Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic by J. Baird Callicott

By J. Baird Callicott

Bringing jointly ecology, evolutionary ethical psychology, and environmental ethics, J. Baird Callicott counters the narrative of blame and depression that prevails in modern discussions of weather ethics and gives a clean, extra positive method. while different environmental ethicists restrict themselves to what Callicott calls Rational Individualism in discussing the matter of weather switch merely to finish that, basically, there's little wish that something might be performed within the face of its "perfect ethical typhoon" (in Stephen Gardiner's words), Callicott refuses to simply accept this view. as a substitute, he encourages us to appear to the Earth itself, and think about the hindrance on grander spatial and temporal scales, as we now have didn't long ago. Callicott helps this concept by means of exploring and embellishing Aldo Leopold's faint caricature of an Earth ethic in "Some basics of Conservation within the Southwest," a seldom-studied textual content from the early days of environmental ethics that used to be written in 1923 yet no longer released until eventually 1979 after the environmental flow accrued energy.

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Ballantine Books began publishing the mutilated text in 1970 in the form of a cheap paperback— which has now, unfortunately, become the most commonplace edition. Needless to say, my analysis here is of the book that Leopold himself assembled. 18 Our Abrahamic concept of land is, more forthrightly put, our inherited biblical worldview. ”19 Toward the end of the book, in “The Land Ethic,” Leopold evokes the same synecdoche for the biblical worldview once more: “Abraham knew what the land was for: it was to drip milk and honey into Abraham’s mouth.

Suggest that [he] was carefully choosing his words while quoting from such a revered source. Whether to jolt the reader with a “mistaken” word, because of the suggestive redemptive connotations, or both, by using “salvation” rather than “preservation,” Leopold underscored his own conversion experience in the essay and implied that the “hidden” knowledge of what has “long [been] known among mountains” . . 74 A Sand County Almanac is crafted to nudge that process of “cultural conversion” along.

We too can live and learn, just as did Leopold himself. We too can change our worldview, just as he himself did. ” Leo (as he was called by his forest-service compatriots), the zealous predator exterminator—yes, in his Southwest days he was a very zealous advocate of predator extermination—became one of the twentieth century’s most eloquent advocates and ardent protectors of predators. Leo’s transformations, no less than Saul’s, involved a profound paradigm shift, a worldview change. Maybe, Leopold hoped, he was but a harbinger of the worldview transformation that society as a whole was poised to undergo.

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