Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century by George Sessions

By George Sessions

Each day, in newspapers and on tv, we learn and listen to concerning the ongoing destruction of our environment: the greenhouse impact, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and air and water toxins. Deep Ecology deals an answer to the environmental challenge via an intensive shift in human consciousness—a basic switch within the manner humans relate with the surroundings. rather than contemplating nature as a source for use for human wishes, Deep Ecology argues that the real price of nature is intrinsic and self reliant of its application. rising within the Eighties as an influential philosophical, social, and political circulate, Deep Ecology has formed the environmental debate between top activists and policymakers—from former Vice-President Al Gore to Dave Forman, cofounder of Earth First! Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century comprises thirty-nine articles by means of the best writers and thinkers within the filed, delivering a finished array of views in this new method of environmentalism, exploring:    •  the elemental philosophy of Deep Ecology.    •  Its roots within the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson.    •  the connection of Deep Ecology to social ecology, ecofeminism, the vegetables, and New Age futurism.    •  How Deep Ecology as a life-style is exemplified via vital environmentalists: poet Gary Snyder and Norwegian thinker Arne Naess.    •  The philosophical dimensions of this environmental stream by means of its top theorist.    •  The politics of ecological sustainability and the social and political implications of Deep Ecology for the subsequent century.

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I remember trying to recruit zoologists, botanists, ecologists, and other scientists at New Mexico colleges to speak out in support of Wilderness Area designation. A handful did, but most excused themselves. In the r98os, however, two groups of working biologists appeared who were willing to provide conservationists with information, speak out in public, and even put their reputations on the line over preservation issues. One group consisted of agency scientists: ecologists, botanists, zoologists, soils scientists, and other researchers who worked for the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

But what if such behavior is not normal at alll What if it is a desperate expression o[ coping by people who find themselves in an exrreme situation I If so, what is that extreme situationl lt's our homelessness. It's our alienation from the only home we will ever have, from the Earth. In his brilliant book, Nature and Madnr-ss (Sierra Club Books, rggz), the ecologist Paul Shepard talks about the psychology of hunter/gatherer culture Itncl conrl):Ircs it to agricultural psychology. In hunter/gatherer society, survival is

Opean industrial culture provides a striking contrast to all these examples. We have idolized ideologies, "rationality," and a limited kind of practicrlity, and have regarded the conscious rituals of these other cultures here as frivolous curiosities, at best. The results are all too evident. We've been to damage only a few hundred years and we have already done irreparable vast areas of the country now called the United States. "7 We have tried to relate ro the world around us through only the left side of our brain, and we are clearly failing.

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