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What is Deep Ecology?

Updated: Sep 10

Edgar D. Mitchell (astronaut) saw the earth floating in space and he said that what was needed to change the world is “transformation of consciousness”.

You might not be familiar with what Deep Ecology is, as a philosophy, what it has to do with humans, animals, and how fundamental belief in this philosophy would totally restructure our entire society.


So, Deep Ecology promotes the inherent worth of living and sentient beings on their own and outside of any context of utility to humans and human needs.


Before diving anymore into Deep Ecology, let’s talk about ecology as we know it. So the natural world is a diverse and intricate balance of interconnected relationships between pretty much all the species that we know whether those are plants, animals, or humans. Everything works together and cannot exist without all the parts working together.


Ecology in the past was overwhelmingly focused on anthropocentric environmentalism, so what that means is the focus of humans and how we use the natural resources that are around them as resources to us and how they benefit us.


Concept Of Deep Ecology

The 1970s really changed things, it was formed by all sorts of things which started in the 1960s. The term was coined by Norwegian philosopher Arnae Naess in 1973.

What he believed was the way we previously characterized the use of animals, was based on whether or not they have an eternal soul which automatically brings humans to the top of that kind of chain. We believe that whether humans are the most worthy of eternal life or not, they are of use to us that allows us to justify, causing suffering to them in order for us to eat their beauty which we like to admire in certain animals. However, we don’t necessarily appreciate the complexity.


Deep Ecology was spurred by this movement by philosophers that came out at this time but as well as the biologists determining that there was a complexity of systems while figuring out how humans played a part within the overall ecology.


Principles of Deep Ecology

  • All living beings have intrinsic value.

  • Richness and diversity have intrinsic value.

  • We have no right to reduce this diversity except to satisfy the most of vital needs

  • Human overpopulation is a problem; a smaller population would be better for the earth.

  • Human interference is currently excessive and unsustainable.

  • We cannot improve this situation without making major social, technological, and ideological changes.

  • We must seek a better quality of life over a ‘higher standard of living’ measured only in crass quantitative terms.

  • Anyone who accepts these points must actually contribute concretely to these changes.



Deep Ecology recommends a radical shift in our attitude regarding our relationship with the natural environment.


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