"Biospherical egalitarianism in principle. The ‘in principle’ clause is
inserted because any
realistic praxis necessitates some killing, exploitation, and suppression.” Arne Naess (1)
"Green politics is concerned about dignity as much as about material standard
Dignity is essential to life quality. And it is extended to animals. Animal factories interfere
with the dignity of pigs.” Arne Naess (2)
When I first saw the call for the “Representing Animals” conference I was excited and interested in the
overall theme and the list of possible topics, but puzzled by the absence of any reference to deep ecology.
Deep ecology supporters defend wild animals and their habitats and try to be their advocates, as shown for
example in the work of the Earth First! Journal or the magazine Wild Earth. For deep ecology supporters,
it is Earth First!, not me first, or people first, or job or degree first. Politically, deep ecology is in contention
for the consciousness of the green movement, e.g., the Realo/Fundi discussion, and its “party” expressions,
such as here in Ontario. Deep ecology also contends theoretically with how the environmental movement in
Canada and elsewhere should define itself - that is, as a reformist or as a subversive force.
conference call stressed the involvement of supporters of “animal liberation.”
I felt it was also important
to present the role of the deep ecology movement and the involvement of its activists. Both of these movements -
since the publication in the early 70s of seminal articles by the Australian animal liberationist Peter Singer, (3) the
Norwegian founder of deep ecology Arne Naess, (4) and the late deep ecologist and “Deep Green” fellow
Australian theorist Richard Sylvan (Routley), (5) - have been involved in helping to change human consciousness
away from human-centeredness. Both movements have significantly contributed to challenging the “of course”
assumption of industrial capitalist society’s dominant world view, that humans have taken-for-granted “resource
rights” to exploit the natural world, and animals as part of that world. As deep ecology supporters see it, we
share this planet with other life forms, including all animal life, on a basis of equality. There is no hierarchy of life
forms where humans are on top of an evolutionary pyramid, free to do whatever they want with the rest of the
at the theme of this conference, “Representing Animals,” some issues
- Animals and the natural world do have a material existence in their own right, irrespective of how humans view
- How we depict animals through previous cultural socialization, or how society depicts animals and passes this
on through the educational system, becomes important to understand and, in an anthropocentric culture, to counter.
- For the activist, “representing animals” means also defending their intrinsic interests. How such interests are
understood, and how such knowledge can be acquired, becomes significant.
- Those who “study” animals often using an array of technological devices, e.g., radio collars and satellite devices,
essentially turn animals into objects and degrade their species being. This is totally unethical, but these devices are
often used as justification to obtain tracking data. All research should be non-intrusive to the animals being studied
and respectful. Wild animals are not “wild,” if every movement can be technologically monitored.
presentation focuses on deep ecology and where animals - defined to include
insects, fish, birds, mammals
(including humans), etc. - fit into this philosophy. It reflects my own theoretical and practical experience of working
with ecocentrism since about 1985. (6) Practically, I have tried to apply it in the Maritimes around actual issues -
including contentious seal issues, (7) and the “game” orientation of so-called wildlife management. (8) I also have
been taking part more generally in deep ecology’s theoretical life. This paper reflects my participation in the “left
biocentric” tendency within deep ecology, a ‘left wing’ within this philosophy. (9) Left biocentrists have come to
see mainstream deep ecology as too passive and accommodating to industrial capitalism, with no worked out
alternative economic, political or cultural vision yet, notwithstanding the conceptual break-through of deep ecology
away from human-centeredness. Left bios (what left biocentrists call themselves), are concerned with this
alternative vision and more generally with social justice and class issues, but within a dominant context of ecology.
