“If humans disappeared tomorrow, the world would thrive and prosper”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/15/morrissey-animals_n_7588034.html?ir=Entertainment%3Fncid%3Dnewsltushpmg00000003

Morrissey Says ‘The Only Perfect World For Animals Is A World Without Humans’

Morrissey thinks you are an evil pest, but don’t take it personally. He thinks all humans are evil pests, and “the only perfect world for animals is a world without humans.”

“If humans disappeared tomorrow, the world would thrive and prosper,” he wrote to The Huffington Post in an email. “Humans destroy everything, and for the most part they actively enjoy torturing animals.”

“The fact that the slaughterhouse or abattoir exists is the most obvious example of human evil,” he continued, explaining why he has used his platform to be a voice for animal rights. (Note: Abattoir is a fancy/Morrissey-esque word for “slaughterhouse.”)

Morrissey has been speaking out on the issue for over 30 years, if you count the February 1985 release of “Meat Is Murder” as the debut of his activism. He’s continued to spread awareness through his music and a number of collaborations with PETA.

“The slaughterhouse is the dead end for humanity, and as long as it exists we can’t possibly have any hope for the human race,” he said. “If you’ve seen abattoir footage then you cannot possibly think that humans are anything other than evil pests.”

Of course, this is not the most radical thing Morrissey has said in regard to the cause. In January of last year, he participated in a Q&A on the fan site True To You, inciting backlash when he compared eating meat to pedophilia. “They are both rape, violence, murder,” he said.

Now, before you, evil human pest, accuse dear Morrissey of ranting, know that you would be wrong. “If your views threaten any form of establishment interests, you are usually ignored or silenced or said to be ‘ranting,'” he told HuffPost. “I have never ranted in my life.”

The Huffington Post will run a longer interview with Morrissey after his June 27 show at Madison Square Garden. If you’re a fan looking to share why you love Moz or what his impact has been on you, please contact Lauren Duca at lauren.duca@huffingtonpost.com.

Judge clears barred owl removal study

http://www.dailyastorian.com/news/20150727/judge-clears-barred-owl-removal-study?utm_source=Daily+Astorian+Updates&utm_campaign=93d3c034b9-TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e787c9ed3c-93d3c034b9-109860249

By Mateusz Perkowski

Capital Press

Published:July 27, 2015 7:26AM

Barton Glasser/The Herald

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A barred owl removal study doesn’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge ruled.

Killing barred owls to study the potential effects on threatened spotted owls does not violate federal environmental laws, according to a federal judge.

Populations of the northern spotted owl, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act, have continued to decline in recent decades despite strict limits on logging.

Federal scientists believe the problem is partly due to the barred owl, a rival species that’s more adaptable, occupies similar habitats and competes for food.

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized an experiment to remove 3,600 barred owls over four years, typically by shooting them, to see if spotted owl recovery improves.

Friends of Animals and Predator Defense, two animal rights groups, filed a complaint last year accusing the agency of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate alternatives to lethal removal of barred owls.

They also claimed the Fish and Wildlife Service’s study is contrary to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, under which the U.S. and other countries agreed to protect migratory birds.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken has rejected these arguments, finding that the agency wasn’t obligated to undertake other “recovery actions” for the spotted owl that didn’t call for removal of barred owls.

The agency took a sufficiently “hard look” at the study’s effects, including the possibility that it may disrupt an “equilibrium” between the two owl species in some areas, Aiken said.

The experiment also falls within an exception to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which permits birds to be killed for “scientific research or educational purposes,” she said.

From the Fish and Wildlife Service’s perspective, the judge’s opinion validates the significant amount of time and effort the agency spent studying the issue, said Robin Bown, biologist for the agency.

“I think we made our case,” she said. “We feel we did very inclusive work on this.”

Undecided about appeal

The plaintiffs are still undecided whether to challenge Aiken’s ruling before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ wildlife law program.

Habitat loss remains the primary culprit for the decline of spotted owls, he said. “The amount of old growth habitat hasn’t increased.”

Spending millions of dollars by shooting barred owls in the Northwest year after year isn’t feasible but it is cruel to the birds, Harris said.

It’s possible that the two owl species will find niches and coexist over time, he said.

Fish and Wildlife officials are rushing to judgment to blame barred owls to escape making tough decisions about forest management, Harris said. “You’re just taking a shortcut by scapegoating the barred owl.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service disagrees with this perspective.

