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Filed under: Nature & Wildlife, Preparation & Readiness

Outdoor Ethics: A Culture of Respect

February 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


By Stuart Bourdon, Camping Life Magazine.

What aButterflyre good outdoor ethics? There is no shortage of inspiration when considering the subject.

A renowned scientist and scholar, exceptional teacher, philosopher and giant of environmental philosophy, Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology. Leopold observes in his essay Round River that “the outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we know about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it?”

Another well-known environmental author, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), made the statement, “from the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind.” Think how refreshed we feel, how much better we can suffer the civilized world after spending some time in the wild lands of this Earth.Sequoia Forest

Modern scholars such as Edward O. Wilson, Mellon Professor of the Sciences at Harvard, continue the legacy. In Mellon’s 1992 book, The Diversity of Life, he offers: “Why should we care? What difference does it make if some species are extinguished, if even half of all the species on earth disappear? Let me count the ways…an obscure moth from Latin America saved Australia’s pastureland from overgrowth by cactus, that the rosy periwinkle provided the cure for Hodgkin’s disease and childhood lymphocytic leukemia, that the bark of the Pacific yew offers hope for victims of ovarian and breast cancer, that a chemical from the saliva of leeches dissolves blood clots during surgery, and so on…”

Polar BearThere is one underlying common thought in these insightful writings: a culture of respect, a respect for all living things and all aspects of the world around us. It is up to us to enjoy the outdoors with due respect, so that it will continue to be there for all generations to be enjoyed.

–Stuart Bourdon

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