the land ethic – part 2 (notes from the steno pad)

notes from the mornin’time: fiveAMramble #2

8/27 *see steno.

If little birds hold the secrets of living, then I feel we may be missing something.  and we should listen closely.

This morning I want to think more about an ethic, limitation on action, and economy…how does this relate back to how we relate to the land.

So I consult my favorite online resource and think about word origins and some basic definitions of things n stuff:

  • ethic (ethos) -> custom
    • Gk – moral character, nature, disposition, habit, custom
      • consider a land ethic in terms of habit and custom based on our disposition towards the land.
  • property -> rare in the sense of “possession” until 17c, “holding property” in 1760
  • own/ownership -> to be master of, to possess
  • limit -> to restrict, bound, boundary
  • economy -> household management, thrift
    • Gk: OIKONIMOS – “manager, steward; OIKOS – “house”; OIKONOMIA – “household management, thrift”
      • 1650s -> sense of wealth, as in the wealth of a country, etc.
  • steward -> house guardian
    • stewardship: the responsible use of resources

A “land ethic” constitutes our habits and customs determined by our disposition toward the land. But our disposition toward the land is that of property. You either own it, or you don’t. If you own the land, then you are the master. If you don’t own the land, then somebody else owns it.

We do not feel bound by any custom, or ethic, to limit or restrict our actions upon the land because as the master we may do as we wish, for who is going to tell me what I can and can not do on, or with, my property?

What is lacking is the notion of stewardship and responsibility, the understanding that every action we commit upon the land is not isolated on our property, but bleeds over into everything else.

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