Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Body and Biosphere: Tracing Aldo Leopold’s Transformation and its Modern-Day Significance Public Deposited

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  • This research aims to investigate the evolving ethical thought of environmentalist Aldo Leopold, with a special emphasis on how his personal health crisis—namely, kidney failure—played a pivotal role in shaping his well-known "land ethic" as well as his philosophy on "land health." Initially, the paper will draw from Leopold's biographical details and his documented experiences to establish a correlation between his deteriorating health and his developing ideas about ethical responsibilities toward nature. Through a textual analysis and close reading that incorporates select quotes, I will argue that Leopold's ethics were indeed influenced by his personal health challenges. The concept of health is applied as a heuristic lens to better understand how Leopold’s ethics prescribe a symbiotic relationship between human well-being and ecological conservation. Transitioning to contemporary relevance, I will also critique post facto interventions that primarily rely on technological solutions arguing that they fall short of achieving true health. Specifically, green growth strategies are inadequate in addressing climate issues as they neither fulfill the criteria for land health nor establish the conditions requisite for health, as defined by Leopold.

Date Awarded
  • 2023-11-01
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Last Modified
  • 2023-11-07
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