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Land Ethic

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The land ethic is a holistic view of ecosystems. It entails an entire view of a biotic community to include all of nature, not just the individualistic components which incorporate our environment. Great efforts would be taken by supporters of the 'land ethic' to support an ecosystem that was threatened. The individual components that comprise the ecosystem are not of great concern to supporters of this theory; they would argue that a threat to an individual organism, even protected or endangered, should be evaluated on whether or not the protected or endangered species does endanger the integrity of the whole system. A supporter of the land ethic argument would have consequences to weigh regarding the value of the threatened individual and how it relates to the survival of individuals of the group. If the group were to suffer a threatening blow that could affect the livelihood or existence of members of the controlling group one would expect that the threatened organism could be evaluated for possible "non-protection". In contrast, a Respect for Nature ethic believes that any animal or living organism should be protected because that organism is deserving of its own individual worth; the fact that it is protected or endangered would be of little concern to these supporters. The simple fact that an individual is threatened is more than sufficient to justify that great efforts be taken to protect that individual entity. The Respect for Nature ethic followers would argue that every organism is worthy of protection because of an inherent worth that entitles that entity to protection from destruction.

If society were to take either side of this argument, there would be consequences. To take the land ethic view, our current use of the land for farming and raising livestock would change and our view as the conqueror of the land would change to more towards a "biotic citizen" or a member of the land community. In addition,



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