Thinking Like a Mountain

4 03 2011

In his powerful essay contained in A Sand County Almanac (Oxford, 1949) entitled “Thinking Like a Mountain”, Aldo Leopold described his conversion from one view of nature to an entirely different view. Devote a few minutes to read Leopold’s account recorded on pages 129-133 of A Sand County Almanac. Reflect on what he is saying. Then, respond with two or three sentences that address one of the following to add an additional insight not already included in any comments already posted:
a) Leopold’s view of nature before and after his “conversion”
b) What it means to “think like a mountain” in contrast to thinking otherwise.
c) How does/doesn’t the imagery of “a mountain” convey Leopold’s intent in the essay?
d) What environmental ethic (if any) is supported by this essay?
Remember, two or three sentences max!

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5 responses

13 03 2011
Lindsay Jones

In this well-crafted essay Leopold seems to transition from a highly anthropocentric ethic to a romantic ethic. At the beginning of the essay he describes himself as one who “had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf,” but after his experience seeing the fire die from the wolf’s eyes, he concludes that “wilderness is the salvation of the world,” meaning that nature should be left alone (p. 130-133).

13 03 2011
Rebekah Jones

b) Thinking like a mountain means to be present in a longer time frame then other creatures; it means that centuries are only a small part of a mountain’s overall life. Thus, like the mountain, we should be more aware and concerned about longer term effects like habitat destruction then our own short-sited wish for more deer.

13 03 2011
Jon Becker

c) I think Leopold shows evidence of an ecocentric ethic. This is evident in his final paragraph discussing the role of the wolves, deer, and mountain in the ecosystem.

14 03 2011
Heidi Edwards

a) At the beginning of the essay Leopold has a Utilitarian view of nature. Killing the wolf will increase the number of deer that he as a hunter can kill and use. By the end of the essay he has changed to an ecocentric view where he realizes the importance of the wolf in the ecosystem.

17 03 2011
Preston Godbold

d) The transition in these few short pages is huge! This a essay would support a biocentric view but I think it would also ask for more. There is an empathy and almost a shared pain that Leopold wants to comunicate. It borders on pantheistic, but closer inspecetion reveals so much more. It is a deep respect and reverance Leopold has discovered.

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