Talk:Deep ecology

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October 2013 Update - Corrected Criticisms[edit]

Firstly, the Bookchin reference in the Social ecological criticism was completely inaccurate. In fact Bookchin actually argues that deep ecology is actually too deep, not what was claimed that it was "not deep enough." Was completely misquoted. Secondly, I moved the misconceptions bit to the criticism section because the anti-humanist debate is a fair one and by suggesting that it is a misconception, it is subjective and not objective. So to be fair, I've changed it to anti-humanist interpretations (obviously those criticising don't believe it to be a 'misconception'). I've also included a very brief reference to Heidegger in this bit because I think it is appropriate in the context it is given. If you read the reference, you'll see Heidegger is an interesting deep ecologist thinker. He is not the only one, but it sums up some of the criticism in this regard. Please don't remove it (as below) because it is important to understand the debate within the ecology movement. No one is saying Heidegger invented deep ecology or is one of its most prominent figures, but he is involved. I've also added references to refute the anti-humanist claim. FYI, we are currently debating this at University, so I thought I'd try and make this section a bit more accurate. Huzzad (talk) 02:00, 19 October 2013 (UTC)


Under Criticisms > interests in nature, there is a typo, but I can't figure out what word was intended to be there. The sentence now reads > " However, the overarching criticism assumes that humans, in governing their own affairs, are somehow isent from this same assumption; i.e. how can governing humans truly presume to understand the interests of the rest of humanity." The typo in questions is 'isent'. Is the intended word 'excluded' ? The meaning of the paragraph is unclear with this typo in place. SashaGolden (talk) 21:03, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

The section on Movement, it mentions the 'creation of ecoregions.' We don't actually create ecoregions. More accurately we identify with ecoregions instead of political regions. As I am very new to editing in Wikipedia, I am not sure about making this change but wonder if someone else who has been working on this article agrees and might want to make the change? SashaGolden (talk) 20:56, 5 December 2011 (UTC) I made this edit. SashaGolden (talk) 18:51, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

The section on spirituality needs more detail to be clear. For instance, the term re-earthing needs more explanation or an external link to explain. I am new to wikipedia and don't know how to insert a citation and link, but this page seems like a good one to help understand re-earthing if someone agrees with me and knows how to insert it. SashaGolden (talk) 20:49, 5 December 2011 (UTC)OK I just went ahead and did this. SashaGolden (talk) 18:42, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

A obvious question: What makes deep ecology any less anthropocentric than mainstream environmentalism? deep ecology is entrenched in deeply human values, and is very close ideologically to liberal 'rights' politics. 'utilitarian anthropocentric enviromentalism' or however they deride it is not as bad as mystifying nature by anthropomorphizing it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Modification :

(The philosophy emphasizes the interdependent value of human and non-human life as well as the importance of the ecosystem) instead of (The philosophy emphasizes the "equal" value of human and non-human life as well as the importance of the ecosystem)

The term equality is too extreem and conter-productive for the spirit of the theory and the appeal of the article for further reading because :

  • 1 Equallity is often seen as very strict when the theory is talking about an as best as possible equilibrium between the different life forms, so yes we need to reproduce less to allow other forms of life to strive, but yes we can kill a carrot to eat it :-)
  • 2 If a human being can eat vegetables and other form of life (not talking about animals here), it's difficult to see any sort of equality between the food and the consummers!
  • 3 For natural predators like wolfs (not getting into the difficult subject of human vegetarisms), they obviously would keep their right to kill something to eat, so once again, is it really reasonnable to talk about equality between a wolf and a rabbit when the 1st can eat the 2nd! But definitelly about complementarity because none is more important than the others and they are interdependant albeit in a biaised way, because herbivorous could probably survive without predation (ending up starving in places because of lack of food), like plant would be fine for a long period without any predation (just keep the bees and a few others insects, geological events and a few fires would keep CO2 at surviving level, especially because O2 would increase and the risk of fire with it). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

This opening statement for this page seems very Eurocentric: "Deep ecology is a recent branch of ecological philosophy (ecosophy) that considers humankind as an integral part of its environment" since humans on the North American continent seem to have considered humankind as an integral part of its environment" in times that predate European diffusion. Elrey 23:18, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Where is the citation for this quote: 'the right of all forms [of life] to live is a universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species.' I'd venture that it's from 'Ecology, community, and lifestyle' but I've not a copy so I can't verify. And does anyone know what it was in the original Norwegian?

There is a call for citation for the following: "Næss and Fox do not use logic or induction to derive the philosophy directly from scientific ecology" I've got a hunch that the citation is from pp 39 or 42 from the following book, which I no longer have access to: Bodkin, Daniel B. (2000). No Man's Garden: Thoreau and a New Vision for Civilization and Nature. Shearwater Books. pp. 42,39. ISBN 1559634650 I couldn't see those pages on Google book search. Let me know if someone can verify. The other possible citation is from Klaus Bosselmann When Two Worlds Collide: Society and Ecology which I was also referencing at the time I wrote that Muxxa 12:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

This "misunderstand scientific information and then arrive at conclusions based on their misunderstanding, which are in turn used as justification for their ideologies. Both begin with an ideology and are political and social in focus." .. is on page 42 KAM 21:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Summary of June 2005 Rewriting[edit]

  • Emphasizing Deep Ecology as a philosophy rather than a movement. (earlier authors portrayed it as a movement that died off which was misrepresenting it)
  • Previous material moved to a section critical of DE. This section expanded and elaborated on.

The following section added: Scientific basis:

  • ecology
  • systems theory etc.

Metaphysical/ Spiritual basis

  • Naess: "The furthur we identify with other entities, the more we realise our selves.
  • compassion and empathy
  • Intrinsic values

Thanks for the great work, Muxxa and Viriditas! JimR 08:18, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Monkey Wrench Gang[edit]

Has anyone read this? Is it relevant here?

<snip>Many of the ideas of deep ecology have been expounded in the book The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. The book, a fictional account of ecotage directed against dams, influenced Earth First!.</snip>

I'd like to put this under a literature section, although I'm not sure if this isn't more appropriate on the earth first! page? Muxxa 06:22, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

In order to better address this question, I am currently rereading the book. --Viriditas | Talk 05:52, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I would say not. The Monkey Wrench Gang, and Abbey in general, are ecocentric but not really the same thing as Deep Ecology. Abbey's working class attitudes and background are the chief source of the difference. I'll have to pull up some academic and book references to know for sure which ones support this view of mine, but one that I read drew a sharp distinction between Abbey (and Dave Foreman) with their ecocentric yet still working class orientation - sort of a "rednecks for wilderness" movement - and the academic or philosophical (hence very un-working class) Deep Ecology movement, despite the two co-existing (during the 1980s, at least) within Earth First!. Kaibabsquirrel 9 July 2005 06:10 (UTC)

I know this is an old comment but I think it should go back in. A LOT of the deep ecology works I've been reading mention Dave Foreman. --Salix alba (talk) 22:45, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Relationship to Ecofeminism and Social Ecology[edit]

Deep Ecology advocates like Fritjof Capra continue to develop its viewpoints and authors like George Sessions, Dolores LaChapelle, and Gary Snyder have dealt with its relation to other movements like Social Ecology and Ecofeminism.

