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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Aldo Leopold wrote that the Land Ethic made one a "plain member and citizen" of the land community.I would restate that as being a good neighbor in wild neighborhoods. Being a good neighbor is being good to life, which is good-in-itself"--Dave Foreman of the Rewilding Institute reinforcing why as he puts it: "Life is good"......"Many-fold, tangled life is better"....."Many-fold, tangled life not hobbled by Man's will is best"

Around the Campfire with Uncle Dave – A Root of the Land Ethic: Good-in-Itself

-The Rewilding Institute
Life is good.
Many-fold, tangled life is better.
Many-fold, tangled life not hobbled by Man's will is best.
What do I mean?

By "life is good," I am not writing a television commercial about sitting with your buddies in front of a widescreen TV for a Superbowl party with Budweisers while wives and girlfriends in tight, low-cut tops bring in nachos and other goodies. No, I am laying down bedrock that the coming out of life or living things—chemical molecules that could replicate and do things—was good. As is its further evolution. Both life—this way of being—and living things—the lone packages into which life fleetingly puts itself—are good.

The first step in ethics is to ask what is good. The Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on "Ethics" says, "By 'the good' here is meant what is intrinsically good (or good-in-itself), not what is good only as a means to something else." This is what I mean by "life is good." It is good-in-itself. If there is good-in-itself at all, I would think "life is good" would be self-evident or unmistakable.

Whether the knowing creation of an Almighty or the outcome of a wandering, blind, goalless bubbling-over of chemistry and electricity in the right setting by happenstance, life and living things are good. Life comes together as neighborhoods (or communities as ecologists call them) in which we as dwellers or as wayfarers need to behave as good neighbors to the neighborhood and to each neighbor.

Aldo Leopold wrote that the Land Ethic made one a "plain member and citizen" of the land community.I would restate that as being a good neighbor in wild neighborhoods. Being a good neighbor is being good to life, which is good-in-itself. The sign at the National Forest trailhead a quarter-mile from my front door welcomes hikers but warns that we are coming into the home of many kinds of wildlife and that we are "guests in their home." (Italics on the sign.) When you are a guest in someone's home, you need to be well-behaved. You do not rule the roost when you are a guest.

By "many-fold" (manifold) and "tangled" life, I mean biological diversity or biodiversity. This is the Tree of Life: many, many kinds of life living in a wealth of jumbled, messy, always-shifting neighborhoods. By "not hobbled by Man's will," I mean wild—wild things, which are Earthlings that are as yet self-willed and not thralls to Man.

These other Earthlings are good because they are and because they are free by being wild. Wild things are good-in-themselves.

"Wild" is a many-fold and tangled word and thought. To understand such a word, we need to go back to its beginning in language—at least as far as we can. It means going back to the Anglo-Saxons coming into Britain as Roman civilization was withering and leaving. Early Gothonic or Deutsch speakers—warlords ("kings" and "lords" in their high and mighty gall), churls, and bards such as those who wrote down Beowulf and other sagas and poems—struggled with will.

They lived next to wilderness—land not yet settled or plowed—and knew wildlife such as bear, wolf, lynx, wolverine, moose, wisent, eagle owl, snowy owl, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, and other mighty beings that were untamable.

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