Should a Deep Ecologist be a Vegetarian?

Essay by neddy96University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

download word file, 8 pages 3.0

Downloaded 84 times

Deep ecology is essentially the belief that we should learn to live in harmony with nature and connect with the earth, and the idea that all life forms, including humans, deserve equal rights, thus embracing a rejection of anthropocentricism. Nowhere in the philosophy of deep ecology does it say, or is implied, that a deep ecologist should be a vegetarian. To be both a vegetarian and a deep ecologist would actually be to find oneself in a contradictory position, as there are several opposing ideas within the two ideologies.

Generally, one chooses to be a vegetarian for ethical, ascetic or nutritional reasons (Britannica 2001 CD-Rom). There is no reason why a deep ecologist should have any ascetic or nutritional motivations for becoming a vegetarian, unless it is a personal choice with no relation to deep ecology. Deep ecology does not encourage a healthy, nutritional lifestyle as a central belief, and certainly doesn't demand asceticism of its followers.

As for ethical motivations, there is no reason why a deep ecologist cannot also be an omnivore. Deep ecology does not promote vegetarianism as an important tenet but rather leaves it to personal choice.

While many deep ecology supporters are also vegetarians or vegans, they do not accept that deep ecology requires this as a mandatory belief. Some deep ecology supporters are omnivores (Orton 2000:online).

As an important element of deep ecology, biocentrism is the belief that every living organism is of great value (Maunter 2000:70). Orton comments on a biocentrist group discussion on vegetarianism;

Perhaps the sharpest discussions on secondary contradictions within left bio arose around the issue of vegetarianism. Participants in this discussion eventually came to accept that if the discussion group was to continue, then the position had to be lived with that a supporter of deep ecology could be...