Ethics is what dictates right or wrong. It is a branch in philosophy that deals with that deals with systemizing, protecting and stipulating the concepts as to which is the right behavior and which is the wrong behavior (Plato 1833). According to Leopold, 1949, then, it is ethics that directs human beings to cooperate which each other within the accepted ethical standards for the mutual benefit of each other and similarly for that of the environment. Over years, ethics have been laid down regarding the interaction of human beings amongst themselves and with the animals. However, the application of ethics to the human environment has never been an issue. Critically, Leopold argues that this is an ecological necessity that needs much urgent address.
Ethics help people to make decisions regarding how they will live. It determines their actions, i.e. towards each other, towards animals and all non-human things in the environment and also towards the environment itself. It directs on the kind of behavior standards that every human being should employ. For instance,“A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land community to plain member and citizen of it…it implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”(Leopold A, 1949).
Thus land ethic explains to us what actions are good and bad in terms of how we direct them to the environment. It is here that human beings ought to realize that the environment is so important to them. He argues that we are to value certain things and it is our actions towards those things that reflect how we value them. He then compares to this to the appreciation of a work of art and asserts that just as it can be a matter of taste, then land ethic could just operate in the same way.