I've removed the following as it is a bit incomprehensible, and the aspects to do with social ecology are mentioned in the criticism section, as well as another link to the Gaia Theory (Science) earlier in the article. Muxxa 06:23, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There has been considerable debate among North American Greens between advocates of deep ecology and advocates of the social ecology of Murray Bookchin. These are distinguishable from the more limited and generic view of a deep ecology which includes human beings as an inherent organ of Earth, the Gaia philosophy which sees the Earth itself as one living thing, and the more limited goals of the scientific ecology movement, political environmental movement, and aesthetic conservation movement.

I've just realised that the original author was describing the ecology movement as scientific, the env. movement as political etc.,.. could this be worked in to the current article? Or should these observations be sent to their respective articles? Muxxa 06:29, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The section "deep ecology as not 'deep' enough makes two uncited and misleading claims. First, social ecology does not maintain that "an ecologically sustainable society could still be socially exploitative." Bookchin emphasizes again and again that the ecological criis cannot be solved by an exploitative society. Second, I'm not sure what this statement means: "Deep ecologists reject the argument that ecological behavior is rooted in the social paradigm (according to their view, that is an anthropocentric fallacy)." Social ecologists don't claim that society invented ecology. But if "ecological behavior" is supposed to read "human behavior," then I imagine the sentence is flat-out wrong. Of course deep ecologists think that people act as we do because of the "social paradigm!" Otherwise, the expansion of self would be a meaningless ide. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:57, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Link to terrist[edit]

Since Terrist redirects to Terrorism despite the discussion in Talk:Terrist, I propose to remove the link to Terrist from Deep ecology. JimR 00:15, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

  • I agree. Although, if there is a reason we're not aware of to include the link to Terrist, it should at least point to Talk:Terrist to minimize confusion. Jmeppley 01:06, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I've now removed the link, and put a comment in Talk:Terrist suggesting that if there is a real Terrist article some time in the future, the link to Deep ecology could be re-instated. JimR 01:10, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Should these links be now reinstated? Muxxa 03:34, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Peter Singer[edit]

What of Peter Singer? I thought he was at the forefront of this yet I see no mention. crcarter

I don't see any concrete relationship (from the article) between Peter Singer and deep ecology. Singer is described as a utilitarian which doesn't cohese with the intrinsic rights of deep ecology (rights independant of e.g. an organisms use). Muxxa 04:40, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Animal Liberation added to my reading list. --Viriditas | Talk 05:54, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Again I think this should go back in. There are strong parallels between deep ecology and the animal rights movement

Fundamental to Green thinking are the linked concepts of deep ecology and animal liberation. Proponants of such ideas argue that 'All life has intrinsic value' - Wall

--Salix alba (talk) 22:52, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I suspect Dr Singer would protest the term, but there is a parallel there, but in a round about way. What Dr Singer argues against, is the arbitrary priveleging of Humans over animalkind, and he arives there by his first (and most controversial) question; "What Makes HUMANS intrinsically valuable, that isn't also true of Animals?". Well, the answer really is "Not much". You have two ways of responding to that then. Misanthropy (un-ethics), or building an ethics of caring for animals and nature (ethics). But he DOESN'T say nature has *intrinsic value*. He's a Utilitarian. Instead he questions whether anything REALLY has intrinsic value, other than suffering and perhaps happiness. I'm not sure he'd mesh so well with Joanna Macy's Thinking like a Mountain, philosophically speaking.

Category: Ecology or Environmentalism?[edit]

I have changed Category:Ecology back to Category:Environmentalism on the grounds that Deep Ecology is a philosophy leading to an environmental movement, rather than a part of the scientific discipline of ecology. -- JimR 05:22, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Quite correct. Not about ecology itself, but the socio-political uses of ecology. --Wetman 07:56, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Nature in human terms?[edit]

Spencerk added this paragraph to the Criticisms section on 5 October 2005:

Deep Ecology is also criticised for trying to understand nature in human terms. A flower is said to be blossoming when it looks the nicest, a mountain is said to be great when it has been unchanged for centuries. These are human qualities given to nature, and may not represent the supposed views of the environment.

(See diff.)

I'm afraid I don't agree that this criticism has been or can be made of deep ecology. On the contrary — deep ecology criticises other viewpoints such as the wise use movement and even environmental economics for treating the environment as a resource for human use and management rather than as an end in itself.

If this paragraph is to remain, I'd like to see some references indicating where the suggested criticism has been made, or alternatively justification for the criticism in the form of quotations from supporters of deep ecology along the "blossoming" or "great" lines Spencerk mentions. -- JimR 05:41, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

  • hi JimR. i agree that the point is sort of weak. my professor made it in class. i know its sort of ironic criticising deep ecologists of 'trying to understand nature in human terms', because thats sortof the opposite of what they're goin for. I'll delete the edit for now and try to develop it. my point is something along the lines that deep ecologists assign interests to nature, but its hard to say what nature's interests really are. Like how does a deep ecologist know what a flower wants? (assuming it is able to 'want' something). I think Naess explains that once a person identifies with nature, they have a feeling for what nature wants, and not just what they want nature to be. My criticism lies somewhere in there. Nonetheless, deep ecology is a contraversial topic and i think the criticism section should support this.

(Previous entry by Spencerk 10 October 2005)

Hi Spencer. Sorry for the long delay in a further response. I like your reorganization of the criticism section ... except that I think that the historical debate in the late 1980s between ecofeminists and deep ecologists needs to be recognized explicitly, so I restored the earlier paragraph about that. (See [1] for example.)

Your new Interests paragraph formulates your earlier criticism well. I did find one web reference that is relevant to this. Joff's essay "The Possibility of an Anti-Humanist Anarchism", in the section "The Concept of Hierarchy", at [2] contains this statement:

Bookchin's objection to this form of reasoning [self-realisation merging with the whole] is that the inscription of the "self" onto inorganic phenomena is in fact an anthropomorphic gesture.

Joff's notes are not clearly marked in the web essay, but he seems to be referring to Bookchin's Remaking Society or Re-enchanting Humanity. Perhaps a suitable quotation or reference for the Interests subsection can be found in one of these books. -- JimR 06:22, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

There seems to be a confusion between
  1. Anthropocentric: In which only humans are deemed to have "interests", and human interests are equated with the interests of all life (Similar to androcentric where male interests are considered generic for all humans).
  2. Anthropomorphic: When human behaviours, motives or emotions are imputed for non humans.
  3. Anthropogenic: Which is created by humans
Deep ecology is an anthropogenic philosophy that aims to avoid anthropomorphism, and is anti-anthropocentric. John D. Croft (talk) 17:32, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • hello. with ecofeminist stuff, good, lets keep it. on that article, thank you. i added a quote, but added bookchin in the 'see also' part. i cant read anything else heavy tonight. ive seen in some articles where they tag a description on the non-obvious "see also's", what do you think about that happening on this page? how did you find such a good reference for the interests criticism? you must be well read on this stuff. anyways, its someone elses turn now, im feeling too balsy for changing it all. Spencerk 08:28, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

The description on the See also entry seems a good idea, though I hadn't seen previous examples: could you give one or two page references? It works well on the Bookchin link. I think I found the Joff article from a Google search for "deep ecology anthropomorphism"; you're right, it's pretty heavy reading, I'm still only half way through! Don't feel you've gone too far: your re-organization and subsections are just the being bold that Wikipedia thrives on! -- JimR 09:34, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Besides, why would anyone suppress a descriptive phrase designed to orient the reader? Go for it! (I'm also all for "Compare" sections following "See also", where a linked article presents a contrast rather than related specifics.)--Wetman 16:43, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

'Deep' Ecology[edit]

"Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it asks complex and spiritual questions about the role of human life in the ecosphere."

