Bright Green / Shallow Ecology
- Bright Green (or shallow ecology) refers to those environmentalists who have an optimistic and achievable set of proposals for dealing with the environmental crisis, via science and new technology.
- Bright green environmentalists focus on possibilities of renewable energy sources; they will point to clean coal technology, carbon neutral technology, wind and wave turbines and solar panels as large-scale technological solutions to the crisis.
- They are 'bright' green because they are optimistic about using aproaches that will preserve society in it's current form, and bright greens are 'anthropocentric' meaning they put humans at the center of their ideology.
- Bright green policies are criticised as some people believe these strategies are impossible to achieve, due to the current influence of enterprise on government, or will take so long to achieve that the climate change or environmental breakdown ‘tipping point’ will have passed before there is any real effect.
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Dark Green / Deep Ecology
- Dark green or deep ecological thinking is the more radical stream of ecologism. It does not recognise the 'quick fixes' of the bright greens and instead advocates a total restructuring of society.
- As deep ecology is ‘ecocentric’ (it puts the environment at the heart of the ideology) it is in conflict with more mainstream ‘anthropocentric’ ideologies (which place human life above all other), such as Liberalism, Socialism and Conservatism.
- Deep ecology regards the earth as a single ecosystem, and humans as just one part of nature, with no more rights than other species with regard to the Earth’s resources. Deep ecologists also accuse other ideologies of promoting industrialisation and never-ending economic growth, which is destroying the planet through pollution, destruction of habitats, and climate change.
- Deep ecologists strive for a fundamental change in global attitudes to material wealth and economic growth, a reduction in air travel and international trade, and a reduction in the human population, in order to create a non-industrial world, with most people living in small, self-sustained communities.
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- Light Green referes to modererate approaches to environmental politics. Much green thinking within mainstream politics is light green.
- Light green thinkers look at ways in which environmental protection can fit with small lifestyle changes such recycling, driving less, using energy saving bulbs and not leaving things on standby.
- Criticised by 'darker' ecologists as they believe that small lifestyle changes are simply not doing enough.
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Modernist Ecology / Environmentalism / Sustainable
- A form of 'bright green' or 'shallow ecology' thinking
- It seeks to reconcile ecology with capitalism, by recognising that there are 'limits to growth' as environmental degredation threatens prosperity and economic performance.
- Sustainable development - the capacity for a system to maintain it's health and continue in existence over a period of time (slower economic growth) - criticised by dark greens as it is still part of the problem of economic growth - it is just destroying the planet more slowly.
- Influenced by Burkean notion that we have obligations to future generations - society is a partnership bettween the living, dead and yet-to-be-born.
- Most modern ecologists favour state intervention as environment is a 'social cost' unrecognised by the market
- Others champion 'green capitalism' which relies on market forces to dictate a shift towards ecologically sound consumption/production.
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- An environmental critique of capitalism - once capitalism is abolished, environmental balance will occur.
- Capitalism is the enemy of nature because
- Private property encourages the belief that humans have domination over nature
- The market economy 'commodifies' nature - it turns it into something that can be bought and sold
- The capitalist system breeds materialism and consumerism and so leads to relentless growth.
- Most green parties tried to reconcile 'red' and 'green' priorities in their early years. However, as the often appalling environmental record of state-socialist societies were more widely recognised, eco-socialism lost it's appeal. However, it has been argued that these countries were actually examples of state run capitalism rather than true socialism.
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- An environmental critique of hierarchy and authority - once these are abolished, environmental balance will occur.
- Domination over other people is linked to human domination over nature.
- Promotes decentralisation, self-management and direct democracy as they are seen not only to create a balance within society, but a balance between humankind and nature.
- Eco-Anarchism has influenced the green movement - for example green parties have often favored the idea of collective leadership rather than having an authoritative figure.
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- A form of radical feminism which advances an environmental critique of patriarchy - once the patriarchy is abolished, environmental balance will occur.
- Male domination over women is linked to human domination over nature.
- Men are the enemy of nature because their reliance on reason leads them to only understand nature in terms of it's use-value
- Women live in harmony with nature as they can engage with it at a deeper psyco-emotional level.
- Once the patriarchy is overthrown society will be transformed and the male desire for control will be replaced by a desire to return to a life in partnership with nature
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