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New Edition of A Sand County Almanac Released for Earth Day 50

This historic moment, shared worldwide, reminds us that we are connected to each other and to the natural world on this one earth–with implications that matter deeply. As Earth Day 50 approaches, a new edition of Aldo Leopold’s masterpiece, A Sand County Almanac, arrives just in time to reach a new generation with a timeless message: that our moral responsibilities will determine how we care for each other and for our shared home, the earth.

Through history, humor, science, and beautifully detailed prose, Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac has already inspired generations of readers. First published by Oxford University Press in 1949, in the decades since it has become a conservation and literary classic. The new, 2020 edition features an introduction by famed author and conservationist Barbara Kingsolver.

“Aldo Leopold, a man who died before I was born, is part of my inner circle. I always look forward to cracking open his door, A Sand County Almanac, for another chat.”

-Barbara Kingsolver

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Leopold’s landmark book is organized into three sections. Part I, the almanac (for which it is named), marks each month with essays that showcase Leopold’s unique ability to tell the stories of the land through the careful observation of nature. Part II highlights lessons that Leopold learned through his travels. The collection culminates in Part III, “The Upshot,” in which Leopold explores broader themes in conservation. In his capstone essay “The Land Ethic,” Leopold calls for moral responsibility for the natural world. Ethics directs all members of a community to treat one another with respect. “The land ethic,” Leopold writes, “simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”

The Aldo Leopold Foundation’s President, Buddy Huffaker, notes that it was Leopold’s ethical appeal that first brought the book to a wide readership.

“Many readers found Leopold because of the crises that led to the first Earth Day in 1970. They were looking for a voice that captured how they felt about our responsibility to care for the natural world. I believe readers will continue to find Leopold’s powerful voice helpful in reconciling current events with how they feel and would like to act.” -Buddy Huffaker

While Aldo Leopold was writing his book in the 1940s, he could not have imagined its enduring success. It has since sold several million copies and been translated into 14 languages. Its influence continues to grow, having a profound impact on readers around the world. Leopold recognized that his dream of a widely accepted and implemented set of values based on caring—for people, for land, and for all the connections between them—would have to “evolve… in the minds of a thinking community.” In Leopold’s words, “I do not imply that this philosophy of land was always clear to me. It is rather the end result of a life journey.”

As we prepare to recognize the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 72nd anniversary of Leopold’s passing (April 21st, 1948), we invite you to help us celebrate and grow Leopold’s legacy by becoming a part of our thinking community. Join this community dedicated to building a land ethic by May 31st, and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the newest edition of A Sand County Almanac–complete with introduction by internationally-renowned author Barbara Kingsolver! (Offer available to those contributing a minimum of $10/month.)

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