As someone who identifies with the Left, I see human-centeredness (anthropocentrism) is a major divide between
the traditional Left, however defined, and left biocentrists. (10)
Deep ecology outlined
Presenting a deep ecology position has a number of pitfalls, because much of the philosophy is deliberatively
only suggestive. One is ultimately, no matter how involved, giving an “interpretation” of what deep ecology is
about. But this “suggestiveness” is really part of the overall philosophy. It has creative potential for activists,
according to Arne Naess:
"To be a great philosopher seems to imply that you think precisely, but do not explain all
the consequences of your ideas. That's what others will do if they have been inspired." (11)
SHALLOW AND DEEP: These terms were
first defined in a 1973 document by Arne Naess, "The Shallow and
the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement. A Summary." (12) "Shallow" here means thinking that the major
ecological problems can be resolved within, and with the continuation of, industrial capitalist society. Another term
that I use for shallow environmentalism would be "managerial environmentalism." "Sustainable development" is the
main contemporary ideology of shallow ecology. Naess himself defines the "Shallow Ecology movement" in his
early 70s article, as: "Fight against pollution and resource depletion. Central objective: the health and affluence of
people in the developed countries." "Deep" means to ask deeper questions and not stay on the surface in
discussions and struggles. This deep orientation, for left biocentrists, understands that industrial capitalist society
has a large responsibility for causing the Earth-threatening ecological crisis. (We also understand that ecological
ruination has occurred in the past locally, many times in the absence of capitalism.)
THE DEEP ECOLOGY PLATFORM: There
is an eight-point Deep Ecology Platform (13) which is widely
accepted as the “heart of deep ecology.” (14) It was worked out in 1984 by Arne Naess and George Sessions.
It gives a larger context in which to place the concern for animals. This Platform is what deep ecology activists
would use to indicate to others what its adherents share in common. It has widespread acceptance from this
perspective. It has been criticized by some as stressing biocentrism, not an Earth-centered ecocentrism. The
Platform does not mention animals directly but speaks of “nonhuman life on Earth” which is seen as having
“intrinsic value” independent of “the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.” For Naess, the
term life can include landscapes, streams, mountains and wilderness. The Platform speaks of humans only fulfilling
their “vital needs” but without defining such needs. Such vital needs give “life its deepest meaning.” (15) The
Platform, which is a fairly abstract statement, points out that economic, technological and ideological structures
have to fundamentally change. It stresses population reduction. Because this point is frequently attacked, deep
ecology activists emphasize that this is to be done without personal coercion. For people who agree with the
Platform, there is an obligation to implement such changes and become agents of social change.
COUNCIL OF ALL BEINGS: One of the
forms of interaction that has evolved within deep ecology to challenge
human-centeredness, and to try to reach out to this identification and solidarity with all life that Naess speaks of, is
the Council of All Beings. (16) It is really an extension of the concept of “Self-realization,” the expansion of
personal consciousness to include the well-being of the Earth. Although not part of the Platform, it is personally
important for Naess. Aldo Leopold, who was on the scene long before deep ecology was outlined, also spoke
of “thinking like a mountain.” (17) Leopold understood that plant-eating animals like deer are dependent on
predators like wolves to keep them from destroying their means of subsistence.
The people gathering
in the Council of All Beings try to be a voice for other life forms, such
as animals and plants,
and for the wind, rivers, mountains, etc. Sometimes participants make a mask to speak through, to represent the
non-human entity they represent. Each being speaks before the other members of the Council, of how humankind
has impacted upon them. Drums, flutes or other musical instruments can be used to call the Council together, or are
used after each Council member speaks. A Council of all Beings is actually a very moving and humbling experience
for most participants, to enable them to step outside of our taken-for-granted human-centered roles. This has
certainly been true for myself and others I know.
Some animal issues of concern to deep ecology supporters:
Applying a deep ecology perspective is not easy, especially when the issues relating to animals are very
contentious. Sealing is one such issue. (18)
We have four seal
species in my region of Atlantic Canada: grey and harbour seals which are
and the "ice" seals - harp and hooded seals which come from northern Arctic Canada with the pack ice to breed
and give birth to their young each year. The ice seals are the reason for the annual seal slaughter. The quota of harp
seals set for the next three years is 975,000, almost one million animals. The quota for hooded seals is 10,000
animals annually. It is clear that there has been a revitalization of the "fashion fur" industry which translates into
increased killing of fur-bearing animals, including seals. (19)
I like seals.
