Deep Ecology

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Deep Ecology/Ecosophy

The ideas behind deep ecology have major implications today. They allow people to think more profoundly about the environment and possibly come to a better understanding of their own meaning. People are intensely concerned about the world’s technological adolescence, massive consumerism, and overpopulation. A man named Arne Naess, former head of the philosophy department at the University of Oslo founded an idea that can direct people’s anxiety away from their "shallow" notion of the problem to one that is much "deeper." "Deep ecology goes beyond the limited piecemeal shallow approach to environmental problems and attempts to articulate a comprehensive religious and philosophical worldview." (EE p.145) In its most basic form, deep ecology is a wisdom, an ecosophy, which requires humans to see themselves as part of the bigger picture. Naess, Devall, and Sessions outline basic principles of deep ecology in their writing. Furthermore, they address the roles that scientific ecology plays as well as the concept of self-realization. Aside from these ideas, ecosabotage needs to be discussed in terms of how it fits with the practice of deep ecology. The basic principles of deep ecology as characterized by the authors mentioned, show us what is supposedly wrong with the world and also give us a framework by which we can make a change. In fact, Naess and Sessions went camping in Death Valley, California in order to gain a different perspective. They condensed fifteen years their thought on the topic of deep ecology in an effort to make it appeal to people from all kinds of backgrounds. They also emphasize that these principles must all be considered together. The first principle states that the value of life, human or non-human, is intrinsic. This means that everything about it is valuable, including individuals, species, populations, habitat, and culture. When considering non-human life, it important to remember that deep ecology likes to include that which can be classified as non-living such as bodies of water and landscapes. Essentially, "the presence of inherent value in a natural object is independent of any awareness, interest, or appreciation of it by a conscious being." (EE p.147) Another principle states that the diversity of life forms contributes to our appreciation of their value, but again, they also have values in and of themselves. The ecological field worker (persons with first hand experience with life forms) is highly aware of this. "To the ecological field worker, the equal right to live and blossom is an intuitively clear and obvious value axiom. Unfortunately, most humans limit this care for humans only, which is a terrible ‘anthropocentrism.’ Modern society has done much to prevent us from relationships with non-human life and thus contributed to our own loss. Diversity improves chances of survival by means of creating new ways to live in many different forms. Deep ecology likes to reevaluate the concept of survival of the fittest to one that preaches harmonious coexistence instead killing and domination. Again, this idea is included in the context of human culture and economy. " ‘Live and let live’ is a more powerful ecological principle than ‘Either you or me’ " (EE p.135) Sessions and Naess make it another principle that humans have no right to reduce richness and diversity of life, except to fulfill vital needs. First-world nations are not going to reduce their negative effects on the non-human world in record breaking time. Strategies need to be adopted to bring about change to get rid of human delusion and laziness on these issues. Time is of great importance, considering the longer we wait the greater the problem will become. Richness and diversity face major losses given the extinction rate in our time is exponentially greater than in the past. A significant decrease in human population...
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