Although owning conservation land is a legacy in itself, pioneer conservationists paved the way for legacies as we know them. One particular legacy and expert in environmental ethics is Aldo Leopold.
Aldo Leopold is a conservation trail blazer and is most known for his nature writing. His work includes, “A Sand County Almanac,” which illustrates his belief of a responsible relationship existing between people and the land they inhabit.
Leopold redefines the idea of “wilderness” to mean more than hunting and recreational grounds, but also to include a fruitful and healthy biotic community. A healthy biotic community includes predators like wolves and mountain lions, along with micro organisms and hardly noticeable flora and fauna.
His Sand County Almanac is a primer for the American Conservation movement, along with other great works by John Muir and Wendell Berry.
In addition to being known for his work protecting lands, his writings are practical and useful in daily life. These are a few famous words that resonate:
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Aldo Leopold reminds us that growing your own food on your own land affords the opportunity to nurture yourself twice. What is particularly striking from this quote is that modern day words like”sustainability” and “locally grown” are not new concepts at all. Leopold’s words serve as a reminder that nothing is new and that everyone has a stake in the provision of their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The real power of his writings is in placing on everyone the responsibility of knowing and appreciating where our basic needs come from.