Since the early 80s I have come to see myself as defender of their interests,
as I understand those
interests. This has been done even though this position often detracts from other environmental issues in the eyes
of people with whom I am involved, such as forestry or biocide issues. To support seals is not a popular position
in Nova Scotia, the province where I live. Fishing interests are important, and I have been told by friends who are
inshore fishermen and women, that my position on sealing issues can make a lot of fishers choke in their bile. On
various environmental issues, environmentalists seek to unite with inshore fishers, for example, opposing oil and
gas leases or in creating marine protected areas. Yet generally fishers and their organizations (and plant workers)
want seals killed. If environmentalists support seals, they come into contradiction with this sentiment.
Having a sense
of these fundamental values, and determining where they fit into a basic
deep ecology and green
paradigm, is not an unimportant matter. Seal issues have been contentious, for example, with Newfoundland and
Labrador greens, reflecting to some degree their seal-hunting local culture, advancing positions on the annual seal
slaughter which have been contested, in the present and in the past, by party greens in central and western Canada.
Greens are expected to be sensitive to local cultural considerations but such considerations, I believe, have to be
placed in the context of putting the welfare of the Earth and all its life forms first. The basic divide is whether or not
we put the Earth first or people's interest first. Do we support, when it comes down to it, a green ecocentrism or a
green human egocentrism?
Seals have beauty
and intrinsic value irrespective of how we humans view them. These values
are independent of
the so-called usefulness of seals for human purposes. This is a deep seated ethical or philosophical belief. Those
who subscribe to such beliefs, although seemingly a minority in public discourse in the Atlantic Region, are helping to
change human consciousness away from a taken for granted human-centeredness, which looks at seals as a
"resource" to exploit.
I do support subsistence
use of seals by aboriginals and non-aboriginals, subject to adequate numbers
Some aboriginals have let me know of their support for positions against commercial sealing which I have circulated.
(20) The position also illustrates one of the quotations by Naess used to introduce this paper, that biospherical
egalitarianism does necessitate some killing, exploitation, and suppression.
Aboriginal hunting in parks and
Left biocentrists oppose aboriginal hunting or trapping in parks or protected areas in Southern Canada as a matter
of principle. (The term “aboriginal” as used here, includes Indian, Inuit and Metis. The term “First Nation” is more
restrictive and encompasses only Indian people.) (21) The situation in the mid and far North is more complicated,
where aboriginals often form the majority of the local population, and subsistence use of wildlife is important as part
of a more traditional lifestyle without a lot of other options. The 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on
Aboriginal Peoples, advocated for aboriginals forms of Nature exploitation for today - access to parks and wildlife
areas - which belong to a bygone era, when there were relatively few humans, an abundant and diverse wildlife and
industrial society was non-existent. (22) Those who rightly seek social justice for aboriginal Canadians, but who are
also advocates for wildlife and the ecology, cannot allow human-centered disputes between aboriginal populations
and the Canadian government to be resolved at Nature’s expense.
A recent report,
Honouring the Promise: Aboriginal values in protected areas in Canada,
by the National
Aboriginal Forestry Association (NAFA) and the Wildlands League (an Ontario chapter of CPAWS) (23) goes
against this position. It continues the thrust of the earlier Royal Commission report about park hunting and trapping.
It presents the view that more aboriginals are coming to see "protected" areas positively, provided that such areas
are open to hunting and trapping; that there are economic benefits; and that such areas provide opportunities to
showcase local aboriginal cultures. The historic view it presents of the aboriginals’ attitude towards the land is just
glossy: "Since time immemorial, Aboriginal Peoples have exercised long traditions of responsible environmental
management." (24) The report is totally human-centered and the view of animals presented is a selfish one. Animals
are seen as having been placed on Earth for aboriginal harvesting, inside or outside of protected areas or parks. The
changed ecological situation today really seems irrelevant. The report leans in its overall thrust towards economic
"development," not ecological management.
