Deep Ecology

19 03 2011

Deep Ecology represents our first encounter with a completely nonanthropocentric approach to justify equal moral standing to the whole of nature.  According to biocentric equality, intrinsic value resides among both humans and nonhuman species alike.  Individuals are challenged to find true reality and significance through self-awareness of ones proper place in the interrelated whole of nature.  The Deep Ecology ecophilosophy serves as a foundation for implementation of the “Platform” which envisions a harmonious world, or “ecotopia.”

For this blog, you will be assigned by name alphabetically (check e-mail) to the sequence of the  first five “Discussion Questions” in DesJardins’ Chapter 9.   After reading the chapter, your task is to consider how the Deep Ecology ethics applies to the particular issue to which you have been assigned; and then comment on the implications in today’s world confronted with environmental problems.  Please entitle your comment using a representative key word or phrase.




8 responses

20 03 2011
Lindsay Jones

Does an anthropocentric worldview make sense?
According to the ethics of Deep Ecology, uniformity and consistency is necessary for a workable worldview. Without these two qualities, there is no way a person can reason through an ethical problem. With this in mind, an anthropocentric worldview does not possess these qualities, for if everyone is only interested in fulfilling their own needs and wants, chaos and inconsistency results, for everyone would be acting upon their own individual beliefs. Take for example the highly anthropocentric view of a human’s right to use animals for things such as food, religious activities, and labor. First of all there is much controversy over this topic on an individual basis – for example people’s worldviews differ about the topic of vegetarianism, or animal experimentation. However when this topic is put into the context of the various human cultures that exist we find even more inconsistencies. Focusing on these cultural distinctions in regards to religion, we find that different religions have different ways of viewing animals. Some cultures use animals in religious practices for such things as sacrifices, and others worship different kinds of animals. Both activities value animals for their instrumental, rather than intrinsic, use.

20 03 2011
Heidi Edwards

Question 2: In an effort to find a solution to our environmental crisis, deep ecologists look at the philosophical causes. Only through transforming our philosophies can we ever hope to solve the environmental crisis. One of the major philosophies of modern culture is the idea of individualism. In modern culture an individual is defined as the only things that are “real and that one approaches a more basic fundamental level of reality by reducing objects to their more basic elements.” In this view individual is used as a noun usually to refer to people. As individuals people are separate from the environment around them. However, if we look at the definition of an individual from the view of ecology we see a much different picture. In ecology the individual is less important than the chemical or physical processes that occur in. The processes are more important because they continue after the individual ceases to exist, and without the processes the individual ceases to be alive. Also in this view humans are not the only individuals. Individual is used as an adjective which can be used to describe humans, but it can also be used to describe environments, animals, organs, molecules, or ecosystems. According to this view people are much more closely intertwined with the environment around them. If we accept this view we lose the distinction between the individual and its surrounding environment and we are better equipped to reverse the damage that brought about the environmental crisis.

20 03 2011
Jon Becker

Civil Disobedience & Deep Ecology

The Deep Ecology viewpoint seems to allow the most space for civil disobedience in defense of the environment. Several key tenets of this viewpoint seem to allow for civil disobedience. First, the main platform of Deep Ecology states that those who have a Deep Ecology viewpoint have an obligation to try to implement the necessary changes. Civil disobedience can be an expedient way to capture the public’s attention and make steps to change the issue in question. Second, the emphasis on self-realization can lead proponents of Deep Ecology to commit acts of civil disobedience to emphasize their oneness with nature in contrast to the behavior of the majority. Third, biocentric equality is an aspect that is important to those who have a Deep Ecology viewpoint. This equality comes from a value that is based on metaphysical holism. The logical extreme of this way of thinking could be to promote equality over the laws of society, leading to acts of civil disobedience.
A specific action of civil disobedience that often gains public attention is when environmental activists spike trees for the purpose of preventing logging of old-growth forests. Most environmentalist groups denounce this activity, as it can severely injure or kill a logger or mill worker. Although this seems to be a step to deter the logging activity and promote the balance of the ecosystem, killing or injuring humans is an act of terrorism, not civil disobedience. The end result of spiking trees will only result in the public discrediting the claims of the environmentalists, writing them off as radical terrorists who pose a threat to their safety.

22 03 2011
Rebekah Jones

I do not think the view of self-realization in Deep ecology would mean a rewiring of human nature, instead I think it would mean being retaught. The view of deep ecology is similar to the Christian worldveiw that humans are at their highest potential when relating to other humans in community and that we should take others self-interest into account before our own. Whether the negation of this is a result of our human nature or just a perversion of it will depend on ones worldview.

The economists in chapter 3 indicate that they believe that human interests are always motivated by their own self-interest. I would partially disagree, humans have many sources of motivation which can many times come from the self-interest of others. I also don’t think that this is due to human nature but a perversion of human nature. However, I cannot deny that most people in most situations will look out for themselves first. I would agree that this would have to change in order for self-realization as described by deep ecologists to take place but this would not involve a complete change of the nature of humans, just their thinking.

27 03 2011
Ross Wolfe

Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, animal rights activism, eco-friendliness, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

8 07 2014

Hello Ross. I apologize for not replying to your comment. This blog was used in 2011 as a teaching aid in my Env. Ethics course and is now now a very active blog. If you are still interested in a reply to your request, please let me know by e-mail to Thank you, John

20 06 2013


Would you like to participate and help me throught my case study?
Please complete the folowing questionnaire Case study for Bachelor’s degree june 2013 –
If you would like I will sent you the results.

Thank you

2 07 2013

Sorry, I read your post too late. Hope you were successful with your assignment. This blog is on my back burner compared to Oikonomia at With apology and kind regards,

John Silvius

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