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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Aldo Leopold

I just finished reading, for the first time (shame on me), the almanac part of A Sand County Almanac. Certainly one of the seminal works of ecology and conservation, the book is also a classic of nature writing - simple, direct, profound. But in some ways I was struck most by these words ending the introduction: "Our bigger-and-better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap. Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings. Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, tame and confined in terms of things natural, wild and free."

These sentences were written on March 4, 1948.

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