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Spencer Thinking Like A Muntain Essay

1087 words - 5 pages

Summary of “Thinking Like a Mountain”

Aldo Leopold’s essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain” shines light on a prominent issue amongst the ecosystem concerning the importance of a single organism. Leopold attempts to help the reader understand the importance of all animals in the ecosystem by allowing a wolf, deer, and a mountain to represent the ecosystem and how changes amongst them cause adverse effects on each other. Leopold recounts of the killing of a wolf and seeing a "fierce green fire" die in its eyes, this became a transformational moment in his life causing him to rethink the beliefs he had grown up with. By connecting the wolf’s death to the health of the mountain he was inspired to ...view middle of the document...

Leopold, however understands that there is a deeper meaning behind the howl when he states, “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.” What Leopold is trying to get across here is only the mountain truly can understand the affects that the wolf’s howl has on the ecosystem. Only the land has been around long enough to know the consequences and roles of all of its inhabitants. Now that the meaning of the howl and its effects on nature have been discussed it important to understand what happens if the howl suddenly disappears.
The ecosystem is composed of many living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment to form an interactive system whereby everything is connected, if one link in the chain is taken away it causes an endless stream of consequences. To shed light on this Leopold starts off by telling a story from his youth when he and some friends killed a wolf and how that experience changed his view on the world. After killing the wolf, Leopold, later realizes the negative effects of a population of wolves being wiped out. He then is able to explain what happens to the surrounding mountain. If the wolves are eradicated the deer are able to roam free without worry and their population rapidly increases, thus causing a deer infestation on the mountain. When this happens all of the vegetation on the mountain gets depleted, rendering the mountain unable to provide food for its surroundings. Leopard has learned of the many effects when losing a part of the ecosystem since his encounter with the wolf and has feelings of despair as he continues to see it happen time and time again: “I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death.” Leopold does not want this to keep happening and to help make others aware he explores the issue of predation by studying the interrelationships between deer, wolves, and the mountain to show us how the removal of one link...

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