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Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered Paperback – January 19, 2001
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Contents Preface Nothing Can Be Done, Everything is Possible Minority Tradition and Direct Action The Dominant, Modern Worldview and Its Critics The Reformist Response Deep Ecology Some Sources of the Deep Ecology Perspective Why Wilderness in the Nuclear Age? Nature Resource Conservation or Protection of the Integrity of Nature: Contrasting Views of Management Ecotopia: The Vision Defined
From the Back Cover
Deep Ecology explores the philosophical, psychological, and sociological roots of today's environmental movement, examines the human-centered assumptions behind most approaches to nature, explores the possibilities of an expanded human consciousness, and offers specific direct action suggestions for individuals to practice. Widely read in it first printing, Deep Ecology has established itself as one of the most significant books on environmental thought to appear in this decade.
"Deep Ecology is subversive, but it's the kind of subversion we can use." --San Francisco Chronicle
"This book is an attempt at codifying a scattered body of ecological insight into a philosophy that places human beings on an absolutely equal footing with all other creatures on the planet." --Stephanie Mills, Whole Earth Review
"Difficult and (to some) unfamiliar insights on nature and human beings presented with simplicity and clarity, Deep Ecology rattles a cage full of occidental presumptions and yet it all seems almost like common sense." --Gary Snyder
Bill Devall has studied the social organization, politics, psychology and philosophy of the environmental movement for fifteen years. He teaches at Humbolt State University in California and is active in many environmental groups including Earth First! and the Sierra Club.
George Sessions teaches philosophy at Sierra College California. He was appointed to the Mountaineering Committee of the the Sierra Club in 1962, has served as a philosophy consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is editor of the International Ecophilosophy Newsletter.
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They wrote in the Preface to this 1985 book, "Many philosophers and theologians are calling for a new ecological philosophy for our time. We believe, however, that we may not need something new, but need to reawaken something very old, to reawaken our understanding of Earth wisdom... the themes in 'Deep Ecology' alternate between personal, individual options and public policy and collective options... the book offers an examination of the dominant worldview in our society, which has led directly to the continuing crisis of culture. We then present an ecological, philosophical, spiritual approach for dealing with the crisis."
They suggest that the major contribution of the science of ecology to deep ecology has been "the rediscovery within the modern scientific context that everything is connected to everything else." Ecology thus provided a view of Nature that was lacking in the "discrete, reductionistic approach to Nature" of the other sciences. (Pg. 85)
They observe that even in our highly technical society, "there are many who share these deep intuitions and the experience of the ritual journey into wilderness as 'sacred space.'" (Pg. 112)
They contrast deep ecology with the Christian notion of "stewardship" and with James Lovelock's position (Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth) by asserting that the "narrowly utilitarian view" of natural resources still views natural resources as primarily for human use, and "fails to distinguish vital human needs from mere desires, egoistic arrogance and adventurism in technology." (Pg. 125)
This book is one of the foundational documents of the Deep Ecology movement, and will be of considerable interest to those interested in environmentalism, and earth spirituality.
It will not, however, make someone who is coming from a perspective far from deep ecology change their mind. For that I would recommend Muir or Jeffers or better yet, spend some time in the real wilderness yourself. What it does is provide extensive background material and elucidation of the philosophy to someone who already believes in the importance of wilderness preservation.