Journal

Life as deep ecology

I have transcribed the following list from a book I am currently reading by the Norwegian philosopher and environmentalist Arne Naess (1912-2009), founder of the ‘Deep Ecology’ movement. The book is titled: Ecology of Wisdom.

You may wish, as I did, to read it slowly and considerately at an appropriate time, and then reread it again mentally highlighting those particular points that might be speaking to your own life situation.

I think it is a good list. One of those lists you print out and stick up somewhere to remind you….

Lifestyle Trends Within the Deep Ecology Movement:

  1. Use simple means; avoid unnecessary, complicated instruments and other sorts of means.
  2. Choose activities most directly serving values in themselves and having intrinsic value. Avoid activities that are merely auxiliary, have no intrinsic value, or are many states away from fundamental goals.
  3. Practice anti consumerism. This negative attitude follows from trends 1 and 2.
  4. Try to maintain and increase the sensitivity and appreciation of goods in sufficient supply for all to enjoy.
  5. Eliminate of lessen neophilia – the love of what is new merely because it is new.
  6. Try to dwell in situations of intrinsic value and to act rather than being busy.
  7. Appreciate ethnic and cultural differences among people; don not view the differences as threats.
  8. Maintain concern about the situation in developing nations, and attempt to avoid a standard of living too much higher than that of the needy (maintain a global solidarity of lifestyle).
  9. Appreciate lifestyles that can be maintained universally — lifestyles that are not blatantly impossible to sustain without injustice toward fellow humans or other species.
  10. Seek depth and richness of experience rather than intensity.
  11. Appreciate and choose, when possible, meaningful work rather than just making a living.
  12. Lead a complex, not complicated life, trying to realise as many aspects of positive experiences as possible within each time interval.
  13. Cultivate life in community (Gemeinschaft) rather than in society (Gesellschaft).
  14. Appreciate, or participate in primary production — small scale agriculture, forestry, fishing.
  15. Try to satisfy vital needs rather than desires.
  16. Attempt to live in nature rather than just visiting beautiful places; avoid tourism (but occasionally make use of tourist facilities).
  17. When in vulnerable nature, live “light and traceless”.
  18. Appreciate all life-forms rather than merely those considered beautiful, remarkable, or narrowly useful.
  19. Never use life-forms merely as means. Remain conscious of their intrinsic value and dignity, even when using them as resources.
  20. When there is a conflict between the interests of dogs and cats (and other pet animals) and wild species, try to protect the wild creatures.
  21. Try to protect local ecosystems, not only individual life-forms, and think of ones’ own community as part of the ecosystems.
  22. Besides deploring the excessive interference in nature as unnecessary, unreasonable, and disrespectful, condemn it as insolent, atrocious, outrageous, and criminal– without condemning the people responsible for the interference.
  23. Try to act resolute and without cowardice in conflicts, but remain nonviolent in words and deeds.
  24. Take part in or support nonviolent direct action when other ways of action fail.
  25. Practice vegetarianism.

Arne Naess.

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