Environmental Philosophy

Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall 2019

Paul Ott
Pages 245-273

Ecological Freedom
Aldo Leopold and the Human Ecological Relation

This article develops the idea of ‘ecological freedom’ from Aldo Leopold’s account of ecological relations in terms of the dual notions of the “freedom from want and fear” and the “freedom to make mistakes.” Through an analysis of Leopold’s thought on technology and civilization, I develop and argue for the claim that direct experience of ecological relations, or ecological freedom, is vital to meaningful human life. The absence of ecological freedom constitutes a form of ecological alienation, which is paired with social alienation. Ecological freedom is then used as a way to understand environmental injustice and critique contemporary environmentalism.