Is this for real? I thought this was vandalism at first, but after reading the rest of the article I don't know what to think. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 10 March 2006.

This seems to me a good statement of why "deep" is in the term. There is more about this, and some references (thanks to Salix alba), in the Deepness section of the article. -- JimR 03:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think this explanation of "deep" is the same as the "deepness" explanation later in the article. This part of the article pretty-much says deep ecology is "deep" because it thinks about deep things. But in the deepness section, the article (very briefly) contrasts two ways of thinking or applying ecological principals: an application, intended for some specific goal vs. a strictly philosophical ethos about nature itself. If I understand it right, examples of "shallow" ecology might be agricultural use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to get rid of bugs, or fisheries biologists using catch limits to maximize fish production. Both of these examples use ecological knowledge to maximize resources for human uses. But "deep" ecology would protect fish just because they are wild animals - not because they are food resources. Likewise, it might want to get rid of certain pests if they threaten biodiversity, but not because they threaten to reduce crop production.

Any philosophical point of view asks "deep" questions. Claiming that "deep ecology" asks deep questions does not disinguish it from any other philosophical point of view. To me, the label "deep ecology" has a pompous sound and was a poor choice right from the beginning. But now it's got that label and adherents are stuck with it. My suggestion is that this article should acknowledge the seemingly pompous nature of its name and then offer more detail about the intent. I would suggest expanding on the "deepness" section in this paragraph.


-SW Scott D. White 06:31, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Your characterisation of pomposity for the term may have a point, but if it's only a personal view, rather than encylopedic, it shouldn't go in the article — that would seem like original research. To me, the two explanations for using the term "deep" (in the intro and in the Criticisms: Deepness section) are closely related. It is called "deep ecology" not to distinguish among philosophical points of view, but to distinguish it as a philosophical point of view, as opposed to the standpoint of shallow ecology which is political, instrumental or practical rather than consciously philosophical. -- JimR 06:57, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Jim, I suggest editing the sentence mostly using your wording, maybe as follows below. I don't feel qualified to edit ideas in this page, because I haven't read the DE literature (though I may try to clean up some grammar/wording, below). If I understand you correctly, I think this might convey the right idea and avoid criticisms I and the earlier commentor had.

"Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" to distinguish itself as a philosophical point of view, as opposed to ecology (a branch of biological science) or "shallow ecology," a political or practical point of view (see "deepness," below). "

Best, Scott D. White 02:24, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I've had a try along the lines you suggest, but without mentioning "shallow ecology" which is subsidiary, or providing a link to the Deepness section which doesn't seem quite appropriate here in the Introduction and before the Contents. It now reads:
Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it is concerned with fundamental philosophical questions about the role of human life as one part of the ecosphere, in distinction to ecology as a branch of biological science, and to merely utilitarian environmentalism based on the well-being of humans alone.
However, I'm worried that much of this rewritten last sentence of the Intro is now just rehashing what's already been said about anthropocentrism. -- JimR 06:35, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Jim, I think it's a real improvement. It doesn't seem redundant to me. Best, - 04:56, 18 April 2006 (UTC) Oops, that was me. I forgot to sign in. Best, -Scott D. White 04:48, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Pure opinion[edit]

Ecology has shown us that ecosystems exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium, and can absorb only limited change by humans, or any environmental actor. Environmentalists contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from homeostasis through reduction of biodiversity and climate change. A consequence of this analysis is that the prevailing ideology of western civilization is leading to mass extinction. This has prompted the need for new philosophical paradigms, such as deep ecology, which can guide human activity against perceived self-destruction.

I think this should be phrased as "Deep ecology is that school of thought that holds that ecology has shown us ...". This sentence (for a start) assumes that there are such things as "ecosystems", which is not an uncontroversial point. That "ecologies" exist in a "homeostatsis" might also be contended, as might the assumption that this is a good thing, or that humans ought to act so as to preserver the current homeostatis. After all, can't we argue that things going extinct is part of a broader dynamic equilibrium?

Also, it rather strikes me that it is not "ideology" that is leading to mass extinctions, but oil burning, strip mining, urbanisation and so on. The idea that these activities are the result of an "ideology", is something that might be argued about.

You are right that the word 'ideology' is completely incorrect here... however the point of this piece was that the deep ecological analysis puts the blame on an underlying philosophy (Rationalism, or perhaps the lack of a philosophy), and that to halt oil burning etc., you have answer the question why not burn oil. Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

A shopper dives and SUV to a mall. A developer drains a swamp to build cardboard waterfront housing. Are they operating from an "ideology"? Is it the same "ideology"? Is greed an "ideaology", or is it just the way bad people are? If it's an ideology, which seems to me to be an academic thing that would need to be conciously held, how is it that even very stupid people can be greedy and selfish?

If you asked them why they are being greedy or selfish, they would probably reply that they are behaving rationally :) Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Also ... is a contention that "massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from homeostasis through reduction of biodiversity and climate change" also an analysis? What is an "analysis", in this context, anyway? I suppose the analysis is that the observables (things going extinct, penguins being poisoned in oil spills) are caused by an observable prevailing ideology.

Is that "the prevailing ideology of western civilization is leading to mass extinction" a consequence of the analysis itself, or is this passage trying to say that this is a conculsion that the "analysis" leads to? IOW: the paragraph parses oddly, as if it is the ecologists analysing things that is causing the ideology to cause extinctions.

It might also be nice to articulate, also, what this ideology is, who hold it and how, and the mechanisms by which an abstract thing like an ideology might lead to such a concrete thing as an extinction event.

IOW: this paragraph may be trying to say something, but the more you try to parse it, the more it looks like word salad. Can someone literate in english please try to fix it? I can't do it: I have a disorganised mind. —This unsigned comment was added by Pmurray (talkcontribs) 3 April 2006.

You are right, it doesn't parse, I wish I had the refs from when I originally researched this, I think it was Botkin Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)


I am a rank beginner here, but I largely agree with Pmurray's comments. I suggest some editing, as follows:

The science of Ecology

[I think it's important to distinguish ecology as a science from environmentalism as a political point of view, since the two are often confused in the press and in the public eye]

shows us that ecosystems

[this word should be OK, it has its own page on Wikipedia, where disbelievers can express their views]

exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium

[I would recommend citing ecological literature here, such as Stuart Pimm, Daniel Botkin, or any of many others],

and can absorb only limited change by humans, or any environmental actor

[is this incompatible with "dynamic equilibrium"? How or why?]