Invaded territory

Biologists initially hoped the two species would be able to occupy different habitats, but the barred owl has consistently invaded the spotted owl’s territory since the 1970s, said Bown.

As soon as the barred owl took over riparian areas, it “began marching up the hillsides” to upland territory favored by the spotted owl, she said.

“There is no evidence of any environment where spotted owls can outcompete barred owls,” Bown said.

While the removal study costs $1 million a year, that includes costs related to the scientific analysis, she said.

“When you’re doing a study, it costs more than operational activities,” she said.

If removal proves effective at protecting spotted owls, other less-costly methods of controlling the barred owl’s population growth may become available in the future, Bown said.

So far, 71 barred owls were removed during the first year of the study and 54 were removed during the second year, both at a site in Northern California.

The Fish and Wildlife Service expects the removals to begin in at least two new sites in Oregon and Washington during the autumn of 2015.

Data collected during the first two removal periods is insufficient to indicate whether the removals are helping spotted owls, Bown said. “It’s hard to look for a trend with only two points.”

‘There is no evidence of any environment where spotted owls can outcompete barred owls.’

— Robin Bown

biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Attack of the Ten Ton Babies

According to the timely July 14 article in the Washington Post by Erica Gies, “Having kids is terrible for the environment, so I’m not having any: The population explosion and climate change are linked. I want to do my part,” “An American woman driving a more fuel-efficient car, improving the energy efficiency of her house, recycling, and making similar lifestyle changes would save 486 tons of CO2 emissions during her lifetime, while choosing to have one less child would save 9,441 tons.” [Or 18.8 million lbs., whichever sounds worse.]safe_image

If you’re thinking of adding another baby to this morbidly over-crowded planet, please do the world a favor: don’t. Or at least think first of the other species your little monster love-child would crowd off the Earth.

Sure, you plan to raise it right; but there’s still an even chance the little bundle of joy will turn out to be the next Hitler, George W. or Ted Nugent rather than another Jesus, Einstein or Gandhi. The world needs more bison and prairie dogs, more moose, elk and wolves, more salmon, smelt and sea lions, more swans, snow geese and pelicans—more biodiversity—not another climate-warming, Earth-gobbling human baby.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

How Long Did They Think It Could Go On?

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always thought, how long did they think they could get away with it? I guess I’ve always had a different perspective when it comes to the whole crazy industrialized world and the consequences of living so extremely against Nature as Americans have done for around a century or so.

Whenever I heard people talk of bombing Iraq or Iran (or whoever was the perceived target of the day) “back to the Stone Age,” I’d think, throw me into the briar patch, what’s wrong with that? Living like it was the Stone Age would be the best thing for the Earth and us all.

I spent nearly half my life like it was the Stone Age and never found myself wanting for more. Not only was the cabin where I lived in the mountains of the North Cascades without power, phone or running water, I didn’t have the urge to get a generator to see what I was missing out on.

Somehow I knew a gas-powered generator banging away for hours on end would be about as unnatural as you could get; I’d rather not have any power than have power produced so noisily. Such a foul assault on Mother Nature would have consequences down the line.

Perhaps it was because I studied physical anthropology rather than sociology; spent so much time backpacking—living out of a tent in National Parks and wilderness areas; and planting trees for work rather than cutting them down. But when some old rustic wilderness cabin came available to care take, I jumped at the chance. Never mind that I had to cut firewood for heat or that it was beyond the county plowed roads—I cross country skied to get around and chopped a hole in the ice on the river to water the horses. Sure, it was hard work, but it felt right.

1173835_594069293967592_2141908188_nBut whenever I’d have to be where cars were stuck bumper to bumper on the freeway, or witness rampant development, I’d think, how long do they think this can go on before Nature extracts her revenge? How long do people think they can jet-set between their houses and condos, or have specialty products flown or shipped in to their nearest Costco or Walmart, or turn even more moose or elk habitat into golf courses or strip malls or housing developments for an ever-burgeoning human population before Nature says, “Enough!” and retaliates?

Well, considering deadly heat waves like the recent one that hit India; the record flooding in Texas; California’s ongoing mega-drought; the 300+ tundra and forest fires raging across Alaska and the acidic dead zones in the Pacific and other oceans, it looks like the party’s winding down.

