Our Relationship with the Land

Based on signs that I’ve seen, the Indiana Enterprise Center (IEC) development project is, in the minds of many, a constricting, nebulous monster that is slowly squeezing toward a goal of stealing and converting 20,000+ acres of land. For others, I’m sure, this project promises job creation and economic enrichment that will sustain communities, and provide a fertile soil for the nourishment of families.

I will not presently advocate for or against this project, especially given my current lack of specific details about what is planned. Rather, I’d like to briefly discuss with you a way of thinking about the land and our relationship with it.

I’ve noticed that studying Nature, professionally or otherwise, tends to cause one to see that they are wound up in a web of interactions as inextricably as is a fly in a spider’s web. Technological advances, however, have severed many people’s mental connections to the land. Our food is grown for most of us, we are cocooned by air conditioning, and we are taught that the world is for us. Cut, cut, cut, if we are not careful. What happens in a mind, however, doesn’t change reality. We will always be dependent upon functioning ecosystems. Unfortunately, our naïve behavior can, with time, actually sever the web’s connections. And unlike a fly freed from a web, we become like a spider that loses its home. Slowly, we wither.

Entrepreneurs, with minds that they have cut out of Life’s web, should not be allowed to decide that our land should become more ‘valuable’. Likewise, we should not tolerate farming practices that squeeze the land so much that it and what it holds breaks. As a community, especially while land-use is emanating through our collective mind, we should demand that our land be respected, regardless of how specifically it is used. I, for one, agree with Aldo Leopold, who wrote: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Those who agree, please stand and say what you can.

Dustin Brewer Mt. Pleasant, MI

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