Journey to a sustainable future

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Deep Ecology Platform

Ausable River, NY, 2011
As I alluded to in my introductory post, I believe firmly in the precepts of the Deep Ecology Platform.  So, here is the Deep Ecology Platform, from

1) The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth; 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 needs.

4) Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

5) 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.

6) Policies must therefore be changed. The changes in 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 worth) 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 participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.

- Arne Naess and George Sessions

Maryland, 2012

I just LOVE that point 8 is a call to action.  So many creeds or mission statements or mottos or (even worse) "company commitments to the environment" are empty.  They sound great, but they don't DO anything, or even suggest true, meaningful action.


This is big. 

In college, I took a class called Environmental Ethics and Worldviews, taught by Dr. Vogt.  I didn't even know what a worldview was when I walked into that class; but I certainly came out with a different one.  It was here that I first heard of the concepts deep ecology, environmental racism, environmental feminism, as we were introduced to the ethics and philosophy of how we as a species interact with our biosphere. 

Nestucca, OR, 2008
Please don't think me an anarchist, or a Communist, or a total hippy freak.  I'm none of those things.  I am a woman who realizes that the chemical soup we have created for ourselves means that I have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer.  I am a mother who looks at the rate of deforestation, the lack of corporate accountability for externalized costs, and the pollution of our drinking water, and grieves for the world my children will inherit.  I am a citizen of the United States who fears for the future of my country if we continue to insist on "cheap" oil procured through expensive wars--when the sun is free!

I am worried, yes, but I truly believe that if we could align ourselves even partially with this Deep Ecology Platform, we could change the world.  The question is, how necessary do we deem the change?

Anthony Lakes, OR, 2009


  1. i'm a bit confused...are you saying you believe that we should implement population control and/or advocate for somehow decreasing the human population on the earth in order to allow for 'nonhuman life' to flourish?
    yikes. that statement makes it out like nonhuman life is more important than human life. these measures are already happening across the globe (forced sterilization, 50 million 'missing women' in China, 40 million in India, babies forcibly aborted, full term children being born and left to die in trash cans or cleaning buckets. i know it's offensive to read but true) and is slowly spreading to the West. from point 5's statement, it sounds like this idea of 'deep ecology' holds to that same dangerous agenda. just a thought to consider.

    as a Christian, i believe 'inherent worth and value' comes strictly in the form of man (human) for only he has a soul and conscience. He was the only entity within creation who was 'created in God's image'. I'm not discounting the value of animal and plant life but their primary value is found in serving man's needs. In Genesis 1, God says to man “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” i also found this excerpt from that helps to clarify the meaning of this verse:

    "Does this mean we are to take “dominion” over the creation today?

    This dominion means to maintain order, and it is to be exercised over other creatures not people. It was first given to Adam and his wife and was to be the for the whole human race (Psalms 8:6-8). Man was to have sovereignty over the animal creation and other creatures. Because of our being made in God’s image we were given a higher moral and spiritual nature. Our capacity for right thinking, knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, would be expressed in our ruling over the other creatures."

    We ought to care for and wisely steward this beautiful earth God has given us to live on but He has ultimately given it to Man - not dolphins, not bears, not squirrels. Of course we can bask in the beauty of His handiwork but it all points to Him. nature is a means to an end - to worship the Creator and King of Kings.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and consider.

  2. another thing to consider is the fact that the entire population of the world could fit within the size of Texas. granted, there wouldn't be much room for cultivating resources but there would be plenty of surrounding area for doing that, as we know. i'm not saying it's a good idea to live on top of one another like that by any means, but it does give one a reality check when people say, 'we're running out of room here on our planet'. not true. and even if we were, 'controlling the population' is ethically out of the question.

  3. Number 5 says that "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."

    In that statement, there is no mention of HOW this might happen, or the timescale on which it might happen. It simply says that a) we can still have a vibrant human system without so many humans and b) lots of humans means fewer other forms of life.

    I do NOT ascribe to any form of "forced sterilization" or the like. Perhaps some people who say that they support Deep Ecology do, but as you can see from this platform, that is not needed to still consider myself an evironmentalist. Sex and fertility and children are wonderful things that are all gifts from God. It is ridiculous for us in first world countries, which our obscene levels of consumption, to point a finger at third world countries and say that their population levels are what the problem is. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do ourselves!

    What I do think is that women should have access to education and birth control/natural family planning methods so that they have more of a say in how many children they have. I love being a mother. I would never consider it morally acceptable to deny someone that role.

  4. As for Creation only having value in "fulfilling man's needs"...a sunset has no real value. It can't be "used" for anything. It doesn't produce energy or sequester CO2 or grow food or build anything. It just is, for a few minutes. I would like to think that the fact that God created sunsets, and that they are beautiful, is enough to value a sunset.

  5. thanks for sharing your thoughts! totally agree with what you said above about educating women about birth control/natural family planning. and as for sunsets....yes, you brought up an important aspect of creation that i didn't even think of when writing my stuff above...some things God has created are for nothing other than for us to simply marvel at. thanks for responding to my thoughts!