As John A. Livingston put it, “Human uniqueness is even more profound than we have been taught to believe and to proclaim.” As you may have guessed (and not to further burst any bubbles), Livingston didn’t mean “unique” in a good way. He meant something more like what Gary Yourofsky says here: “Humans are the scum of the earth. Pure parasites. There is only one species on this planet that can be removed from Earth – and with that removal – EVERY living being, sentient and insentient, will benefit. The animals would thrive. The rainforest, the woods, the mountains, the trees, the plants would thrive. The air and the oceans would become clean again. The earth itself would be born again.”

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“Something is Askew Here”

The following is from Preface of the late Canadian naturalist, author and part-time misanthropist, John A. Livingston’s, book, Rouge Primate: “Having spent the greater part of a lifetime absorbed in the appreciation and the attempted understanding of living phenomena that are not human, while at the same time ceaselessly advocating their protection, preservation and ‘conservation,’ it was not easy to pause and evaluate the effectiveness—and logic—of that advocacy…But for my own peace of mind it needed doing. So in 1977 I did a critical analysis and wrote it up, then looked at what I had wrought for almost four years before publishing it. It was going to cost me, and it did.

“At the time of its publication, the American environmental teacher and essayist Joseph Meeker observed that my Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation appeared to be a book written in blood. It was indeed painful to have to acknowledge that the fundamental premises of the conventional conservation argument to which I had long adhered were radically flawed. It was even more painful to discover that rather than alleviating the parlous circumstances of the nonhuman world, the conventional conservation argument actually makes those circumstances worse. In that book I characterized customary wildlife conservation advocacy as a ‘catechism’ that I for one had been uncritically mouthing for too long.

“In a nutshell, the fallacy is the generally unchallenged belief that wild, undomesticated plants and animals and their communities can be enabled to survive the human presence on Earth by means of their careful safekeeping within the rational, managerial framework of ‘resource conservation.’ The belief is fallacious because to see any phenomenon as a ‘resource’ is to see it as a human utility or amenity. Such perception precludes the possibility of a non-quantifiable worth residing in that phenomenon—even to itself. Its value becomes purely instrumental. If such value cannot be shown, and in practice even if it can, the nonhuman is permitted to continue to exist solely at the human pleasure. Since resource conservation does not allow worth (to itself) to inhere in Nature, it can protect Nature only as the human estate, in which case it is no longer ‘Nature’ but rather an extension of the human apparatus. However argued or presented, resource conservation is a wholly proprietary, human-chauvinist concept.

“Here I mean resource conservation not as practice or policy, but as an idea. As such it requires the prior perception of the nonhuman world, and our relationship with it, in a very particular way. For any living being to be able to see other living beings as commodities or utilities would strike any naturalist as anomalous, even bizarre. Could it be possible for any nonhuman entity to see the world as its exclusive property, its vested estate, its heritage, its right and privilege, its fief? Surely not. But, the human animal does just that. Something is askew here.”

Meanwhile, from Livingston’s book Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation:243

“Entirely out of control, the techno machine guzzles and lurches and vomits and rips its random crazy course over the once-blue planet, as though some filthy barbaric fist drunkenly swiping with a gigantic paint roller across an ancient tapestry.

“Unevenness in the rich textured nap of Earth’s surface causes the paint to cling slightly unevenly, with scattered spots and holes showing in the roller’s wake. These are the success stories. Isolated and discreet as they are, it’s quite possible that they can never recombine into a coherent whole.

“We are left with a miscellaneous rag-tag assortment of odd and disconnected relics—some larger, some smaller. In general, these gaps or anomalies tend to be in ‘frontier’ regions (arctic, rainforest), or in the great biological near-desert that is the open ocean. But the mindless machine has long since outgrown all restraint; the paint roller’s anti-biotic lacquer is thick, and fluid. If you watch, you can see its viscous pools widen as though of their own volition, toward the farthest reaches of life’s lovely tapestry.

“Wildlife communities are richer, in numbers of species, in equatorial regions than in higher latitudes. The greatest number of endangered species in the world today live in the tropics and sub-tropics. In underprivileged overpopulated countries I see no glimmer of hope for wildlife. It is simply too much to expect, for an entire catalog of reasons, that the care and maintenance of wildlife could possibly rise on the list of priorities (including accelerated industrial expansion) that exists in the tropics today. We should remember that there is little or no preservation tradition in most such places, in any event, and to think that such tradition could spring forth fully developed in the face of current events would be to abdicate common sense altogether. The human orgy has exactly one conceivable outcome for those species that are (a) edible, or (b) compete with man for food, or(c) compete with man for space. Perhaps this will change one day, but not soon. In the meantime, losses will have been colossal and extinctions will have been many. Extinctions without replacement—ever.

