From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy promoting the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, plus a 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. 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 basic moral and legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its instrumental benefits for human use. Deep ecology is often framed in terms of the idea of a much broader sociality; it recognizes diverse communities of life on Earth that are composed not only through biotic factors but also, where applicable, through ethical relations, that is, the valuing of other beings as more than just resources. 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 those of mainstream environmentalism. 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 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. The philosophy addresses core principles of different environmental and green movements and advocates a system of environmental ethics advocating wilderness preservation, human population control, and simple living.
In his original 1973 deep ecology paper, Arne Næss claims to have been inspired by scientists – ecologists – who were studying the ecosystems throughout the world. Three people in the 1960s who were considered foundational to the movement in a 2014 essay by George Sessions were author and conservationist Rachel Carson, environmentalist David Brower, and the biologist Paul R. Ehrlich. He considers the publication of Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring as the beginning of the contemporary deep ecology movement.
Other events in the 1960s which have been proposed as foundational to the movement are the formation of Greenpeace, and the images of the Earth floating in space taken by the Apollo astronauts.
- Biocentrism (ethics)
- Biophilia hypothesis
- Coupled human-environment system
- Earth liberation
- Intrinsic value (animal ethics)
- Negative population growth
- Voluntary human extinction movement
- Hierarchy theory
- Scale (analytical tool)