Environmentalists contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from homeostasis

[homeostasis is the dead opposite of dynamic equilibrium. Most modern ecological thinking has dropped the whole notion of homeostasis (harmony, balance, etc.) in favor of dynamic equilibrium]

Living Systems Theory of science proposes that living systems spontaneously change/evolve to higher order precisely "because they exist far from equilibrium." "homeostatic harmony" is by definition of Homeostasis preferable in the main description over the "balance" of equilibrium. In the interest of scientific clarity, i'm going to be so bold as to make this change. I hope i added this to the talk correctly, — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jazmine Phoenix (talkcontribs) 03:01, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

through reduction of biodiversity and climate change. A consequence of this analysis

[as Pmurray points out, the contention (earlier) has somehow turned into an analysis. This is rhetorical slight of hand and should be revised. Environmentalists are not necessarily scientists. The sentence could read "environmentalists *further contend* . . . " but that wouldn't carry much meaning or show any need for tangible action. A better strategy would be to revise this whole point to state what science has shown]

is that the prevailing ideology

[Pmurray is right again. The problem isn't so much a prevailing ideology as it is prevailing behavior]

[Would I be right in saying that deep ecology challenges prevailing ideologies, while political movements challenge behaviour? Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)]

of western civilization

[eastern civilization isn't burning up oil or destroying topsoil? This crack gratituously demonizes a straw-man villian]

['prevailing ideology of western civilization' was originally a reference to Rationalism, which is Western as opposed to Eastern, and is the philosophy that is challenged by deep ecology on a philosophical basis. This wasn't a cheap shot at western actions, but at the logic of industrialisation, which is shared by civilisations all around the world. Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)]

is leading to mass extinction.

[I'd say that civilization has in fact caused mass extinction, and continues to do so. That may be arguable on the semantic point of how many extinctions qualify as "mass" but it's otherwise factual. It should probably be stated as a fact and supported with an appropriate citation]


[in this sentence, the pronoun 'this' refers back to the "Environmentalists' contention" ("analysis"). At least some of the problems environmentalists identify are demonstrably real, and should not be minimzed as "contentions."]

has prompted the need for new philosophical paradigms, such as deep ecology, which can guide human activity against perceived self-destruction.

[Are people really guided by philosophical paradigms? If Deep Ecology's purpose is to save humanity from itself, then isn't it a political program instead of a philosophy? I think it's much more likely that "Deep Ecology" exists because some philosophers like to think and write about it.]


-SW Scott D. White 06:31, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm interested in your point that "homeostasis is the dead opposite of dynamic equilibrium". It's not clear to me that this is borne out by the existing articles Homeostasis and Dynamic equilibrium. Would you like to cite some references or provide further explanation of this? -- JimR 09:59, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Not "equilibirum". Living Systems Theory tells us that living systems spontaneously change/evolve precisely because they exist in states "far from equilibrium," specifically, in states that are "chaotic" which scientifically means "nonlinear organization." Sincerely, Jazmine Phoenix (talk) 02:38, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Jim, I may have messed up my terminology. My understanding of homeostasis is a constant state (e.g., mammals maintain pretty-much constant temperature, constant pH, constant salinity, etc. in their cells and plasma). Perhaps "Dynamic equilibrium" is similar, with the added complexity of ecological succession. E.g., a forest may burn down in a natural wildfire, and progress through a series of states to eventually become a forest again. The succession concept is valid in ecology, but some interpretations of it are very outdated (the concept advocated by Clements in the 1920s) though they persist in popular interpretations.

What I was really thinking about when I wrote the comment was the thesis of Daniel Botkin's book, _Discordant Harmonies_. It presents relatively modern ecological interpretation for non-specialist readers. Botkin advoates replacing the concept of a "balance of nature" with "flux of nature."

Anyway, my point is that nature, even if it isn't disturbed by humans, does not remain constant. Change is not inherently unnatural. I have no doubt that human-caused changes to many natural systems have been catastrophic, and that all indications are that these changes will worsen as time goes on. My suggestion is to try to rephrase the point to highlight the differences of scale (in time and scope) between human-caused changes since the industrial revolution vs. natural changes over a much longer time period.


-SW Scott D. White 07:35, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

On the last point
Are people really guided by philosophical paradigms? If Deep Ecology's purpose is to save humanity from itself, then isn't it a political program instead of a philosophy? I think it's much more likely that "Deep Ecology" exists because some philosophers like to think and write about it.
The impact of Deep Ecology does extend beyond some philosophers. The Earth First! momement and many radical environmental activists have been inspired by deep ecology as witnessed by the slogan "No compramise in defence of mother earth!". The rewilding movement also draws upon deep ecology. I would say it is used both a political program and a philosophical paradime, in particular the political program draws upon a value system established by the philosophy. --Salix alba (talk) 11:01, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

There is a chicken/egg probelem, though. Did EarthFirst! adherents come to their activist viewpoints by reading Deep Ecology, or did they find out after the fact that Deep Ecology offers intellectual legitimacy to their "rednecks for wilderness" views (see Monkey Wrench Gang, above). There are a lot of environmental activist organizations and views. If Deep Ecology is the same as Environmental Activism, then maybe it should simply be labeled such. If not, then the article should explain how it is different.

The EarthFirst! slogan, "No compromise in defence of mother earth!" is entirely compatible with Deep Ecology principal #7, which advocates a substantial decrease in human population. Yet (so far as I know) EarthFirst and other environmental advocates, including me, do not advocate mass extermination of humans. This is a compromise. Does Deep Ecology make the same compromise?

Was the value system really established by the philosophy? Did John Muir (1838-1914) hold the "deep ecology" value system? Did that value system develop over time into modern Deep Ecology? At what point did this value system need a new name?

I don't claim to be a "deep ecologist," though I generally agree with the principals outlined on the web page. I'm not very familiar with its literature. But I would like to understand it. For the sake of the Wikipedia article, I don't think the conclusion in this paragraph works very well. It seems to be saying that Deep Ecology exists to guide humans in sorting out ecological problems. To me, the difference between philosophy and politics is similar to the difference between "deep" and "shallow" ecology as explained in "deepness" in the article. Politics (shallow) exists for utilitarian purposes (to encourage people to act a certain way); philosophy exists strictly for its own sake.

Is Deep Ecology just Shallow Philosophy? (I don't mean to be a wet blanket here - I'm just trying to understand the DE ideas and help you guys improve the article)


-SW Scott D. White 07:35, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

The history of an idea is always complex, it could probably be traced back to Thoreau. Pete Singer and the development of animal liberation/rights also seems worthy of mention. In
Green History by Derek Wall Routaledge (1994) ISBN 0-415-07925-X
Wall links deep ecology with: hunter-gatherers, easter relegions, Pythagorus, Ovid, Blake, Shelley and even Henery Salt. Aldo Leopold land ethic gets a special mention. Lovelock's Gaia is also linked, but different.
You are correct in that deep ecology, is often used just as a handel to express a certain range of concepts [3] is worth a scan through, esp p.15 and 16.
Yes the article does need work, much is presented as fact rather than this is the view of .... You could try WP:BOLD.

--Salix alba (talk) 09:22, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Salix, Well I tried being bold, and rewrote the whole paragraph. I'm posting it here instead of in the article because I only want to clarify the meaning without accidently mis-describing DE. It's a pretty extensive re-write, and I hope it's accurrate. Would you mind taking a look? Thanks, Scott D. White 04:32, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Deep ecology offers a philosophical basis for environmental advocacy which may, in turn, guide human activity against perceived self-destruction. Deep ecology and environmentalism hold that the science of ecology shows that ecosystems can absorb only limited change by humans or other external influences. Further, both hold that the actions of modern civilization threaten global ecological well-being. Over the years, ecologists have desribed change and stability in ecological systems in various ways, including homeostasis, dynamic equilibrium, and "flux of nature" (Botkin, 1990, below). Regardless which model is most accurate, environmentalists contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from its natural state through reduction of biodiversity, climate change, and other influences. As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction. Deep ecologists hope to influence social and political change through their philosophy.
Botkin, Daniel B. 1990. Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford Univ. Press, NY, NY. ISBN 0-19-507469-6.