DSC_0145“On the other hand, there are place in the world that are not yet populated toward the point of ignition. There are some spots not yet painted over, not yet obliterated. In spite of their technical grotesqueness, some of the hypermanaged western nations still have options having to do with open space, natural areas, living nonhuman beings. But even there, we have to admit the udder failure of wildlife conservation either as a practice or an ethos to penetrate the general consciousness. The acceleration of wildlife extermination is remorseless, even in the ‘civilized’ world—perhaps especially there. There is a general almost total failure to grasp the notion of wildlife conservation.

“Here I mean societies such as the one I live in, where one might expect the cultural environment for the notion to be wholly favorable. Places where the ‘haves’ live. I do not, by the way, mean regions or nations influenced or dominated by French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish traditions, which have never been favorable for wildlife or its protection. On the evidence, wildlife seems to hold its own in ‘have’ cultures deriving from northern Europe, including Britain, poorest in those deriving from southern Europe. The implications of this must surely be obvious to all but the most doggedly unobservant.

“The worst prospect for wildlife is in those countries where human population increase is out of control and/or those that have inherited the romance traditions. And political ideologies have nothing to do with it. When you think about this, it dawns that ownership of the means of production and locus of the distribution of profits are entirely irrelevant to wildlife conservation, as long as the goal of human activity is production. Who cares who owns the whaling fleet, the automobile factory, the petrochemical plant, the jet aircraft assembly line? Who cares where their profits go? What earthly difference does it make to wildlife? It certainly never made any difference to conservation.

“On a world basis, ‘wildlife conservation’ in its fullest and deepest meaning as ‘preservation’ simply does not exist. That is because its fullest and deepest meaning cannot be expressed in a political platform, a computer printout, an official plan, or a research report. You cannot qualify, analyze, show data, and prove it out. It’s not like that. For me, wildlife preservation is a wholly permeating life awareness that has become an unconscious part of every thought, attitude, perception. So it is too with others, many of them; but not that many. Not enough to matter.”

Definition of wildlife ‘conservation’ used by John Livingston:

“The preservation of wildlife forms and groups of forms in perpetuity, for their own sakes irrespective of any connotation of present or future human use.”

Principles of Deep Ecology

Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological and environmental philosophy characterized by its advocacy of the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and advocacy for a radical restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a subtle balance of complex inter-relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems.[1] Human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms constituting the natural order.

Deep ecology’s core principle is the belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected and regarded as having certain inalienable legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its utilitarian instrumental benefits for human use. It describes itself as “deep” because it regards itself as looking more deeply into the actual reality of humanity’s relationship with the natural world arriving at philosophically more profound conclusions than that of the prevailing view of ecology as a branch of biology. The movement does not subscribe to anthropocentric environmentalism (which is concerned with conservation of the environment only for exploitation by and for human purposes) since deep ecology is grounded in a quite different set of philosophical assumptions. Deep ecology takes a more holistic view of the world human beings live in and seeks to apply to life the understanding that the separate parts of the ecosystem (including humans) function as a whole. This philosophy provides a foundation for the environmental, ecology and green movements and has fostered a new system of environmental ethics advocating wilderness preservation, human population control and simple living.[2]

Principles[edit]

Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. The ethics of deep ecology hold that the survival of any part is dependent upon the well-being of the whole. Proponents of deep ecology offer an eight-tier platform to elucidate their claims:[3]

  1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
  2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs.
  4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
  5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
  6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
  7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.

These principles can be refined down into three simple propositions:

  1. Wilderness preservation;
  2. Human population control;
  3. Simple living (or treading lightly on the planet).[2]

Development[edit]

The phrase “deep ecology” was coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973.[4] Næss rejected the idea that beings can be ranked according to their relative value. For example, judgments on whether an animal has an eternal soul, whether it uses reason or whether it has consciousness (or indeed higher consciousness) have all been used to justify the ranking of the human animal as superior to other animals. Næss states that from an ecological point of view “the right of all forms [of life] to live is a universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species.”

