After the first two decades of environmentalism, a problem arose: people sympathized with the environmentalists, but didn’t see the root of the problem. Further, they were terrified of more Government regulation and didn’t want another group vying for power in Washington and Brussels. So, out of the consternation that followed, the Deep Ecology movement was born.
We believe that true ecological sustainability may require a rethinking of our values as a society. Present assumptions about economics, development, and the place of human beings in the natural order must be reevaluated. If we are to achieve ecological sustainability, Nature can no longer be viewed only as a commodity; it must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.
We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities.
We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:
- The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.
- The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the drive to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological or biological sustainability on a finite Earth.
- Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology and science have wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.
- Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.
As our name suggests, we are influenced by the Deep Ecology Platform, which helps guide and inform our work. We believe that values other than market values must be recognized and given importance, and that Nature provides the ultimate measure by which to judge human endeavors.
This was a more sensible approach because it came closer to a whole vision of a new society to replace the past, in which we the people can see our activities continuing in an altered form.
In extreme politics, we have to deal with the threat people feel from any new form of regulation. They hear NO when we talk about important things; they are accustomed to government and social welfare groups obstructing their lives, not empowering them.
Deep ecology aims to get around this by telling the truth about the root of the problem — too many humans, zero focus on the human-environment interaction as a fundamental part of our society; it’s sort of a tag line we add on to things like “oh and it’s green so you get tax credits” — and also suggested a different order, based on a spiritual concept of harmony and love.
Interesting; beats the hippies for radical, that’s for sure.