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2 pages/≈1100 words
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Level:
MLA
Subject:
Literature & Language
Type:
Article Critique
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English (U.S.)
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Thinking Like A Mountain (Article Critique Sample)

Instructions:

Nature has the tools for balancing and controlling its elements. In the case of Thinking like a Mountain, man has taken a role of controlling and balancing nature. However, this has left a trail of devastation. It is essential to note that man does not have the tools for determining the right timing and location for killing or eliminating animals. As a result, the destruction sponsored by humans leaves the nature in an unbalanced state. The balance in nature is supported by the interconnectedness of the elements of nature. Wolves may kill as many deer as possible, but with every season, the herds replenish. Leopold notes that the overgrazing off deer on the mountain slopes has devastating effects because the deer will trample on growing vegetation. Therefore, the interaction of nature and humans is unethical because man focuses on taking from nature. This disconnects the elements of nature, which leads to an imbalance.

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Thinking like A Mountain
Introduction
Aldo Leopold wrote an essay titled Thinking like a Mountain in his book A Sandy County Almanac. Thinking like a mountain intends to arouse human to think within an ecological context. This means that humans should use the intricate web found in natural environments instead of thinking as isolated individuals. Leopold uses a holistic view that has its basis on the entire ecosystem. The essay by Leopold is an explanation of ethics as humans interact with their natural environment. It is essential to note that humans have had challenges with environmental issues and they have struggled with the problems of natural resources. Similarly, nature is struggling with the resource problem because of unethical practices by humans (Brennan 27). These practices include overexploitation of natural resources and indiscriminate killing of animals. In this case, ethics do not occur as universal solutions to operational problems especially in issues involving natural resources (Flader 2). Ethics provides approaches for handling issues associated with natural resources. Therefore, it is essential to apply ethics when dealing with the profound interconnectedness of aspects found in the ecosystem.
Thinking like a Mountain means understanding and appreciating the connected nature of the elements found in the ecosystem. Leopold notes that nature is interconnected to the extent that it has a language. He states, “Every living thing pay heed to that call. To the deer it is a reminder of the way of all flesh, to the pine a forecast of midnight scuffles and of blood upon the snow” (Leopold 1). This statement shows that the elements of nature understand each other. The opening paragraph of the essay reveals that various ecological aspects interact to influence the life of one of the entities. For instance, the coyote, hunter, pine, wolf and the cowman influence the life of the deer. This shows that nature operates in an interconnected fashion.
Nature has the capabilities of communicating with its elements. In this case, the bawl of the wolf echoes down the hills. According to the author, different living things respond to the bawl according to their placement on the food chain. The bawl communicates impeding bloodshed and midnight scuffles to the pine tree. This is a form of communication and the elements of nature respond to its calling. Man has overlooked the interconnectedness in nature during land and resource management. It is essential to note that every element in nature has a possibility of causing negative and positive outcomes for some parts of the ecology (Brennan 28). This passage by Leopold seems to suggest that nature operates in a balanced manner in the absence of humans. This is because humans disrupt the flow of events and leads to unbalanced outcomes. In this case, nature balances hope and fear with the outcome dependent on the location and timing. Wolves keep caribou, moose and deer populations in a balanced state. Otherwise, the deer will overgraze and deplete the grazing spaces.
Man does not ethically contribute to the sustainability of nature. This is shown by Leopold’s statement that, “in these days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy” (Leopold 1). This statement shows the author’s excitement in killing a wolf. Human do not appreciate the connected state of nature because killing the wolf has repercussions to the connected ecosystem. Additionally, humans do not appreciate what nature offers to them. Humans do not fully accept the beauty of nature because they are distracted by their events and surroundings. This means that nature always gives to humans. However, humans do not appreciate by reciprocating (Brennan 29). This section shows eight appearances of nature, which are commodity, language, beauty, idealism, discipline, prospects and spirits. These sections have different perspectives about the relationship between nature and humans (Hove 4). In this case, the relationship between humans and nature is characterized by distraction. Leopold was excited about killing the wolf. They spent a number of bullets until their rifles were empty, which shows their distractive nature.
In order for humans to understand the destruction of nature they must withdraw from social distractions and flaws that lead them to their destructive tendencies. The destruction of nature leads to an imbalance, which disrupts the interconnectedness of nature. Leopold stepped aside from social flaws when they, “reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes” (Leopold 1). The dying fire made Leopold realize that nature would lose its greenness with the death of the wolf. The absence of wolves from the mountain means that the population of deer will increase. These deer will overgraze on the mountain slopes, leaving a trail of dust. During this period, Leopold experienced solitude, which gave him an opportunity to see the dying green light. This also gave him an opportunity to adhere to what nature offers to humans.
Going to solitude requires a man to retire from his current state or situation and reflect on his actions and the possible outcomes from the actions. The fact that the man is alone enables him to see a clear picture of the outcome of his actions (Brennan 29). In this case, Leopold saw the dimming of a green light. The dimming green light was an indication of the slow disappearance of the balance in nature. The loss of balance will lead to a loss in the interconnected state of nature. The elements of nature act as materials, results and processes that work together for the sustainability of nature.
The interconnected state of nature is clearly shown by the realization that the death of the wolves will lead to the loss of diversity and flora in the mountain slopes. Leopold states, “I suspect that just as a deer here lives in the fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer mail fail of replacement in as many decades” (Leopold 1). This statement shows that though wolves kill deer, the deer replenish with each season. However, overgrazing on the mountain slopes has devastating effects on the slope because dee...
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