This metaphysical idea is elucidated in Warwick Fox‘s claim that humanity and all other beings are “aspects of a single unfolding reality”.[5] As such Deep Ecology would support the view of Aldo Leopold in his book A Sand County Almanac that humans are “plain members of the biotic community”. They also would support Leopold’s “Land Ethic“: “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Daniel Quinn in Ishmael showed that an anthropocentric myth underlies our current view of the world.[6]

Deep ecology offers a philosophical basis for environmental advocacy which may, in turn, guide human activity against perceived self-destruction. Deep ecology and environmentalism hold that the science of ecology shows that ecosystems can absorb only limited change by humans or other dissonant influences. Further, both hold that the actions of modern civilization threaten global ecological well-being. Ecologists have described change and stability in ecological systems in various ways, including homeostasis, dynamic equilibrium, and “flux of nature”.[7] Regardless of which model is most accurate, environmentalists[citation needed] contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from its “natural” state through reduction of biodiversity, climate change, and other influences. As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction, at a rate of between 100 species a day, or possibly 140,000 species per year, a rate that is 10,000 times the background rate of extinction. Deep ecologists hope to influence social and political change through their philosophy. Næss has proposed, as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke writes, “that the earth’s human population should be reduced to about 100 million.”[8]

Scientific[edit]

Næss and Fox do not claim to use logic or induction to derive the philosophy directly from scientific ecology[9] but rather hold that scientific ecology directly implies the metaphysics of deep ecology, including its ideas about the self and further, that deep ecology finds scientific underpinnings in the fields of ecology and system dynamics.

In their 1985 book Deep Ecology,[10] Bill Devall and George Sessions describe a series of sources of deep ecology. They include the science of ecology itself, and cite its major contribution as the rediscovery in a modern context that “everything is connected to everything else.” They point out that some ecologists and natural historians, in addition to their scientific viewpoint, have developed a deep ecological consciousness—for some a political consciousness and at times a spiritual consciousness. This is a perspective beyond the strictly human viewpoint, beyond anthropocentrism. Among the scientists they mention specifically are Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, John Livingston, Paul R. Ehrlich and Barry Commoner, together with Frank Fraser Darling, Charles Sutherland Elton, Eugene Odum and Paul Sears.

A further scientific source for deep ecology adduced by Devall and Sessions is the “new physics”, which they describe as shattering Descartes‘s and Newton‘s vision of the universe as a machine explainable in terms of simple linear cause and effect. They propose that Nature is in a state of constant flux and reject the idea of observers as existing independent of their environment. They refer to Fritjof Capra‘s The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point for their characterisation of how the new physics leads to metaphysical and ecological views of interrelatedness, which, according to Capra, should make deep ecology a framework for future human societies. Devall and Sessions also credit the American poet and social critic Gary Snyder—with his devotion to Buddhism, Native American studies, the outdoors, and alternative social movements—as a major voice of wisdom in the evolution of their ideas.

The Gaia hypothesis was also an influence on the development of deep ecology.

Spiritual[edit]

The central spiritual tenet of deep ecology is that the human species is a part of the Earth, not separate from it, and as such human existence is dependent on the diverse organisms within the natural world each playing a role in the natural economy of the biosphere. Coming to an awareness of this reality involves a transformation of an outlook that presupposes humanity’s superiority over the natural world. This self-realisation or “re-earthing”[11] is used for an individual to intuitively gain an ecocentric perspective. The notion is based on the idea that the more we expand the self to identify with “others” (people, animals, ecosystems), the more we realize ourselves. Transpersonal psychology has been used by Warwick Fox to support this idea. Deep ecology has influenced the development of contemporary Ecospirituality.[12]

A number of spiritual and philosophical traditions including Native American, Buddhist and Jain are drawn upon in a continuing critique of the philosophical assumptions of the modern European mind which has enabled and led to what is seen as an increasingly unsustainable level of disregard to towards the rights and needs of the natural world and its ability to continue to support human life. In relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition, Næss offers the following criticism: “The arrogance of stewardship [as found in the Bible] consists in the idea of superiority which underlies the thought that we exist to watch over nature like a highly respected middleman between the Creator and Creation.”[13] This theme had been expounded in Lynn Townsend White, Jr.‘s 1967 article “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”,[14] in which however he also offered as an alternative Christian view of man’s relation to nature that of Saint Francis of Assisi, who he says spoke for the equality of all creatures, in place of the idea of man’s domination over creation. Næss’ further criticizes the reformation’s view of creation as property to be put into maximum productive use: a view used frequently in the past to exploit and dispossess native populations. Many Protestant sects today regard the Bible’s call for man to have stewardship of the earth as a call for the care for creation, rather than for exploitation.

