In 1949 Aldo Leopold sparked the modern conservation movement with his treatise on land ethics, declaring that ethical individual cooperation should also consider soil, water, plants, and animals. This presentation will explore the role that culture plays in determining the land ethics of place. Special focus will be on agricultural practices in Kansas and how they compare with the indigenous land ethics of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Atlai Republic of Siberia, and the Kikuyu of central Kenya.
Heidi Mehl is the manager of the Kansas Healthy Streams Initiative at the Nature Conservancy. She holds a PhD in Geography from Kansas State University.
“As quoted by the great freshwater biologist H.B.N. Hynes, ‘In every respect, the valley rules the stream.’ Therefore, if we want to understand and protect our streams and rivers, we must understand the land use patterns surrounding them and what is driving those patterns in various cultural contexts” said Mehl.
“Land Ethics and Water Resources” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.