Looks good to me. --Salix alba (talk) 10:26, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

OK. So I replaced the old paragraph with this one tonite. Thanks for looking at it. Best, -Scott D. White 04:48, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I've never written anything that has been so expertly deconstructed.. great work! What I'd object to is the sentence 'As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction' My original intention could be paraphrased as 'The deep ecological analysis blames Rationalism for the underlying trends towards mass extinction' Muxxa 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

the whole system[edit]

The ethics of deep ecology holds that a whole system is morally superior to any of its parts.

For instance, a whole flamethrower is morally superior to its barrel, it's nozzle, its fuel tank and so on considered as individual parts. Same applies to tanks, landmines, gallows etc.

For heaven's sake: the people who formulated "deep ecology" can't possibly have been so silly as to have said something as vapid as this. Can someone please fix it so as to more accurately reflect what they meant? —This unsigned comment was added by Pmurray (talkcontribs) 3 April 2006.

  • I'm inclined to agree. I've removed "morally": is that all right now? -- JimR 11:07, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

-- I think what I originally meant was something along the lines of:

Ethically, when making decisions which affect our environment, deep ecology holds that there is a moral imperative to favour decisions which don't jeopardise an entire system, rather than, e.g. decisions which favour human interests alone, as humans are seen as just a part of that system.

I don't have access to the original literature that prompted me to write the statement in question at the moment though. Muxxa 12:46, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Biological chauvinism?[edit]

The following subsection of Criticisms, entitled Biological Chauvinism, was added by Ecto on 29 March 2006:

Deep ecology has also been criticized for recognizing the inherent value of all biological life while at the same time ignoring the inherent value of inanimate matter and empty space, despite the movement's claims of being non-anthropocentric. This placement of value upon biological life and projection of worthlessness upon everything else in the universe simply because human beings are living things makes deep ecology a form of biological chauvinism, these critics argue, which is merely an extension of anthropocentrism. According to these critics, deep ecology places value upon all life because humans are a form of life, so deep ecology's claims of being non-anthropocentric are dubious at best.

On 2 April 2006, I added a Citation Needed tag, but none has been provided. I propose deleting this subsection as unreferenced, and indeed as perhaps a joke. There is a non-trivial point here, but with no reference, it's not clear that deep ecology can be criticised about it. For example, river systems and limestone cave formations are non-living instances of complexity, but no evidence is presented that deep ecologists deny or ignore their value, or "project worthlessness" on them. -- JimR 07:21, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

  • i agree it needs a citation, but i say leave it up whith the tag, my prof has used that argument a bunch of times (even though its kinda silly)Spencerk 17:36, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

The point of the Citation Needed tag is not to stay there permanently, but to establish whether anybody can substantiate the statement tagged by providing a reference. If they don't, it tends to cast doubt on whether the statement is a documented fact or point of view, rather than original research. You're quite right, Spencer — it is a silly argument, or as I said, a joke. Wikipedia doesn't need to contain every offhand and easily refutable criticism made verbally in people's classes. Unless someone provides a reasonably authoritative reference showing that this criticism has actually been levelled against deep ecology in a reputable source, I still propose to delete the subsection. -- JimR 07:14, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I removed the section. There is a lot of evidence to the contary, books called thinking like a mountain have been written and Naess once tied himself to a fiord to sucessfully campain against a dam. There are many other instances of action to protect places and not just the living things. Deep Ecology seems to be about nature in its widest form, to chaterise this as just life I feel is to misunderstand the concept. --Salix alba (talk) 10:23, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Other influences[edit]

  • I'd like to add a section documenting similar trends before Naess. I'm still trying to collect ideas on the matter, here what I have to date.

The ideas behind deep ecology pre-dated Næss and many earlier authors expressed similar sentiments. Primarily among these were Thoreau who famous 1845 book Walden described his deep connection with nature after spending two years around Walden Pond. Earth Book I: Walden-Thoreau's Emergent Deep Ecology Intratext among 127,000 google hits for Thoreau+'deep+ecology'

Deep ecology as described by Aldo Leopold (1887-1949) and Jon Muir (1838-1914) cares for plants and the soil; reverence is extended from animals to all life.... Muir claimed that wilderness heals humanity and illustrated how it was under assault. Leopold outlined a land ethic that sought to liberate the soil from the vivisection of overdevelopment. - Wall

Næss was deeply influenced by Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring.(ref: Deep Ecology & Anachism and elsewhere)

Ed Ricketts was a marine biologist in California in the 1930s and 1940s; he was a close friend of John Steinbeck's. Ricketts aficianados sometimes credit him with anticipating the "deep ecology" ideas. I think this is mostly based on an essay called "non-telological thinking" which appears in the Steinbeck/Ricketts book, Log from the Sea of Cortez, as the Easter Sunday log entry. I've been curious what Deep Ecologists think (if anything) about this link. I love to see commentary. Best, Scott D. White 03:16, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

cites for another criticism[edit]

I have two cites to the criticism (the notion of intrinsic value" I added: 1) 2)The Teaching Company - "ideas in politics" Lecture 14/15, Dr. Jeremy Shearmur

Martin Heidegger[edit]

Not sure about the relavance of Heidegger, got to dash but for the time beine here is an interesting ref [4] --Salix alba (talk) 17:26, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I completely agree. In fact, since Deep ecology is ethical more than it is epistemological or metaphysical, I think references to Heidegger or misleading and inappropriate in light of Heidegger's sketchy history. Especially for the first paragraph, and especially considering that so many other thinkers are much more influencial to the movement. -Ramsey Affifi

For the record, the section removed, apparently by Ramsey, read as follows:

Certain elements of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly his critique of technocratic reason, have also been held to tie in with deep ecological principles.[1][2][3]
  1. ^ Heidegger, Postmodern Theory and Deep Ecology in Zimmerman, Michael (1994). Contesting Earth's Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity. University of California Press. 
  2. ^ Arne Næss (1997). "Heidegger, Postmodern Theory and Deep Ecology". Trumpeter. 14 (4). Retrieved 2006-05-04. 
  3. ^ DeLuca, Kevin Michael (2005). "Thinking with Heidegger: Rethinking Environmental Theory and Practice". Ethics & the Environment. 10 (1): 67–87. Retrieved 2006-04-25. 

I'd like to ask Ramsey: did you look at the references? At least [2] and [3] (I haven't seen [1]) do provide substantial explanations of the connection between Heidegger's thought and deep ecology. For this reason, I think the paragraph should be re-instated. -- JimR 11:43, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm quite ambvilent about this. So a couple of academics have found a link between the two, is it significant? I did a quick google search and there seems to be alot of articles mentioning the two, many arre by Zimmermann but others include:
  • "Homage to Heidegger.", Paul Shepard, Deep Ecology. Ed. Michael Tobias. San Diego: Avant Books, 1985: 206-212. (Titled If you care about Nature you can't go on hating the Germans like this, in my 1988 copy)
  • Deep Ecology and Heideggerian Phenomenology, Matthew Antolick MA Thesis. [5]
  • Section on Heidegger and Deep Ecology in Land Ethics, Animal Rights, and Process Theology by Jay B. McDaniel [6]
So on the whole I think it should stay, possibly expanded to discuss links with general postmodernism. Quite a bit of reference is made to Heidegger's ontology as a philosophical basis of DE. --Salix alba (talk) 15:42, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Ramsey here, Look... I don't deny that Heidegger had some deep ecology strands in his thought. So did Hitler. My point is simply that there are a host of other, more directly influencial people to the movement... why haven't Thoreau or Muir or Emerson been mentioned? Or more modern figures, such as Fritjof Capra or Wendell Berry or Max Oeschlaeger? If we are trying to contextualize the movement in a small space, it doesn't help to make references that are 1) spuriously identified even in the page about Heidegger, 2) that ignore more important figures and 3) that are attached to figures with fascist political histories -this last is important because it immediately colours the average reader's interpretation of the movement. For the record, I did erase it, but I didn't mean to... I just did it to see if I could (not believing it was possible)... and then I couldn't get it back. Though I must say, I think it is more correct without it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by .

