Land Ethics and Social Justice

For 20 years, Leopold Week has asked citizens to reflect on their relationship to the natural world. Leopold’s words–beautiful and eloquent–attract participation from around the world and endure because of a yet unanswered appeal for ethics that sustain the natural world, and by extension, us.

“I have purposely presented the land ethic as a product of social evolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written’… It evolves in the minds of a thinking community.” Aldo Leopold, “The Land Ethic” essay in A Sand County Almanac

Here at the Aldo Leopold Foundation we use Leopold Week to grow our thinking community and build an ethic of care for all. From the very first event in 2000, Leopold Week has grown to global participation of thousands through community readings, film screenings, outdoor activities, and this year, virtual presentations. But unlike years past, the social injustices unfolding in our communities have challenged us to converge the historically parallel, but separate conservation and social justice movements.

As part of our own internal work at the Aldo Leopold Foundation we are committed to engaging, listening to, and learning from friends and colleagues. We are understanding what we know and don’t know about how Aldo Leopold himself thought about diversity and justice. We see the energy and attention that Leopold Week generates as an opportunity to introduce and amplify many of these voices and perspectives within our “thinking community.”

This year’s virtual Leopold Week was very successful with 3,387 registered participants from all 50 states and over 11 countries! We were thrilled by the response and honored to convene a thinking community interested in building an ethic of care for all.

“As a conservation practitioner and educator, I have been reflecting on…how we have excluded people in the past, and how we can do better going forward. I appreciate that these events open an opportunity for dialogue on these important questions.” Leopold Week 2021 Participant

Join us in these important conversations in acknowledging, participating, and creating a more just world that embraces an ethic of care for all people and all places.


Leopold Week 2021: Building an Ethic of Care Program Recordings

Why Words From the Land Matter

Presented by Dr. Drew Lanham. Listen to the inspiring words of Dr. Lanham as he guides us through a discussion of social movements, diverse voices, and how writing informs the conservation conversation.

Land Ethics, Social Justice, and Aldo Leopold

Presented by Drs. Curt Meine, Eduardo Santana Castellón, Lin Qi Feng, and Priscilla Ybarra. Journey with the panelists as they examine the broad arc of Western conservation history, the evolution of a shared land ethic, and the progress and work ahead of us.

Green Fire Then, Now, and Tomorrow: Examining an Evolving Land Ethic

Presented by film contributors, Bill McDonald, Dr. Curt Meine, Leslie Weldon, and Michael Howard. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Green Fire, we brought together diverse voices from the film, to reflect on how the land ethic has evolved since the film first premiered and how we can work together to forge a more inclusive and resilient ethic of care for the decade ahead.

Aldo Leopold, Phenology, and Climate Change

Presented by Dr. Stan Temple. Learn how climate change has impacted the ecological community and how keeping phenological records helps us both enjoy and understand our natural world.

Continuing the Conversation: Land Ethics and Social Justice Resources

This work, your work – our work –  is needed more than ever. We invite you to explore the following resources, and continue in whatever ways you can to shape this convergence for positive change and help build an ethic of care for all.

Download our list of recommended books, articles and publications.

Read more about our work around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion

Visit the following organizations for more information on social justice and environmentalism: