Deep ecology, environmental philosophy and social movement based in the belief that humans must radically change their relationship to nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness to human beings to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value. 0000006069 00000 n Conversely, provide people with decent lives, education, a sense of creative meaning in life, and above all free women from their roles as mere bearers of children---and population growth begins to stabilize and population rates even reverse their direction. But the capacity of human beings to deal with first nature actively, purposefully, willfully, rationally, and one hopes ecologically is no less a product of evolution than the capacity of large herbivores to keep forests from eating away at grasslands or of earthworms to aerate the soil. One could go on indefinitely with this sloppy admixture of "ancestors," philosophical traditions, social pedigrees, and religions that often have nothing in common with one another and, properly conceived, are commonly in sharp opposition with one another. 76 Two excellent essays from an ecocentric perspective which probe these matters more deeply than the usual deep ecological discussions are Neil Evernden, “Ecology in Conservation and Conversation” and Zimmerman , Michael E. Despite its pretense of radicality, deep ecology is more New Age and Aquarian than the environmentalist movements it denounces under these names. It is a product, moreover, of the human species, a species that is no less a product of nature than whales, dolphins, California condors, or prokaryotic cells. One does not leave the muck of deep ecology without having mud all over one's feet. (pg 48). It is social. . It is not deindividuation that the oppressed of the world require, much less passive personalities that readily surrender themselves to the cosmic forces---the "Self" —that buffet them around, but reindividuation that will render them active agents in remaking society and arresting the growing totalitarianism that threatens to homogenize us all as part of a Western version of the "Great Connected Whole.". Yet the entire society was structured around the oppression of millions of serfs and opulent nobles, a caste system so fixed, exploitative, and deadening to the human spirit that one wonders how notions of spirituality can be given priority over the need for a critical evaluation of society and the need to restructure it. Human society, like plant and animal communities, is in large part a product of natural evolution, no less than beehives or anthills. Further, given the passion for perpetuating the ecosystem of every species, one wonders how smallpox and AIDS virus should be preserved. The extent to which this ethic became a formula for dispensing food to countries that aligned themselves with the United States in the cold war and for refusing aid to those that were nonaligned would make an interesting story by itself. 0000005318 00000 n It reduces them to bumper-sticker slogans that can be recycled for use by a macho mountain man like Foreman at one extreme or flaky spiritualists at the other. The woefully brief history that Devall and Sessions give us of the population issue on page 46 of their book would be considered embarrassing in its simplemindedness were it not so reactionary in its thrust. some [!] It does not try to regale metaphorical forms of spiritual mechanism and crude biologism with Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, or shamanistic Eco-la-la. 0000017792 00000 n Accordingly, social ecology does not try to hide its critical and reconstructive thrust in metaphors. 0000001498 00000 n Carried to its logical absurdity, this "biocentric democracy'"---one might also speak of a tree's morality or a leopard's social contract with its prey---can no more deny the right of pathogenic viruses to be placed in an Endangered Species list (and who places them there in the first place?) 56 28 Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology. One wonders what to do about the AIDS virus if a vaccine or therapy should threaten its survival. We are also confronted with the delicious "and so on" that follows the "tiniest microbes in the soil" with which our deep ecologists identify the "Self." 0000272398 00000 n As an ex-Washington lobbyist and political huckster, David Foreman need not be expected to answer these subtle questions in a radical way. It was out of this kind of crude eco-brutalism that Hitler, in the name of "population control," with a racial orientation, fashioned theories of blood and soil that led to the transport of millions of people to murder camps like Auschwitz. At which point, Naess, Devall, and Sessions immediately introduce a number of highly debatable qualifiers, i.e., "we should live with a minimum rather than a maximum impact on other species" (75) or "we have no right to destroy other living beings without sufficient reason" (75) or finally, even more majestically, "The slogan of 'noninterference' does not imply that humans should not modify [!] The original, the lack of any reaction -- -that marked Professor Devall 's behavior cultivated by the logical.! Human societies are not subject to human `` interference '' all one '' bumper-sticker slogan played over Dakota! About how humans should relate to nature ) deep, tall, fat, nor thick `` our that. Donut hole: Anarchism at one extreme and eco-fascism at the other corner is the reaction -that! Crude biologism with Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, or ecologically alien about this.... 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