I agree with this. It would be far better to include thinkers who are more directly influential to the movement. Sunray 06:54, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Definate agree on the inclusion of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Aldo Leopold. Its on my todo list to write a section on these early influences, however if you want to write a section that would be great.
Fritjof Capra already listed at the end and I've just included Wendell Berry. I've not heard of Max Oelschlaeger, but he does seem to have written extensively on wilderness.
I would say that the links with postmodernism are very important. Re-evaluation and deconstruction our value systems seems to a common theme between the two. --Salix alba (talk) 07:51, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Please everybody, be bold and add the material you say should be included! I never think that the argument "A should be in the article, but B has more reason to be in the article and B isn't there, so let's remove A" has any weight. The answer is not to remove A (Heidegger in this case) but to add B (Thoreau, Muir, etc). Somebody has already done the work of adding Heidegger. Don't undo that, but instead do some positive work yourselves and add more. Also note that there's a possibility of POV in omitting a connection with Heidegger on the grounds of his fascism (not that I like that any more than anyone else does). Since Ramsey (please use four tildes to sign your talk postings by the way) has said he removed the section without meaning to, and the extra references Salix Alba has mentioned above support a connection with Heidegger, I'm reinstating it. -- JimR 08:02, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

The point was: Heidegger does not belong in this article (unless we are saying that everything relates to deep ecology). Sunray 14:54, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Let me rephrase that: It seems doubtful that Heidegger belongs in this article. However, if someone can explain how he relates, let's take a look at that. It is not enough to say "postmodernism... Heidegger... deep ecology," or as JimR has said:
"Certain elements of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly his critique of technocratic reason, have also been held to tie in with deep ecological principles."
If we are going to include this reference to Heidegger, it would be important to explain clearly to the reader what the relationship between Heidegger and deep ecology is, IMO. I'm skeptical that such could be done in a straightforward and readable manner — we are writing an encyclopedia, not an academic treatise. Sunray 16:48, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Sunray, the statement you've removed again was not that "there is a relationship between Heidegger and deep ecology". The statement was that "a connection between Heidegger and deep ecology has been held to exist". This latter statement is verified by the references given. It seems to me quite an anti-intellectual position, and indeed a breach of WP:NPOV, to say that we should omit a fact (which we don't happen to like, for other reasons namely Heidegger's fascism) because it's "too academic".

Here's some history of this in diffs, with comments on my own edits:

  • [7] inserts original Heidegger paragraph
  • [8] JimR, initially like others not thinking there can be a connection, inserts request for citation
  • [9] JimR is ready to remove paragraph as no one has added a citation, but instead to his surprise finds the DeLuca one with Google, so adds it
  • [10] Salix adds two more citations
  • [11] JimR makes one link more precise
  • [12] Ramsey removes Heidegger paragraph (leaving Luca link)
  • [13] JimR reinstates it (with comments on talk page)
  • [14] Sunray removes it again (with comments on talk page)

An article in Wikipedia can be POV as much by what it omits as what it includes. (See also WP:EL#What should be linked to which says "On articles with multiple points of view, [there should be] a link to prominent sites dedicated to each, with a detailed explanation of each link.") As a strong supporter of deep ecology with a hatred of fascism, I nonetheless believe that respect for Wikipedia's neutral point of view principle means that we should not censor the fact that there are wide assertions of a connection between deep ecology and Heidegger.

If anyone has a copy of Devall and Sessions Deep Ecology (1985) handy, could they please report whether it mentions Heidegger and if so roughly what it says (e.g. between pages 79 and 108 as DeLuca states)? As this is a major original source on deep ecology, if it does refer to Heidegger, then it establishes the claimed connection in a stronger way than the other references cited so far.

Sunray, you haven't addressed my point above about removals versus additions. If there is a connection with Heidegger we don't like, we are not at liberty to hide it. Instead, we should make it clear that Heidegger is only one part of the rich heritage of thought which led to deep ecology, by adding material about other thinkers with more attractive associations than Heidegger. I've done my part in building this article over a couple of years, and will add more to it as I have time. I feel other people should be adding to the article too, not removing verified but uncomfortable material from it. -- JimR 06:09, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I am in agreement with your point about removals and additions for relevant material. All I am asking you is to show, in your addition on Heidegger, how he is relevant to deep ecology (not that some boffin says he is relevant). Sunray 21:17, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

"Boffin"? Where would deep ecology be without Næss, who was certainly an academic? You've now twice said the addition of the Heidegger paragraph was mine; you don't seem to have read the diffs history above, which shows I did not originate the Heidegger paragraph, but in fact was the first person to question it. However, I've now found a copy of Duvall and Sessions, which does have a section in the chapter on sources of deep ecology, explaining how (in their view, which DeLuca disparages) Martin Heidegger made three contributions: a critique of anthropocentrism and technocratic domination over Nature; a view of thinking as not Western analysis but Taoist-like contemplation; and a call to dwell authentically on the Earth. It'll take me a little while to absorb this and incorporate it in the article, but it's in line with the points about poetry and technology in Martin Heidegger#Later works. -- JimR 11:40, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

In referring to the article "Heidegger, Postmodern Theory and Deep Ecology," Næss chides Zimmerman for drawing the comparison between himself and Heiddeger:

"I trust that Zimmerman has understood what I have written in certain rather technical papers, but I cannot accept the way he tries to formulate what he understands. "Constructs" reminds me too much of postmodernism and suggests an activity on the part of us humans which is too pretentious. We do not construct things. We construct concepts of things - that is remarkable enough for me.

In the next paragraph, Næss says: "perhaps the Heideggerian terminology is helpful: phenomena are "self-luminous". But I like to talk about things or items rather than "phenomena" (ontological realism of sorts?)." Sunray 17:37, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

This debate doesn't mean that mention of Heidegger should be omitted from the article, of course, but rather that both sides should be presented. I'm working towards that, but in the meantime in the interest of balance I'm adding some of the other sources for deep ecology described by Devall and Sessions which seem useful (while bearing in mind that DeLuca calls this a "potpourri"). -- JimR 10:33, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

On the question of Heidegger's political involement in the 1930s. A lot has already been said. It is not as a simple a matter as people sometimes present. I think though certainly if its acceptable to list someone with as extreme views as Pentti Linkola can be mentioned, then there is no reason to exclude Heidegger because of any political controversy. Whether or not and to what extent Heidegger's views may have directly influanced deep ecology is another question. I think though there can be no arguement that much of Heidegger's later philosophy ties in with deep ecology. Looking at deep ecology provides a good way to understand Heidegger's later thought and Heidegger's later thought provides a basis for deep ecology. The crucial thing to remember in the later Heidegger's thought, is that although there is the construction of world as a social reality. The earth however always remains separate and distinct from world. The central criticism Heidegger makes of modern technocratic society is that the earth in modern world is reduced to status of resources standing in reserve. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


In english! Excessive use of unnecessarily complex terms detracts from readabilty. Please revise.

