ECOCLUB.com Team Blog
blogging about ecological & socially just tourism & living
ecocentrism & eccentrism - the deep problems of deep ecology
Along with the mainstreaming of worries for Climate Change, there are sinister attempts through a revival of long-discredited malthusianism, to blame it on the many have-nots rather than the few haves, on overpopulation rather than on capitalism, on some of the symptoms rather than the causes.
The 8-point platform of 'Deep Ecology', written by Arne Naess and George Sessions, contains an arbitrary malthusian argument that is very hard to digest: "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." Most of the other 7 points are apolitical truisms ("Eco-La-La" a la Bookchin) talking about..."humans" in general. Arne Naess, the founder of Deep Ecology, was a very affluent dweller of a very affluent country, in fact the younger brother of the famous Norwegian shipping magnate Erling Dekke Naess. Indeed many radical philosophers and leaders (such as Engels and Marx, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Castro, Che) were also offsprings of the bourgeoisie and of the aristocracy, however they went against the interests of their class, and suffered to various degrees for it. Naess, perhaps the youngest ever university philosophy professor at 27 y.o., went mountaineering and had time to develop 'Ecosophy T,' a quasi-religious, individual path to salvation, reminiscent of the hermits and the monks.
Indeed, to call for 'a planned substantial decrease' of the human population' is also Orwellian, if one thinks the unspeakable cruelty that this would involve. The two leading lights of ecosocialism and social ecology have both demolished deep ecology: Bookchin has thoroughly analysed the issue in 1987 ( essay available at: http://libcom.org/library/social-versus-deep-ecology-bookchin ) and Joel Kovel in his seminal 2002 book, "The Enemy of Nature".
Family planning should be left to families/partners, not micromanaged by the state or religion (classical or new age). The ultimate cause of Climate Change, is Capitalist Ecocide, not 'Overpopulation', a Malthusian myth revived by Ehrlich during the Cold War, as a magic solution to (literally) neuter the impoverished (and potentially radical or migrant) millions through UN-funded programs. It is an accident that the US has been funding China's One-child policy (ironically at the same time as blasting China's human rights record) all these years?
A 'planned substantial decrease in human population' sounds like a 'Great Leap Forward' twisted on its head -- 40 million dead from starvation so as to achieve "agriculturalization and collectivization". A 'Great Leap Backward' perhaps?
Ecoprimitivists and ec(o)centrics are welcome to return (perhaps Thoreau-style with daily visits to and from their mother) to a hunter-gatherer society, trees, shacks and caves,
but most ordinary people would relate more easily to the struggle for a new society where each and everyone can enjoy the fruits and comforts of their labour within an advanced human civilisation in an equitable and just manner, without imposing on the planet. It can be peacefully done if we gradually take back what is stolen and wasted through capitalist, statist / corporate, oppression and exploitation, if we progress rather than regress.
As Bookchin said, "Ecology is neither deep, tall, fat, nor thick. It is social! "