of the Madness
Deep Ecology looks at the world and sees social and ecological problems that are accelerating.
It's getting to a point where our very existence as we know it is threatened.
It asks and then answers the two most pertinent questions of our time:
- Why is the world so messed up?
- What are we going to do about it?
Lots of people from many schools of thought are asking the same questions. The problem is that they only look back a few hundred years in history. So they churn out the standard answers of industrialization, technology, capitalism and globalization.
Deep Ecology, a concept coined by Arne Naess, is unique because it surveys the whole of modern man's 200,000 year history in order to find the answers that are needed to save the world.
The global scale of destruction seen by deforestation, intensive agriculture, overfishing and the use of nuclear weapons are the recent manifestations of a seed that was planted long ago. The tree is only flowering now, it's fruit being stressed, overworked, unhappy, unsatisfied people and a biosphere on the verge of receiving a critical blow.
A population that feels empty and is struggling for meaning in life is caused by the same root problem that is created our ecological nightmare. The issue is the vision of our civilization, a world view that divides the planet into what is valuable for man and what is not. We treat the earth as if it is our possession and we treat each other in exactly the same way.
A Different Way Of Thinking
Deep Ecology is the belief that the world does not exist purely as a resource for man's benefit. The world exists for its own sake. We are a part of this wonderful and diverse creation but we do not own it.
A forest is valuable not just because it provides us timber; it is good in itself. A river's value cannot be determined by how much electricity a hydro dam provides; it has its own intrinsic value.
Deep Ecology advocates a new way of life that works for people and works for the planet. It is a worldview that says man is a part of the world, a part of the community of life; not a foe that needs to conquer it.
Our culture tells us that the way we are living is the best that human beings have ever had. It is the best that we could hope for. The world was made for man and our destiny is to conquer and rule it.
But the people are miserable. They are stressed, overworked, depressed, unhealthy and unsatisfied. We are devouring the world because we have nothing else to live for, nothing else to do. It is the only way we know.
Our culture wants to save the world - but only so that man can carry on his quest to conquer it. That's why we have shallow ecology - recycling, hybrid cars and energy efficient light bulbs.
We can do better. We need something better. This isn't the best we've got.
We are told that to save the world would be a miserable business. There is so much we would have to give up. We are told that we have to make a choice - the world or our happiness.
Deep Ecology isn't about giving things up or about having less. It's about having more. More of the things we really need:
If we have more of the things we so desperately need we will be less prone to being destructive.
This isn't about eco-tips; although ecological vision is the root it goes beyond this. It is a way of thinking and a way of living that works for people. It's about getting something that is better for you and doing good for the world at the same time.
It's about examining our whole way of life; the way of life that has stemmed from our culture's root belief that mankind owns the world. It's about exploring the ways of the old cultures, the people who believed that man belonged to the Earth, and harnessing their wisdom in order to bring about personal and global transformation.