The original Christian teachings on property support the Franciscan/stewardship interpretation of the Bible. Against this view, Martin Luther condemned church ownership of lands because “they did not want to use that property in an economically productive fashion. At best they used it to produce prayers. Luther, and other Reformation leaders insisted that it should be used, not to relieve men from the necessity of working, but as a tool for making more goods. The attitude of the Reformation was practically, “not prayers, but production.” And production, not for consumption, but for more production.” This justification was offered to support secular takings of church endowments and properties.[15]

Philosophical roots[edit]

Spinoza[edit]

Arne Næss, who first wrote about the idea of deep ecology, from the early days of developing this outlook conceived Baruch Spinoza as a philosophical source.[16]

Others have followed Naess’ inquiry, including Eccy de Jonge, in Spinoza and Deep Ecology: Challenging Traditional Approaches to Environmentalism,[17] and Brenden MacDonald, in Spinoza, Deep Ecology, and Human Diversity—Realization of Eco-Literacies[citation needed].

One of the topical centres of inquiry connecting Spinoza to Deep Ecology is “self-realization.” See Arne Næss in The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology movement and Spinoza and the Deep Ecology Movement for discussion on the role of Spinoza’s conception of self-realization and its link to deep ecology.

Criticism and debate[edit]

Knowledge of non-human interests[edit]

Animal rights activists state that for an entity to require rights and protection intrinsically, it must have interests.[18] Deep ecology is criticised for assuming that living things such as plants, for example, have their own interests as they are manifested by the plant’s behavior—for instance, self-preservation being considered an expression of a will to live. Deep ecologists claim to identify with non-human nature, and in doing so, deny those who claim that non-human (or non-sentient) lifeforms’ needs or interests are nonexistent or unknowable. The criticism is that the interests that a deep ecologist attributes to non-human organisms such as survival, reproduction, growth, and prosperity are really human interests. This is sometimes construed as a pathetic fallacy or anthropomorphism, in which “the earth is endowed with ‘wisdom’, wilderness equates with ‘freedom’, and life forms are said to emit ‘moral’ qualities.”[19][20]

“Deepness”[edit]

Deep ecology is criticised for its claim to being deeper than alternative theories, which by implication are shallow. When Arne Næss coined the term deep ecology, he compared it favourably with shallow environmentalism which he criticized for its utilitarian and anthropocentric attitude to nature and for its materialist and consumer-oriented outlook.[21] Against this is Arne Næss‘s own view that the “depth” of deep ecology resides in the persistence of its penetrative questioning, particularly in asking “Why?” when faced with initial answers.

Writer William D. Grey believes that developing a non-anthropocentric set of values is “a hopeless quest”. He seeks an improved “shallow” view, writing, “What’s wrong with shallow views is not their concern about the well-being of humans, but that they do not really consider enough in what that well-being consists. We need to develop an enriched, fortified anthropocentric notion of human interest to replace the dominant short-term, sectional and self-regarding conception.”[22]

Bookchin’s criticisms[edit]

Some critics, particularly social ecologist Murray Bookchin, have interpreted deep ecology as being hateful toward humanity, due in part to the characterization of humanity by some deep ecologists, such as David Foreman of Earth First!, as a pathological infestation on the Earth.[8] Bookchin[23][24] therefore asserts that “deep ecology, formulated largely by privileged male white academics, has managed to bring sincere naturalists like Paul Shepard into the same company as patently antihumanist and macho mountain men like David Foreman who preach a gospel that humanity is some kind of cancer in the world of life.”[23] Bookchin mentions that some, like Foreman, defend seemingly anti-human measures, such as severe population control and the claim regarding the Third World that “the best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let the people there just starve”.[23] However, Bookchin himself later admitted that “statements made by Earth First! activists are not to be confused with those made by deep ecology theorists.”[25] Ecophilosopher Warwick Fox similarly “warns critics not to commit the fallacy of ‘misplaced misanthropy.’ That is, just because deep ecology criticizes an arrogant anthropocentrism does not mean that deep ecology is misanthropic.”[25] Likewise, The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology attempts to clarify that “deep ecologists have been the strongest critics of anthropocentrism, so much so that they have often been accused of a mean-spirited misanthropy”; however, “deep ecology is actually vitally concerned with humans realizing their best potential” and “is explicit in offering a vision of an alternative way of living that is joyous and enlivening.”[26]