It is important
to fully support any economic spin-off benefits from parks or protected
areas to go to aboriginals in
the immediate areas. In northern areas where aboriginals are in the majority, their support will decide whether or not
new protected areas come into being. One cannot oppose traditional “subsistence” use of the land in such situations,
but one can oppose the commercial exploitation of wildlife or plant life in newly created protected areas or parks. In
southern Canada, the push for hunting and trapping in existing parks and protected areas, or “harvesting” in marine
protected areas, under the banner of historical use by aboriginals, should be strongly opposed. The Earth belongs to
no one, not even to aboriginal peoples.
Earth spirituality (25)
The three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, are not Earth-centered but prioritize humans over
animals and Nature, and are pro-natalist. Notwithstanding ecological counter-currents like Saint Francis of Assisi,
or contemporary counterparts like Thomas Berry, within Christianity the main thrust of these three religions is
“dominion” over the creatures of the Earth. The Vedic religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism - have offered
ecological promise for some supporters of deep ecology, with beliefs in egalitarianism, non-violence, the cyclic
nature of existence without beginning or end, and in reincarnation, with the belief that the soul or essence of an
individual reappears in other bodies, not necessarily human; and the view that the Divine is to be found in ALL that
exists. Humans, however, are still favoured in reincarnation. It is important to remember that modern day religious
fundamentalists from the Abrahamic religions want to re-sacralize human societies, not the natural world.
In the past, “society”
included humans and other animals, as well as plants. Deep Ecology supporters
re-sacralize Nature, so that we as societies see the Earth as alive and spiritual. This re-sacralization of the Earth is
not seen as a concern with establishing some new institutional religion, but a spiritual quest needed for humans to
once again co-exist with animal and plant life. Earlier aboriginal animistic societies, which sustained hunter/gatherers
over many thousands of years, although ultimately human-centered, had the view that animals and plants had their
own intrinsic spirits and values. This basic belief acted as a restraint on human exploitation, although not preventing
the now documented extinctions of animals in the Americas, Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand. Industrial
capitalist society, in order to commodify Nature and treat animals as objects, had to undermine the Earth’s
spirituality. Bringing this Earth spirituality back is important, but we need to go beyond a human-centered animism.
Canadian ecophilosopher and naturalist John Livingston pointed out in the 1981 book The Fallacy of Wildlife
Conservation, that “there is no rational argument for wildlife preservation” (26) within the Western cosmology of
so-called industrial progress. We need a new language and a new philosophical and spiritual outlook. Deep ecology
is part of this path forward.
Activism: animals in a deep ecology
context or defended in themselves? (27)
Activists from the animal liberation and deep ecology movements do not seem to work closely together, although
some activists identify with both movements, as I do myself. It seems to me that this common identification is more
pronounced on the deep ecology side of the debate. Personally, I am always moved by the sense of compassion for
other species that animal liberation supporters bring to any discussion. This also serves as a check to myself to not
overlook the suffering of individual animals in the interests of some larger ecological purpose. Deep ecology supporters
and animal liberation supporters are often found on the same side of the barricades on issues such as:
- Opposing the commercial use of animals in the fur industry, commercial sealing, and trapping;
- Habitat protection;
- Opposing cruelty to all animals;
- Opposing zoos;
- Opposing the domestication of wild animals for human consumption;
- Opposing opening up parks or reserves for hunting;
- Opposing, in southern Canada, hunting or trapping in wildlife parks or other recognized land and marine protected
areas by all, or “out of season” year-round hunting on crown lands, by aboriginal Canadians, because of alleged
treaty or traditional rights.
However, not all
deep ecology supporters, including myself, are vegetarians or totally oppose
hunting. Among left
biocentrists, we essentially agree to disagree on these contradictions, irrespective of strongly held personal beliefs.
