The concept of Deep Ecology has been explored and unravelled by many amazing scholars, authors and thinkers.
They might not refer to themselves as Deep Ecologists but their work has contributed to the growth of this amazing idea. This is a portal where I want to introduce you to all the wonderful people who promote and spread these important ideas.
Arne Naess was a Norwegian philosopher and the man who coined the phrase Deep Ecology. He first presented these ideas at a conference in Bucharest in 1972 and published them in a paper called, "The Shallow And The Deep, Long Range Ecology Movements" in 1973.
At first people though that Naess was just putting forward his personal philosophy. In fact what he was doing was explaining a movement and a worldview that already existed at a grassroots level. These were ideas that in modern times reached back to the likes of Henry David Thoreau.
Naess introduced the idea of Deep Ecology to mainstream environmental audiences and provided a yardstick from which later thinkers could work from.
Daniel Quinn is the author of the famous novel Ishmael, winner of the largest ever prize for a single literary work. He followed up Ishmael with The Story of B, My Ishmael and Beyond Civilization and has written numerous other titles.
Quinn is my personal favourite in the field, although he has never explicitly aligned his philosophies with those of Deep Ecology. When asked how his ideas related to Deep Ecology he replied:
"All my ideas were developed before I'd even heard of Deep Ecology. So any connection between my work and it is purely coincidental. How the ideas of Deep Ecology relate to mine is something I prefer to leave to others to explore."
This is something I do care to explore and in my own humble opinion Quinn's ideas relate very much to this philosophy. I think that Quinn and Naess have merely come at the same problem from slightly different angles. At a fundamental level their ideas are much the same. The difference is that Quinn takes a much more holistic perspective whereas other Deep Ecologists tend to focus too much on blaming the last few hundred years of industrialization.
The real value in Quinn's work is that it has the ability to radically change a person's perception of life. Read Quinn's first book and you will be transformed from somebody who couldn't care less about social and environmental issues to somebody who doesn't care about anything else but those things.
No other book and no other author in this field has the ability to pack a punch as hard as Quinn and really bring people around to the Deep Ecology way of thinking. Daniel Quinn's books change lives and there are thousands out there who can attest to that.
I can assuredly say that there is no way I would have bothered to read the work of Arne Naess, Derrick Jensen or any others further down the page if it hadn't been for Daniel Quinn. He was my starting point and for that I will always be grateful.
Check out Daniel Quinn at his website: www.ishmael.org
Thom Hartmann is a radio talkshow host and author of the popular book The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight.
Hartmann comes at the issue from a very scientific angle. He looks at our resource use and energy use and basically says, "This can't continue." He points to the examples of numerous civilizations before ours that have collapsed when they have exhausted their resources.
That alone wouldn't classify Hartmann as a Deep Ecologist. What gives him away is where he tells us to look for the solutions. Infused throughout his book are references to the Native American Indians and explanations of how they were able to live without destroying the world around them.
This exploration of indigenous values leads Hartmann to the view that man belongs to the world rather than the world belonging to man.
Check out Thom Hartmann at his website: www.thomhartmann.com
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