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Author: We all own land and should cherish it

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Ice Cube Press
/
courtesy photo
Neil Hamilton

An Iowa-based expert on agriculture and land policy hopes to encourage people to think about their connections to the land.

Neil Hamilton said we should all consider ourselves landowners.

“We have over a billion acres of public land in the nation. You don’t have to go more than a few miles away from wherever you are to find a county park or a city park or a state park,” said Hamilton.

“So we all have a strong connection to the land. And if we own land, we kind of each have our own stories with it as well.”

Hamilton worked with food and land throughout his 36-year teaching career at Drake University, where he also directed the Agricultural Law Center.

Now an emeritus professor of law at Drake, Hamilton is the author of The Land Remains - A Midwestern Perspective On Our Past and Future.

Hamilton said the title is a reference to the land’s resilience. He said it will outlive us, but added, “How we take care of it and treat it very much leaves kind of our portrait on the land.”

He hopes the book encourages readers to think about the land and their actions in relation to it.

“That’s part of my message. If we’re more thoughtful about how we treat these resources – the soil and water – and think about the longer-term impacts of our decisions, it will make them healthier and arguably make our lives more satisfying and fulfilling,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he is greatly influenced by the works of Aldo Leopold, the naturalist, scientist, and author who was born in Burlington.

Leopold posited we tend to think of the land only in terms of economics. Hamilton agrees, and said the land is about much more than economics.

“I think it’s important for us to recognize those other values and the other reasons that we value and cherish it,” Hamilton said.

The Land Remains – A Midwestern Perspective On Our Past and Future is published by Ice Cube Press, an independent publisher based in North Liberty, Iowa. In its news release about the book, Ice Cube Press said The Land Remains identifies reasons to be optimistic and the practices that are laying the foundation for addressing climate change.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.