The earth does not belong to humans.
Arne Naess (1912-2009), Deep Ecology For The 21st Century, p. 74.
A man should no more be allowed to own the living soil than he now owns the air he breathes.
John Livingston (1923-2006), Canada: A Natural History, p. 223.
Progressive political change, Earth-oriented spirituality, and an ecological world view can and must reinforce each other, since they are equally vital to radical ecology’s future impact.
Fred Bender, The Culture Of Extinction: Toward A Philosophy Of Deep Ecology, p. 355.
WHY THIS BLOG?
I have decided to start up a blog and hope to use it to raise theoretical and practical issues which concern me, for a discussion with others who share my basic assumptions. I write as a supporter of deep ecology and as a person of the Left. My blog posts generally will be promoting, explaining, and applying deep ecology and the theoretical tendency within this philosophy known as left biocentrism, to theoretical and practical issues. Hopefully the blog postings will make these perspectives more widely known and acceptable.
I will post items which I think the people who share similar assumptions might find of interest. These assumptions are first and foremost, as the above quotes from Arne Naess, John Livingston, and Fred Bender show, that we need to stop treating the Earth and non-human life forms as “resources” for industrial living, and reject that existing industrial societies – which often call themselves “capitalist democracies” – are the only possible way of organizing human societies. We need to disengage, because we are locked into a path which is leading all of us to eventual ecological and social Armageddon.
Existing politics, whether conventional or allegedly “green” – as with the political parties which have usurped this name – perpetuate illusions that fundamental changes can occur, along with the continuation of economic growth and consumerism. Most environmentalists and political greens take such assumptions as a given. They will also not raise publicly the problem of human population growth.
I intend to post some (slightly revised) contributions of my own to the internet discussion group “left bio”, in the belief that there is a wider constituency for such ideas. Also, any discussion list operates under some content constraints – as does the discussion group left bio, and I feel the need to have a blog where such constraints may be transgressed if necessary. I will not normally be re-posting material – Green Web bulletins, articles and book reviews – which already appear on our web site.
About feedback: I am now 76 years old and whether one likes it or not, one’s contribution does diminish with advancing age. Also, temperamentally, I have little stomach for the back-and-forth which consumes some people on internet lists. I don’t believe that there is a “last word” in theoretical disputes and also believe that all of us have to think hard before posting writings which we are asking others to consider. As Arne Naess has told us, in philosophy there are no final answers and "by and large, it is painful to think." I have frequently seen that when someone writes an article from a pro-Earth and pro-social justice standpoint, they can be attacked by commentators, who often cowardly hide behind various noms-de-plume. For all these reasons (and perhaps more), feedback will be moderated, before it appears on the blog – however, dissenters who share the basic orientation of this blog will have no problem in seeing their views expressed.
About me: I was born in 1934 in Portsmouth, southern England, into a working class family. There were four children, all boys. During the Second World War, I was “evacuated” at various times to the countryside. This evacuation brought me into contact with country life. I had a dog and roamed the countryside chasing rabbits, fishing, and collecting mushrooms and wild flowers. I left school at 15 and entered the naval dockyard in Portsmouth for an apprenticeship as a shipwright. At the age of 23, I immigrated to Canada. Through “mature matriculation” I became a university student in Montreal. Later I attended the New School for Social Research in New York City, for graduate studies in sociology, from 1963-67. I left with an MA. I was part of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Canada from 1968-1975. In 1977, while living in British Columbia, I became involved with environmental work through the B.C. Federation of Naturalists. We moved to Nova Scotia in 1979. By 1985 I had come to define myself as a Green. For the last 26 years, our family has lived simply on a 130-acre old hill farm, which has returned to being a forest and a wildlife refuge. My main interest has become deep green philosophy.