Currently Reading

A Sand County Almanac – Aldo Leopold

The observations are rich and frequently moving but his distaste for the city and city dwellers can be tough for me to take. He understands the complex system that surrounds him on his farm but every city is its own complex system. Admittedly, it is a system dominated by people, their structures (and their vermin) that is only occasionally the home to some truly wild animals. Of course, the New York City I work in today is probably very different than any town or city in the late 1940s when Leopold wrote his book. (In no small part because of the Clean Air and Water Acts and the export of manufacturing to cheaper, more amenable locales in other countries.) I can look to restored marshes in Jamaica Bay, birding tours of the East River, coyotes sneaking into the city through rail tunnels, a wild turkey slowly strutting around Battery Park and owls hooting away in tenement air shafts to see that the division between the natural world and our world is non-existent. It is easy to see how his work would raise people’s awareness of the environment.

Other than that minor complaint it has been a wonderful read. I have to wonder how much of my perspective is part of a cultural shift that was inspired by this book.

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