We consider the “primary contradiction” to be with industrial capitalist society and its Earth-destructive
anthropocentric world view and practices, against which we need to unite. (28)
with animal liberation supporters, is that the outlook of deep ecology supporters
is more towards
species, populations and the ecosystem, rather than the individual animal. Wild animals, not domestic ones, are the
focus for deep ecology supporters. There could also be differences on whether or not to remove feral or introduced
“exotic” species from particular ecosystems. Deep ecology supporters would not particularly favour animals which
are seen as close to humans, understood to experience “sentience,” or pain or suffering. They will not take up only
animal issues, but also issues which indirectly impact wildlife, such as habitat concerns. Wild animals are defended
in the ecological context, which animals depend upon. The community of life is one. The welfare of animals and the
welfare of habitats are intertwined. This thinking has meant, for example, in the Canadian Maritimes, opposing
industrial forestry practices such as clear cutting and the narrowing of the species diversity of the Acadian forest for
tree species favoured by pulp mills; opposing forestry biocide spraying, etc. (29) Just recently, it has meant opposing
the greatly increasing presence of off-highway vehicles in Nova Scotia, which is destroying habitats where wild
animals live, as well as frightening them and making easier access for hunting. (30) Deep ecology supporters in the
Maritimes have been a public voice against the “game” hunting orientation of so-called wildlife management and
advocated preserving wildlife for its own sake.
I do not believe
that most deep ecology supporters would accept the commonly expressed animal
found in the overall important and progressive 1999 book by Rod Preece, Animals and Nature: Cultural Myths,
“All domestication of animals, whether it is Occidental sheep-farming, Hindu cow worship,
or Aboriginal rearing of hunting dogs, is a form of slavery.” (31)
Deep ecology supporters make a distinction between wild animals and animals that have evolved in close association
with humans. The latter must be treated humanely but they are not "slaves." We cannot ignore the co-evolution of
humans with domestic animals. Humans have depended historically on domestic animals to live in large numbers at
both movements have, I believe, much more in common than divides them. Deep
supporters believe, however, that there can be no long term future for wildlife without major reductions in human
populations or in industrial consumerism, and without ending the perpetual industrial growth economy. As Naess
"We must live at a level that we seriously can wish others to attain, not at a level that requires
the bulk of humanity NOT to reach." Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress
of Ecophilosophy (32)
Activists who try to follow and apply deep ecology have therefore, through this philosophy, sought alternative
societal structures to those of industrial capitalist society and place their concerns for animals within such a context.
For deep ecology supporters, there are animal rights - but there are also plant, mountain and river rights, and all
are of importance.
Both animal liberation
and deep ecology activists have come to define “community” not just in human
thus both threaten the anthropocentric status-quo. Left biocentrists have been discussing how to conceptualize
“ecocentric governance,” seen as a community of ALL beings, not just human beings. Left biocentrists, following
Arne Naess, do not believe in “ownership” or private property regarding the natural world. (33) The Earth should
remain a Commons. Left bios support usufruct use and a responsible right of use of Nature, but we need to be
accountable to communities of all beings.
and deep ecology-influenced activists would share disagreements with many
environmentalist organizations which are human-centered and basically accept the continuation of industrial society.
I hope this paper will serve a “bridging” function between the two movements, by explaining more the deep ecology
Identification with the primacy of the natural world and with animals, and becoming an advocate for animals, is
not dependent on coming in contact with deep ecology or animal liberation. It is a personal evolution in expanding
one’s consciousness, rooted in experience of life. But once on this path, such philosophies can help to make a larger
sense of the world around us and show that there is a constituency that one can orient to. To bring about societal
changes, however, personal paths are not enough. I believe the philosophy of deep ecology has captured what should
be our relationship to the natural world for post-industrial society. It is a philosophy which is not only about ideas but
also about feelings and emotions. Deep ecology is part of the larger green movement - the first social movement in
history to advocate a lower material standard of living, from the perspective of industrial consumerism.
I have to come
to see that, as well as working for conservation, it is necessary to work
for the individual welfare
of animals. This is an important contribution and lesson from the animal rights or animal liberation movement. Animal
welfare, as well as the concern with species or populations and the preservation of habitat, must be part of any
acceptable restoration ecology.
