«On the other hand, all creatures are territorial. Even the most far-flying sea birds have their own nesting places that belong to them in a sense, that they come back to, and think of as home. You need some means in the law to safeguard the sense of belonging, of being at home, and to grant people certain privileges, certain rights of self-determination, within their homelands. But the culture also needs to instruct people that they are not the absolute owners of anything, not even of themselves. The Indians, or some of them at least, had the idea that you have to hold yourself responsible to the seventh generation of your descendants. Well, it was once easier to imagine the seventh generation of your descendants than it is now, but it’s never been possible to know the seventh generation. What that requirement does is put you under the pressure and even the guidance of a mystery. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you have to hold yourself responsible to the possibility that the human race will survive and will need the things you have.»
Appalachian Voices, Wendell Berry on sustainability, citizenship and becoming a navie, December 2004.