-richard This is a comment, I am contributing to the page as such. But I do get annoyed on the constant misrepresentation of Naess's Deep Ecology-SHallow environmentalism distinction. It is not a comment on the page as Deep Ecology as a notion of Deep Ecology has shifted away from Naess's first distinction between deep and shallow 'movements in ecology in his 1972 paper, and it has become too wide-ranging to be of real value! Most uses now of Deep Ecology like the 'deep' but do not realise that the distinction of Deep Ecology from Eco-osphy is essential for Naess. This is crucial. Naess wrote on the pluralist aspect of science and also on Heidegger and they did influence Naess. This implicit trace in is Naess's book 'Four Modern Philosophers' (including Wittgenstein, Carnap and Sartre). Such influences, with Spinoza and Gandhi, show how Deep Ecology as described is not represented accurately in this article. Deep Ecology is a philosphy of action to unite a movement who share policy and is not a metaphysical belief system. The distinction of EDE and PDE is sometimes used but misleading. Naess often said there is no such thing a 'deep ecologist' in his personal communications. Harding is simply totally wrong in how he understands an 'eco-sophy'. An eco-sophy is a particular way a being lives, it is a philosophy of how a creature lives not a belief system or philosophy of life. A spider has an eco-sophy it just doesn't talk about it. Hence Ecosophy is about the particularity of creaturehood not a metaphyics of being. Naess's own Ecosophy reflected his beliefs but these are part of what he calls a Total View. Heidegger, Sartre, Wittgenstein and Carnap would all be against any kind of reductive metaphysics. Deep Ecology is more open, plural and dialogical and Naess is part of the reaction against subjectivism of metaphysical systems. It is ironic that deep ecology has become part of Romanticism in Berlin's sense. Sources for this would incliude Naess in Ecology, Community and Lifestyle, and Isiah Berlin the Romantic Revolution. Most of the Deep Ecology in this article is derivative and shaped by the Devall-Sessions, Fox, Seed-Macy developments all of which flounder in matters of being, consciousness and end up in eco-psychologies which is somewhere between Naess level 1 and 2. To simplify the article it needs Naess Deep Ecology apron to clarify this mess as Deep Ecology is level 2 and Eco-sophy level 1. As it stands this is impossible to edit as it reflects the mess the phrase Deep Ecology evokes now! Davdevalle (talk) 09:35, 1 May 2010 (UTC)dav devalle

Hi, This is my first wikipedia edit and I wasnt sure where to post, so apologize in advance. Great article! Im wondering about one sentence under the headline "links with other movements" that says "...when he tied himself to a Norwegian fjord in a successful protest against the building of a dam." Im pretty sure it is impossible to tie yourself to a fjord :) -Pontus —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:46, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Hallo Joyous! I have a question about your message: You ask me not to add inappropriate external links to wikipedia. When I compare the 2 links I added to other existing external links on certain webpages, I see that the 'appropriate' links (i.e the ones you leave alone), are also links to external -third party- organisations, such as our European organisation (STHOPD) is too. Our non-profit organisation works with volunteers and stands for certain principles which are similar to the 'appropriate' organisations on the webpages concerned, such as: Decreasing human overpopulation in an ethical way, having no children, warnings about the worldwide consequences of overpopulation such as the destruction of ecosystems. Please explain to me what would make our links appropriate. Friendly regards, 18:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC) MetaMouse.

'Deep ecology is misanthropy' needs sources & rewrite[edit]

I've moved the whole section 'Deep ecology is misanthropy' here as it lacks sources and reads like argumentation/OR rather than NPOV.

Some critics contend that deep ecology is misanthropic, in that it advocates a reduction in human population. Deep ecologists' views on the natural role of epidemic disease and famine have been interpreted negatively to support this position.
Hey, lets get this straight. Speaking of "Deep Ecologists' views on the natural role of endemic diseases" needs to be corrected. It is Dave Foreman of Earth first who made this claim. I know of no other deep ecologist who takes this view. It has been soundlyrejected by George Sessions, Arne Naess and other deep ecologists. Arne Naess in his Ecosophy T, claims that Human Self-realisation is the Highest Good, and does not advocate disease as an answer. He sees voluntary reproductive restraint as the way to minimise burgeoning human impact upon ecosystems. John D. Croft 18:05, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Deep ecologists would defend themselves against charges of misanthropy by pointing out that population reduction can be achieved by lowering birth rates. Deep ecologists would also counter that scarcity increases value and excessively high populations decrease the value of the human individual. This second counter-argument is viewed as even more misanthropic because it claims that individual human life is devalued to begin with.
Huh, Misanthropic, when human self realisation is the highest value, or when as Warwick Fox shows, Deep Ecology is based upon "Transpersonal (Human) Psychology". You have been reading to much anti-deep ecology literature. Read the leaders of the movement - not the misanthropic Dave Foreman (who was misanthropic before he self-proclaimed as a supposed "Deep Ecologist".. Even Foreman has since retracted his earlier misanthropic views. John D. Croft 18:05, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Respect for nature includes a belief in the inherent worth of all beings that are a part of the natural world. Only those humans who are alienated from the natural world and participate in its destruction are to be opposed. However, by deep ecology's own standards, the overwhelming majority of humanity is alienated from nature and participates in its destruction at least to some degree. Some would argue that the deep ecologists' opposition to the overwhelming majority of humanity is the very definition of misanthropy [citation needed].
By this definition any group that is in a minority and seeks to bring about societal change is also "misanthropic".
Who is this mythical "Some"?John D. Croft 18:05, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
The political philosophy of deep ecology has been criticised as ecofascism. In response, deep ecologists claim that they advocate a new relationship between humanity and the ecosphere, a relationship that seeks to end authoritarianism through decentralization, and espouse a less dominating and aggressive posture towards nature; a position that appears to be the opposite of fascism. Fascism is not defined by its posture towards nature, though, but by its position towards human society.

SeanLegassick 07:56, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Um, Mr/Dr Croft I believe you have mistaken me for the author of this prose :-) (if this is a misunderstanding of your use of the second person my apologies). If you look at the first paragraph above you'll see that I specifically moved this section here out of the article itself because it is (a) unsourced (b) reads like argumentation or OR and (c) yes, is quite flawed for exactly the reasons you specify.
We are in agreement here, the question is: who wrote this text and do they want to clean it up and source it so it can go back in the article? Personally I'm agnostic - I think the whole line of argument is a bit dubious, but if it can be properly written and cited from notable sources then it should be allowed to return. (Oh, and I re-indented your comments above to make the distinction between the original text and your comments on it clearer)
SeanLegassick 19:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks for the indenting. No I didn't think you were the author, but I just wanted to respond to the text's assertions. John D. Croft 21:20, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Deep ecology and science[edit]

Næss and Fox do not use logic or induction to derive the philosophy directly from scientific ecology[citation needed], but rather hold that scientific ecology directly implies the metaphysics of deep ecology, including its ideas about the self.

