Deep ecology (a term coined by Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss) considers the deep philosophical causes of the environmental crisis and that the cure is to change our philosophical outlook.
In effect, deep ecology endorses biospheric egalitarianism, the view that all living things are alike in having a value in their own right, independent of its usefulness to human purposes.
Essentially, deep ecology states that there is intrinsic value to all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. For instance, deep ecology would say that we should protect the Amazon Rainforest simply because of its inherent worth (it is valuable in and of itself).
Deep ecology contrasts with the shallow ecology movement (also termed by Næss) which looks only at the immediate symptoms of the environmental crisis, not its underlying causes, and is anthropocentric (focuses on humans).
For example, the shallow reaction to acid rain tends to avoid action by demanding more research and then attempting to find species of trees that will tolerate high acidity.
However, the deep approach concentrates on what is going on in the total ecosystem and calls for a high priority fight against the economic conditions and the technology responsible for producing acid rain. The long-range concerns are one hundred years, at least.
This is because deep ecology emphasizes the interdependence of all organisms living within an ecosystem, as well as the interdependence of ecosystems within the biosphere.« Back to Glossary Index