Murray Bookchin’s second major criticism is that deep ecology fails to link environmental crises with authoritarianism and hierarchy. Social ecologists like him believe that environmental problems are firmly rooted in the manner of human social interaction, and suggest that deep ecologists fail to recognise the potential for human beings to solve environmental issues through a change of cultural attitudes. According to Bookchin, it is a social reconstruction alone that “can spare the biosphere from virtual destruction.”[23] Though some deep ecologists may reject the argument that ecological behavior is rooted in the social paradigm (which, according to their view, would be an anthropocentric fallacy), others in fact embrace this argument, such as the adherents to the deep ecologist movement Deep Green Resistance.

Botkin’s criticism[edit]

Daniel Botkin[27] has likened deep ecology to its antithesis, the wise use movement, when he says that they both “misunderstand scientific information and then arrive at conclusions based on their misunderstanding, which are in turn used as justification for their ideologies. Both begin with an ideology and are political and social in focus.” Elsewhere, though, he asserts that deep ecology must be taken seriously in the debate about the relationship between humans and nature because it challenges the fundamental assumptions of Western philosophy. Botkin has also criticized Næss’s restatement and reliance upon the balance of nature idea and the perceived contradiction between his argument that all species are morally equal and his disparaging description of pioneering species.

Ecofeminist response[edit]

Both ecofeminism and deep ecology put forward a new conceptualization of the self. Some ecofeminists, such as Marti Kheel,[28] argue that self-realization and identification with all nature places too much emphasis on the whole, at the expense of the independent being. Similarly, some ecofeminists place more emphasis on the problem of androcentrism rather than anthropocentrism. To others, like Karen J. Warren, the domination of women is tethered conceptually and historically to the domination of nature. Ecofeminism denies abstract individualism and embraces the interconnectedness of the living world; relationships, including our relationship with non-human nature, are not extrinsic to our identity and are essential in defining what it means to be human. Warren argues that hierarchical classifications in general, such as racism or speciesism, are all forms of discrimination and are no different from sexism. Thus, anthropocentrism is simply another form of discrimination as a result of our flawed value structure and should be abolished.[29]

Links with other philosophies[edit]

Parallels have been drawn between deep ecology and other philosophies, in particular those of the animal rights movement, Earth First!, Deep Green Resistance, and anarcho-primitivism.

Peter Singer‘s 1975 book Animal Liberation critiqued anthropocentrism and put the case for animals to be given moral consideration. This can be seen as a part of a process of expanding the prevailing system of ethics to wider groupings. However, Singer has disagreed with deep ecology’s belief in the intrinsic value of nature separate from questions of suffering, taking a more utilitarian stance.[30] The feminist and civil rights movements also brought about expansion of the ethical system for their particular domains. Likewise deep ecology brought the whole of nature under moral consideration.[31] The links with animal rights are perhaps the strongest, as “proponents of such ideas argue that ‘All life has intrinsic value'”.[32]

Many in the radical environmental direct-action movement Earth First! claim to follow deep ecology, as indicated by one of their slogans No compromise in defence of mother earth. In particular, David Foreman, the co-founder of the movement, has also been a strong advocate for deep ecology, and engaged in a public debate with Murray Bookchin on the subject.[33][34] Judi Bari was another prominent Earth Firster who espoused deep ecology. Many Earth First! actions have a distinct deep ecological theme; often these actions will be to save an area of old growth forest, the habitat of a snail or an owl, even individual trees. Actions are often symbolic or have other political aims. At one point Arne Næss also engaged in environmental direct action, though not under the Earth First! banner, when he chained himself to rocks in front of Mardalsfossen, a waterfall in a Norwegian fjord, in a successful protest against the building of a dam.[35]

There are also anarchist currents in the movement, especially in the United Kingdom. For example Robert Hart, pioneer of forest gardening in temperate climates, wrote the essay “Can Life Survive?” in Deep Ecology & Anarchism.[36]

Robert Greenway and Theodore Roszak have employed the deep ecology platform as a means to argue for ecopsychology.[citation needed] Although ecopsychology is a highly differentiated umbrella that encompasses many practices and perspectives, its ethos is generally consistent with deep ecology.[citation needed] As this now almost forty-year-old “field” expands and continues to be reinterpreted by a variety of practitioners, social and natural scientists, and humanists, “ecopsychology” may change to include these novel perspectives.

