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Turning the Whole Soul: The Educational Dialectic of a Sand County Almanac

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold is arguably the most influential text for the contemporary environmental movement. It is designed to entice readers to seek direct and sustained experience of nature and to structure that experience through the lens of ecology and evolutionary biology. Part I implicitly conveys the evolutionary-ecological worldview through descriptive prose; in Part II it is expressed in more abstract, conceptual terms; Part III explores its normative implications. The wisdom of this project is problematic. Environmental education in the form of worldview remediation should be encouraged at the post-secondary level of education, but should be complemented by an effort to express positive environmental attitudes and values in terms of popular, pre-scientific worldviews—such as that of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.

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