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Arne Næss and deep ecology

(source: David Rothenberg; "Is it painful to think? Conversations with Arne Naess") (kilde: David Rothenberg; ”Arne Næss – gjør det vondt å tenke?”)

"Deep ecology" is a branch of ecological philosophy that encourages us to raise fundamental questions about the place of our species in nature, hoping that a more in-depth questioning will lead to more profound solutions in regard to the increasing environmental crisis we are facing today. Unlike "shallow ecology", which only controverts pollution in rich countries, deep ecology is searching the underlying causes of the environmental problems in the structures of societies and cultures all over the world. These are the eight principles of deep ecology, formulated by Arne Næss and George Sessions in Death Valley in 1984.

  1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves. 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 in prosperous countries is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. Thus a fundament for global long-term ecological development will be established.
  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.
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