Ecologism Examples Handbook 1

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Ecologism Examples Handbook
Fritjof Capra
Challenged assumption that human beings are masters of the natural world.
World had been previously seen as organic- but 17th century philosophers
eg-Descartes and Newton changed thinking meaning that it was portrayed as a
machine who's parts could be analysed using science and experiments.
CARTESIAN-NEWTONIAM PARADIGM: philosophical basis for environmental crisis
Newtonian world machine view needs to be overthrown and replaced by a new
paradigm if humans are to learn that they are part of the natural world.
On new physics: as a systems view had already revolutionised physics it could
provide a paradigm capable of replacing the redundant, mechanistic world view.
Jan Smuts
HOLISM: idea that the natural world could only be understood as a whole and not
through individual parts.
Science commits sin of reductionism (reduces everthing it studies to separate parts
to understand each part in itself.
Whole = more important than individual parts, which only have meaning in relation to
other parts/the whole.
James Lovelock
Born 1919- contemporary
Gaia theory: named after Greek Goddess, understood as a living entity that acts to
maintain its own existence HOLISTIC
Eg- earth has maintained homeostasis until very recently despite major changes in
the solar system ­ the sun has increased in temp by 25%
Ecological ideoglogy- humans must respect the health of the planet and act to
conserve its beauty and resources
Revolutionary view of the relationship between the animate and inanimate world
ECOCENTRIC-health of the planet matters more than that of any individual species
Species that help the earth prosper, those that hinder it will be wiped out. `An
inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.'
Supports: technology, industrialisation, nuclear power, science eg-genetic
Opposes: back to nature mysticism, earth worship (which he attributes to deep
David Ehrenfeld-1978
ARROGANCE OF HUMANISM-the mistake of believing that humans are the
centrepiece of existence.
New Physics
Einstein `Theory of Relativity' challenged traditional concepts of time and space.

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New physics emerged out of advances in subatomic research and has abandoned the
idea of absolute or objective knowledge.
o Physical world understood as a system/network of systems
o Focuses on organisation within systems
o Objective knowledge = impossible as the very act of observing alters what is
being observed
o Scientist = intrinsically related to experiment.
Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Jainism
o Naess enouraged people to `listen with the third ear' and `think like a
mountain.…read more

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Production also facilitates personal growth by developing skills and talents,
overcomes ego-centrism by forging social bonds and encouraging people to
work together.
Garrett Hardin-1968
TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS: the environmental vulnerability that arises from
people having open access to collective resources.
Common land/fishery stocks encourage individuals to act in rationally self-interested
ways, exploiting resources to satisfy their family/community's needs.
Rational behaviour becomes self-defeating and has irrational ends.
Any viable solution to the environmental crisis must deal with the tragedy of the
commons.…read more

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`Man is now too clever to survive without wisdom' needs wisdom to consider
whether rational ambitions are sensible.
Warwick Fox
TRANSPERSONAL ECOLOGY- human beings and other entities are part of a single
unfolding reality.
Eric Fromm- 1979
Having= attitude of mind that seeks fulfilment in acquisition and control, relflected in
consumerism and materialistic society.
Being= derives satisfaction from experience and sharing-personal growth and spiritual
Walter Darne
Earliest forms of political ecology= right wing, eg- Nazi fascist ecologism.…read more

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Arne Naess-1980s
Invented the concept of deep ecology
Ecology should be concerned with every part of nature on an equal basis.
Yet, accepted that `since we are humans, we have to put humans first.'
`I may kill a mosquito if it is on the face of my baby but I will never say I have a higher
right to life than a mosquito.…read more

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The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantially smaller
human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires a smaller human
5. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation
is rapidly worsening.
6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic,
technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply
different from the present.
7.…read more

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Mutual aid= principal means of human and animal development, empirical basis for
both anarchism and communism.
William Morris 1834-96
Romantic thinker- earth threatended by the onward rush of industrialisation
Alienation of workers + degradation of the environment could be eliminated if
simpler more traditional methods of production were introduced.
Socialist-egalitarian- remove natural tendency of capitalism to grown and industrialise
in an un-controlled fashion.…read more

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Old Sir

These notes provide a comprehensive guide to the various philosophies that underpin elements of modern ecologism. In order to successfully address assessment objective 2 students might wish to look in more detail at recent attempts at international co-operation and the degrees to which ecological issues have been successfully and unsuccessfully brought to the fore in 'mainstream' politics. Students should also be ready to link the politics of ecology through 'single issue parties' to any discussion of electoral systems, representation and participation.

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