Bounded People, Boundless Lands: Envisioning A New Land Ethic
by Eric T. Freyfogle
Island Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-1-55963-418-2 | eISBN: 978-1-59726-325-2
Library of Congress Classification GE42.F74 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 179.1

What right do humans have to claim sovereignty over the land, to build fences and set boundaries when nature itself recognizes no such boundaries? Is there hope for a new land ethic that is less destructive toward the land, that views nature as something to be valued and nurtured rather than exploited and "developed"?One of the main challenges of contemporary environmentalism is to find a lasting, more ethical way for people to live on the planet. In Bounded People, Boundless Lands, legal scholar Eric T. Freyfogle asks a series of pointed and challenging questions about the human quest for ecological harmony. Deftly interweaving moral and ethical considerations with case studies and real-life situations, Freyfogle provides a deep philosophical examination of personal responsibility and the dominion of human beings over the earth. He raises provocative questions about private property rights, responsible land ownership, the rights of wildlife, and ecological health. Although the questions that Freyfogle asks are not new, they are presented in the context of contemporary events, often connected to legal cases, which allows him to bring age-old issues up to date, and to make direct connections between abstract concepts and our own lives.Throughout, Freyfogle questions the way human beings envision the land, thinking they can claim nature as their own, and criticizes market approaches to valuing and using nature. As an introduction to land ethics, but one that embraces environmental, legal, and philosophical arguments, Bounded People, Boundless Lands is a unique contribution to the environmental literature.

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