Date of Award


Degree Type



Environmental Science


John Van Buren


The United States has quickly become one of the most industrialized countries in the world. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century brought Americans and immigrants alike employment opportunities in key locations throughout the country. This, in effect, translated into an influx of people living in close quarters; therefore, creating what is referred to today as urban centers. With the rapid growth of the American population and the greater demand for work, large urban areas developed throughout the U.S. landscape. This process, known as urbanization, is defined as the replacement of the rural areas with more urban ones. Urbanization has not only impacted human behavior, but also that of wildlife. Unfortunately, the continuous encroachment of humanity into wildlife habitats into the 21st century shows that urbanization is not coming to an end any time in the near future. It is for this reason that humans must study and understand the negative impacts that urbanization is having on the ecosystem around them. It is only through gaining an understanding of these environmental problems that they will be able to develop the tools and environmental policies to resolve these issues. However, once information is gathered one must apply certain environmental ethics theories to be use as a weighing mechanism in specific environmental crisis. Many of the negative effects of urbanization can be resolved by implementing the principles and values laid out by Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic.” This moral environmental theory places important emphasis on the interdependence and cooperation between humans and the surrounding natural environment. Surprisingly, urbanization is an excellent display of how human beings and the land community intertwine to create a unique, dynamic interconnected ecosystem.