I have argued
in this paper that a conference concerned with “Representing Animals” must
pay attention to the
deep ecology philosophy, and I have shown some of the similarities and differences with animal liberation thinking.
The paper has presented the view that animal liberation and deep ecology must accept their differences as secondary,
while carrying on respectful debates, in order to work together for animals.
I have presented
the position that deep ecology places animals in a necessary “context”:
economic and cultural. I have also argued that while opposing hunting in protected areas and parks, deep ecology
does provide a basis to unite with traditionalist aboriginals who stand against the “resourcism” of industrial
consumerist society. This means accepting subsistence hunting for aboriginals - and for non-aboriginals. Also, deep
ecology provides a theoretical basis to unite with those hunters (with lots of pre-conditions) who maintain respect
towards Nature and wildlife, and who oppose industrialized high-tech hunting with its “resourcist” view of wildlife.
To speak for animals, we must maintain principled but non-reductionist positions.
relativism, despite post-modernism, is not acceptable for activists. Deep
ecology offers a
philosophical overview and an inclusive, much expanded view of “community.” Respect for animals is an integral part
of preserving the community of life which, ultimately, human existence depends upon.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* I would like to acknowledge the thoughtful contributions of members of the internet discussion group “left bio”
to this paper - through background discussions within the group, and by their observations on a draft copy posted
for comment. “Left bio” has been in existence for over six years, and consists of people in general support of the
theoretical tendency of left biocentrism within deep ecology. A ten-point Left Biocentrism Primer is available on
1. Naess, Arne. “The Shallow And
The Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements: A Summary”, Inquiry (Oslo),
2. Naess, Arne. In Philosophical
Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy, edited by Nina
Witoszek and Andrew Brennan, (Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1999), p. 61.
3. Singer, Peter. “Animal Liberation”
in The New York Review of Books. These three articles were all published
in 1973. They were all far-reaching essays searching for an environmental ethic, amazingly published in the same year.
4. Naess, Arne. “The Shallow And The Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements: A Summary”.
5. Sylvan, Richard (then Routley),
“Is There a Need for a New, an Environmental Ethic?”, published in
Proceedings of the XV World Congress of Philosophy, No. 1. Varna.
6. By 1985, I had accepted the philosophy
of deep ecology, started applying it and making it known to others.
A reflection of this is in the Green Web Literature list.
7. There have been a number of interventions
by me on seal issues. The two most recent are “Seals and Greens:
Some Value Conflicts”, May 2003, published in the on-line publication The Green Party Review at
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~whulet/GPR/Vol1_Issue1/Seal_Hunt.htm ; and “Anthropocentrism and Theoretical
Fatalism: A Comment on the Terms of Reference of the ‘Eminent Panel on Seal Management’”, November
23, 2000, printed in The Northern Forest Forum, Candlemas 2001, Vol. 8, No. 6, and also available on our web
8. Opposing the “game” and human-centered
orientation of wildlife policy in Nova Scotia has been a theme of the
critique of industrial forestry to be found in a number of publications on our Literature list. In 1992 at a public
meeting in Truro, I presented an “Alternative Vision for Wildlife in Nova Scotia”, based on deep ecology but
with concrete policy proposals, in opposition to “A Wildlife Strategy” from the Wildlife Advisory Council. This
“game” orientation also has a marine manifestation in fisheries policies and in marine protected areas policies. See,
for example, my opposition to this in “Marine Protected Areas: A Human-Centric Concept”, published in the
Earth First! Journal, December 1999/January 2000 (Vol. 20, No. 2). Also published in The Northern Forest
Forum, Summer Solstice 2000, Vol. 8, No. 3.
9. A personal letter from George
Sessions to me dated 4/19/98, which was also copied to Arne Naess, Bill
Andrew McLaughlin and Howard Glasser, commented on two “My Path to Left Biocentrism” Green Web
Bulletins (#63 and #64), which Sessions described as “very fine.” These Bulletins outline provisionally a Left
Biocentric position. (There have been further “My Path” Bulletins since.) Sessions’ letter noted in part:
“Personally, I agree with almost everything you say in the Left Biocentric Primer... It’s a real shame that the Green
parties came under the influence of Bookchin and not your version of Left Biocentrism - it’s obvious that’s where
they need to head. So, I have no necessary bones to pick with your idea of a Left wing of the Deep Ecology
movement, more power to you and your colleagues. I wonder if the word ‘Left’ is the appropriate one to use (as
opposed to social justice).”
