University of Michigan Land Ethic and The Sacred Obligation Essay

Reading 1: https://sacredsea.org/

Reading 2: see attached file.

Total word count: at least 500 words.

For this week’s reading reflection, please focus on two texts: “The Land Ethic” by Aldo Leopold, and the Sacred Sea website and campaign led by the Lummi People. After closely reading the chapter and the assigned website sections, consider two primary concepts: “the land ethic” and a “sacred obligation”.

Your reflection should include the following:

1. A brief summary of the land ethic.

2. A brief summary of what is meant by a sacred obligation.

For both of the above requirements, you should refer directly to specific definitions made by the author/s (including page numbers or web sections), but you should write in your own words and you should put the definition in context. Provide a summary of the argument for why a land ethic is needed/important, according to the author.

3. In your reflection, please compare and contrast the concepts of a land ethic and a sacred obligation as they apply to the efforts to protect the Southern Resident Orcas in the Salish Sea AND/OR also as they apply to the Lummi efforts to free the individual whale named Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (also known as Lolita/Tokitae) from captivity in Miami at a seaquarium.

As you read and write, consider Leopold’s position on Native American presence and role in the North American landscape in his discussions of European settlement and occupation of the continent. How, if at all, are Native American cultures and sovereign tribes included in Leopold’s account?

Rather than responding one by one to the prompts above, please organize your essay around a primary claim and use the above prompts to form supporting arguments for this claim. For instance, you might state that efforts to free an individual whale are not as important as those to protect the entire orca population. Your job then would be to make use of the land ethic and sacred obligation concepts to support this claim.

As we read in week one, ethics are about values. Environmental ethics offers us a chance to examine what “should” be done, but to do so we must also consider our underlying assumptions about the kinds of things (and beings) that have value. Keep in mind that any claim about what “should” be done is a direct function of these underlying values, and be sure to articulate the values embedded in the two concepts distinguished above.

Your response should be organized as a reflective essay of about four to five paragraphs (500-700 words). Essays shorter than 450 words or longer than 750 will not be accepted. It is a lifelong skill to be able to write concisely and clearly – please use this opportunity to practice

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