Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy that promotes the inherent worth of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and the restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a complex of relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems. It argues that non-vital 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.
The term was first used by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess who wrote that deep experience can lead to deep questioning (and vice versa) which leads to a deep connection or commitment. He became an environmental activist and believed when people were deeply connected to nature they would no longer be willing to cause harm.
The Deep Ecology Platform:
(Source: Foundation for Deep Ecology)
The wellbeing 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.
Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.
Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
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.
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.
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.
Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.
“Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world.” Joanna Macy
A leader and activist in the Deep Ecology field and creator of The Work That Reconnects and Active Hope is Joanna Macy. The Work That Reconnects is a form of group work designed to foster the desire and ability to take part in the healing of our world. Since its inception in the late 1970’s, it has helped countless thousands of people around the globe find solidarity and courage to act despite rapidly worsening social and ecological conditions
Read more about her work here https://www.joannamacy.net/main
Read more about Deep Ecology here: https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/deep-ecology-9a9b8ae4caf7
Watch this short film of Satish Kumar speaking of Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, Reverential Ecology and Gaia https://youtu.be/MlmTLvHMg-g
Research is being done to understand the important role Deep Ecology has with preventing future environmental degradation: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330437921_The_role_of_environment_clubs_in_promoting_ecocentrism_in_secondary_schools_student_identity_and_relationship_to_the_earth