It may be disputable if certain cientific facts should lead us to the conclusion that we should live in a certain way, which means that that connection is itself unscientific, as it is a side of an issue. But a different question is to know if Næss and Fox claim this to be true. If it is verifiable than this is relevant, and, in fact, it is the deletion of this information on the grounds of being unscientific that amount to a non-neutral point of view.Maziotis 13:58, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes I see your point. It is the use of the phrase "scientific underpinnings' that I think is not clear. Do you think the last edit is acceptable? KAM 19:22, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. Perhpas it is a little bit confusing and it would need rewording, but tha is all.Maziotis 19:47, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it is concerned with fundamental philosophical questions about the role of human life as one part of the ecosphere, rather than with a narrow view of ecology as a branch of biological science, and aims to avoid merely utilitarian environmentalism.

This whole article, especially this sentence above, is written from a far-from-NPOV, deriding conventional environmentalism as "merely utilitarian" and implying that "deep ecology" is, in fact, much "deeper" than "regular" ecology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 02:07, July 27, 2007 (UTC)

I have deleted this NPOV tag because the whole movement of "deep ecology" stems from a 1973 speach by Arne Naess at Budapest in which he separated between "deep ecology" and "shallow environmentalism" precisely on these grounds. This does not reflect a point of view of the authors, but is implicit in the movement since its origins. Naes argued that "shallow environmentalism" was involved in "managing the environment" better, in order to ensure human purposes. He argued that this was "anthropocentricism". He criticised this on two grounds.
1. Firstly he claimed that the ecology only exists for human purposes is philosophically questionable. It seems to posit that all values of nature are instrumental, and that nature does not have any intrinsic values of its own. For instance, in law, no species other than humans are believed to have any rights to exist at all. See Christopher Stone's paper on "Do Trees have Standing", which influenced Naess's thinking.
2. Secondly he claimed that the belief that humans can manage the environment itself is highly questionable. As JSB Haldane was fond of remarking, the world is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine. Naess argued that in this context that "environmental management" was a form of hubris, and due to faulty thinking.
I hope this explains why the presentation here is not POV. John D. Croft 06:52, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for this very complete response. John. I agree with your removal of the tag. Sunray 21:01, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Provide arguments if possible[edit]

In the second paragraph of "development", 2nd and 3rd sentences, we have written "deep ecology and environmentalism hold that ... [something is true]". We need either provide an argument or write explicitly that it is assumed to be true. We also need a source/citation. 16:45, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Sources on Google books suggest the phrase was first used at a conference in Bucharest in 1972 not 1973 and then published in 1973. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Expertise in two related fields needed[edit]

Does any one reading this know about the fields of transpersonal ecology or ecopsychology? At the moment, one of these two articles lacks citations in books or journals, the other is rather limited in that its citations are all from one journal, the "Journal of Transpersonal Psychology". It would be nice if there were some one, perhaps some one who has been in touch with Warwick Fox, could widen the scope of these articles. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 21:47, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Sustainability article -- help![edit]

A major rewrite is underway for the Sustainability entry, and we sure could use help there. Anyone who has an interest in the topic is welcome to pitch in. V.B. (talk) 19:16, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Catholic Church criticisms[edit]

I noticed that deep ecology had been criticized by Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who likened it to pagan emptiness. [15] Relevant judeo-christian criticisms of deep ecology ought to be included, since the topic has become a matter of concern for many religious leaders. ADM (talk) 21:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Anarcho Primitivism?[edit]

This article links to anarcho primitivism but many anti-technology thinkers are not deep ecologists. For example Ted Kaczynski did not give intrinsic value to the environment or non human species, rather he supported environmentalism because he thought that it was in the interests of humankind.

I think we might want to include a section on anarcho primitivism or at the very least remove the link, because they are really entirely separate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zoid62 (talkcontribs) 22:59, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

The fact that they are separate concepts is why they are not in the same article. The fact that they are very closely related is why they link to each other. The link should stay, and we should not add a section, unless you can provide some form of cogent argument that deep ecology is not closely related to anarcho-primitivism. -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 05:07, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Issues that are related to biodiversity and sustainability.....[edit]

Savitri Devi[edit]

Can anyone cite references to Savitri Devi and deep ecology? I cannot find anything of substance. I would like to nominate her for removal from the list, if no direct connections could be found.Ransdy (talk) 01:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Additional Criticism and Debate (Guha & Martinez-Allier 1997)[edit]

WhyteFlyte (talk) 04:07, 3 January 2015 (UTC)== Additional Criticism and Debate (Guha & Martinez-Allier 1997) ==

Guha and Martinez-Allier critique the four defining characteristics of deep ecology. First, because deep ecologists believe that environmental movements must shift from an anthropocentric to a biocentric approach, they fail to recognize the two most fundamental ecological crises facing the world today, 1) overconsumption in the global north and 2) increasing militarization. Second, deep ecology's emphasis on wilderness provides impetus for the imperialist yearning of Western biologists and their financial sponsors which can result in significant social upheaval. Third, deep ecology appropriates Eastern traditions, characterizes Eastern spiritual beliefs as monolithic, and denies agency to Eastern peoples. And fourth, because deep ecology equates environmental protection with wilderness preservation its radical elements are confined within the American wilderness preservationist movement.

Guha, R., and J. Martinez-Allier. 1997. “Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique.” Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South, pp. 92-108.

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

First Paragraph[edit]

... was riddled the the old paradigm of shallow ecology that Deep ecology seeks to overcome. It use to read (shallow ecology changed to boldface, [*] portions added):

"the natural world is a SUBTLE BALANCE OF complex inter-relationships in which the EXISTENCE of organisms IS [*] DEPENDENT ON THE EXISTENCE of OTHERS within ECOSYSTEMS.< ref>Ecosystems are also considered to be dependent on other ecosystems within the biosphere. [*] < /ref> Human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms CONSTITUTING THE NATURAL ORDER."

In line with the rest of the description on this page, Gaia hypothesis, and Living Systems Theory, it has been more clearly specified as (changes here in boldface):

"Deep ecology SUPPORTS THE VIEWS that the natural world is a HARMONY OF HOMEOSTASIS DUE TO THE complex inter-relationships in which the LIFE OF ORGANISMS IS ACTIVELY REGULATED, partially by the existence of other organisms within the BIOSPHERE, < ref> [Reference implying that the basis of organisms might be ecosystems has been removed here] LIFE ALSO BEING RELIANT ON THE MISCATEGORIZED 'NONLIVING'; THE WHOLE ENVIRONMENT IS 'LIVING'.< /ref> IN ORDER TO CONSTANTLY BE CONDUCIVE TO LIFE. THESE VIEWS ARE SCIENTIFICALLY ENCOURAGED BY LIVING SYSTEMS THEORY AND THE GAIA HYPOTHESIS. Human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms OF OUR BIOSPHERE."

This article NEEDS more references to counter the shallow ecology views, so please help out . . . Sincerely, Jazmine Phoenix (talk) 07:00, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

I deeply apologize for making so many changes without first discussing it here. I really only started to change two words, but these changes being consistent with the rest of the wholistic description on this page, Gaia hypothesis, and Living Systems Theory, i now present these clearer specifications for comment, your approval, AND criticisms. I believe these are very important distinctions away from "shallow ecology," as they form the scientific theory basis of Deep ecology ethics in support of the life resiliency of the whole(-istic) bioshphere. Instead of returning the page back to shallow ecology, i am going to leave these changes on the topic page for you to discuss and change. Sincerely, Jazmine Phoenix (talk) 09:58, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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