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Land Ethic vs. Ethic of Place

Sara Lazarovska's picture

While reading Leopold's piece "The Land Ethic," I kept thinking back to a book, Emerald City (written by Matthew Klingle), that I read for my Environmental History class. In it, Klingle explores what he calls 'the ethic of place' which is basically the relationship that people have with a certain place. However, after reading "The Land Ethic," I realized that even though Emerald City is an environmental history of Seattle, most of the places that people have an ethic of place associated with are actually locations that were once sites of wild nature that have been "remodelled" (a word that Dr. Dalke seems to be really keen on :D) by humans or their actions. There are very few instances in which the places that Klingle talks about involve nature to a greater extent, so I began wondering whether the Native Americans in the state of Washington that Klingle mentions have an ethic of place or land ethic, as Hannah mentioned today in class that some people might because of their ancestral history's relation to nature. What I would say now, after today's discussion, that perhaps the Native Americans that inhabited the region that now is Seattle might have had a land ethic, but that their descendants nowadays have more of an ethic of place regarding the environment of Seattle (also known as the "green city" - see how Klingle plays with words in his book title while he subtly mocks the extent of nature conservation of America's sustainability hub?).

Also, if anyone's interested in reading Emerald City, let me know - I can lend it to you :)

Front cover of 'Emerald City'