Heidegger’s critique of technology has certainly inspired environmentalist and postmodernist of our time. Deep ecologists, like Heidegger, allege that certain metaphysical presuppositions are responsible for ecological destruction, and also contend that any transformation can be brought about only through a renewed awareness about the world. Then the key to environmental crisis, require an ontological shift: from an anthropocentric and utilitarian understanding of world to an understanding which lets things be. A non-anthropocentric humanity would probably initiate attitudes, practices, and institutions that would exhibit respect and care for all beings.

Early influences[edit]

Notable advocates of deep ecology[edit]

Relevant journals[edit]

Man: “The aim and climax of the whole creation”?

In countering the notion that man is “the aim and climax of the whole creation,” John A. Livingston wrote in his book, One Cosmic Instant; Man’s Fleeting Supremacy:

“Anyone who has spent the greater part of a lifetime enjoying and attempting to understand and preserve wild nature will have had the experience of witnessing his own species drift lower and lower on his personal scale of perfection. All the magnificence and nobility of our creativity cannot begin to compensate me for what my species has cost me. Shakespeare cannot compensate me for toxic pesticides, Bach cannot compensate me for Hiroshima, nor Michelangelo for the [loss of the] blue whale. Jesus Christ cannot compensate me for the brutal imposition of human power over non-human nature. Yet, the total destruction of blue Earth may well precede any diminishment of human pride.

“Misanthropy is probably the inevitable (or at least occasional) companion of the man who values unspoiled nature, natural systems, and their individual components.”

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

New Conservation Science is Misguided and Too Much About Us‏

 
New Conservation Science is Misguided and Too Much About Us

New Conservation Science is Misguided and Too Much About Us

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in Animal Emotions
New Conservation Science argues conservation should focus on human self-interests. It is wrong-minded and ignores the magnificence of nature including the fact that animals and diverse ecosystems have intrinsic value and should be valued for who and what they are, not for what they can do for us. There are far too many of us and it shouldn’t be all about us.

A Response to Pro-Wolf Article by Chris Albert

by Rosemary Lowe
Veterinarian, Chris Albert, has written a thoughtful article. While people “can” live with wild non-humans like wolves, etc., thus far, our species’ history does not support the likelihood of our ever changing our Humanist perceptions about wild animals, because this species is, for the most part, afraid of Nature, and wild animals; and perhaps even jealous of them, and their “wildness.” We like to “domesticate” things, and we already have turned much of the Earth into a Domesticated Feed Lot.
Yes, some of us love, admire & try to protect  wild animals.  But, would most even consider what “living with” or “near them” would mean to our convenient- for- humans lifestyle? For instance, most humans will not tolerate, anywhere, a so-called “nuisance wild animal” for long, and we see evidence of that everywhere, with ranching, trapping & hunting.

—Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

—Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

We live outside Santa Fe, on a former over-grazed ranch.The rancher trapped/poisoned coyotes, bobcat, prairie dogs, etc. Now, houses of about an acre and a half are here, and the wildlife here probably do better than before. Many of us in this community of about 5,000  are pleased  having the wildlife around: I have seen coyote in the day time, and there are some bobcat, quail, and an occasional pronghorn around. However, our AHA newsletter often has to remind residents that our covenants reflect an “appreciation”  of wildlife here, because invariably, there are those here who poison coyote, blaming them for every lost cat and dog, and they do not want wild animals near their kids.
People like to think that wildlife are “out there, somewhere,” but in reality, they would not tolerate any perceived inconvenience (or alleged harm) they might cause.
Human society was designed for humans, not nature, so nature must be pushed back, and that means wildlife & wild places.
Most of us on this blog think this is wrong. But, our human activities here and around the word prove that humans will not “co-exist” with wild animals, because we never really did. It was always an adversarial relationship, and it is not getting better, especially now with human population exploding: going on 7+ billion, to 8, 9 or more billion. What will be left for wildlife? Where will they live? Most wild animal populations are in severe decline around the world.
 Will caring humans (not the majority, I’m afraid) make the hard sacrifices necessary to make more room for surviving wildlife, especially in a world now affected by increasing climate change? Is our species capable of shedding our environmentally-destructive Humanist Ideologies in order to save what is left of Nature?
Rosemary Lowe
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EARTH for Animals

Environmentalists Against Ranching, Trapping and Hunting