus a commodity. Land is more than a “object” that we own, land can give us so many resources and gifts if we treat it as something that is living with us; part of us, not that we just own it. We need to grow and think about what Aldo Leopold said YEARS ago about Land Ethic. Ethics are our standards/morals we hold for ourselves and how we apply those standards when making choices. When you throw the word Land in front; Land Ethics are the standards we hold leading to the reasons why we do certain things to/on our land. If we do not have good land ethic the land will continue to perish.
We need to work WITH nature not against it. Treat it like family/community not an means to an end.