Global human justice cannot be achieved at the expense of the health of the natural environment on which humanity depends. The demands of global human justice therefore require an ethic that recognizes our inescapable dependence upon Nature. One such ethic is Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.
Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) is widely known as the father of modern wildlife management and of the American wilderness system. An equally important but less widely appreciated part of his legacy is his concept of the Land Ethic, presented in A Sand County Almanac (SCA), published in 1949. The fundamental principle of the Land Ethic is that morally right actions are ones that tend to preserve the “integrity,” “stability,” and beauty of the biotic community, while morally wrong actions are ones having the opposite tendency (Leopold 1949).
The concepts of integrity and stability as applied to ecosystems are specialized, scientific concepts, but essentially the idea is that an ecosystem possessing these...
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