Deep Ecology

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Deep Ecology � PAGE �1�

Deep Ecology

Soc 120: Intro to Ethics & Social Responsibility

Deep ecology is an environmental movement started by Arnie Naess in 1972. Naess, a Norwegian philosopher coined the term "deep ecology" and provided a foundation for the movement to progress. Naess, recognizing the social and ecological problems of his time proposed asking questions i.e. why and how about the way people live and examining how it fit in with peoples believes, needs and values. After deep examination the goal was/is to change the way life is lived to suit one's self, the people around and the planet.

The main idea of Deep Ecology is that people are a part of the earth, rather than apart and separate from it. The idea that we are a part of the earth is in sharp contrast to the sense of individualism that our culture feels. By seeing ourselves separate from the world it some how makes it easier to not see what happening to it.

In the past one hundred years, two ideas have emerged from the Scientific Community. These ideas are called the Systems Theory and The Gaia Hypothesis.

"The Systems Theory sees the world in terms of "Systems". Each system is a "whole" that is more than the sum of its parts, but also itself a "part" of larger systems. For example, a cell is more than just a pile of molecules and itself is a part of larger systems e.g. an organ, an organ is on one level a whole in itself, but on another, it is a part of a system at the level of an individual person. A family and a community can both be seen as "systems" where the "parts" are people."

The Gaia Hypothesis is similar to the Systems Theory but...