define “ conservation ” today W r i t i n g
Our writing practice continues. This is all preparation for an essay.
After you have actively read these two poignant chapters from the Almanac, review your annotations and engage in reflection. Upon reflection and review, we can see that there is more here than first meets the eye, so to speak. This is actually an implied philosophical argument.
What are the implications of Leopold’s work?
Can you begin to connect what you have read and watched so far?
Can you find a way to integrate ecological principles and concepts with this philosophical outlook?
Answer the questions below. Think about your own writing as you ponder his.
KEY CONCEPT: CONNECTIONS
We are connected to the world around us through the food we eat and the resources we use. Work can connect us to the pieces of the natural world that support us and to the history they embody.
1. Leopold worries people no longer truly know where heat or food comes from. Think about what you had for breakfast. Do you know where it actually came from? Have you ever been to a farm? Do you heat your dwelling with coal, natural gas, wood, corn, electricity? How is the electricity generated? Do you agree that there could actually be a “spiritual danger” in not knowing the source of your food and energy? Why or why not?
2. The oak tree acts as kind of natural history text that tells the history of conservation in Wisconsin. Imagine using a tree in your yard or neighborhood to tell a history of your town, neighborhood, and family. What would your story be?
KEY CONCEPT: DECISIONS AND VALUES
Leopold asserted that each piece of land looks the way it does today because of past decisions. He suggests that any decision reflects our personal and collective values and biases. Each person will formulate their decisions differently, but by thinking about the ultimate effect of your actions, you can choose the evidence you will leave behind for others.
3. Leopold states that pines are his favorite trees. Do you have a favorite kind of tree or plant? What is it about that particular species that you like? Does liking it make you want to think of ways that you could favor its growth?
4. How has the land where you live changed within your lifetime? Are there decisions that have become your “signatures” on this area? Go online and locate if possible old photos of Los Angeles or your hometown. What did Pasadena look like more than 100 years ago? What would it look like without buildings and roads?
5. Leopold writes there are many definitions of a conservationist; his own definition is one who is thinking “while chopping, or deciding what to chop.” Can you relate to this metaphor? How might we relate this idea about critical thinking to our current environmental crisis? How would you define “conservation” today?