10. An attempt to outline the relationship
to the Left for the left biocentric theoretical tendency is included in
document “Is Left Biocentrism Relevant to Green Parties?”, a talk to the Green Party of Canada convention in
Ottawa, August 06, 2000. A number of positive and negative ideas from the Left are outlined. While more negative
ideas were given, the call was to include the positive ideas as part of any left biocentric synthesis. This document
was published in the on line Canadian deep ecology magazine The Trumpeter, Vol. 16, No. 1, on the web at
11. Rothenberg, David . Is It
Painful To Think?: Conversations with Arne Naess, (University of Minnesota
Press, 1993), p. 98.
12. Naess, Arne. “The Shallow And The Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements: A Summary.”
13. See for this version of the Platform,
Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry, edited by Bill Devall,
(San Francisco, Sierra Club Books and Earth Island Press, 1993), p. 235.
14. A widely reproduced and accepted
description within deep ecology circles, coined by Andrew McLaughlin,
author of Regarding Nature: Industrialism and Deep Ecology, (State University of New York Press, 1993).
15. Naess, Arne. Life’s Philosophy:
Reason & Feeling In A Deeper World, (Athens & London, The
University of Georgia Press, 2002), p.107.
16. The basic text, often used as
a guide for such Councils, is by John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming and
Naess, Thinking Like A Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings, (Santa Cruz, New Society Publishers,
17. See the discussion called “Thinking
Like a Mountain” in Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac: With
Essays on Conservation from Round River, (New York, A Sierra Club/Ballantine Book, 1949), pp. 137-141.
18. This section on seals is taken
from my earlier paper, “Seals and Greens: Some Value Conflicts”,
published in the on-line publication The Green Party Review.
19. According to an article in The
Globe and Mail (April 14, 2003), in 2002, harp seal pelts brought a
price of $75 dollars as opposed to prices a few years ago of about $5.
20. Allister Marshall, a Mi’kmaq
environmental activist in Nova Scotia, has expressed support for left biocentric
seal positions. Steve Lawson and Suzanne Hare of the First Nations Environmental Network West, wrote an
e-mail (November 29, 2000) saying “We applaud your response on Seal ‘management’ and endorse your views”
and “perhaps we could all put out a joint statement on Atlantic Seals.” It is important to point out here that the
Canadian First Nations Environmental Network, in a press release of May 18, 1999, opposed the resumption of
whaling by the Makah on the West Coast and said “Spiritually and morally, the act of killing whales cannot be
21. These definitions are used in
the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, in
volumes (Minister of Supply and Services Canada). This Report, of almost 4,000 pages, is the most
comprehensive review ever done in Canada devoted to the aboriginal peoples. Media coverage said it had cost
$58 million dollars, the most expensive Royal Commission in Canadian history. My assessment and critique of
this Report is given in the 1999 Green Web Bulletin #67 (A&B), “Unfashionable Ideas: A Left Biocentric
Critique of the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.”
22. For example, the above Report
asks the federal government to “amend the National Parks Act to permit
traditional Aboriginal activity in national parks.” (Vol. 5, p. 194.)
23. National Aboriginal Forestry
Association and Wildlands League, Honouring the Promise: Aboriginal
values in protected areas in Canada, (September, 2003). This document is signed by Harry Bombay for the
National Aboriginal Forestry Association, and by Anne Bell and Tim Gray for CPAWS (Canadian Parks and
24. Ibid., p. 6.
25. This section of the paper on
Earth spirituality arises from discussions on the left bio list held when
1,000 word submission on Left Biocentrism for the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, due to be published in
26. Livingston, John. The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation, (Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1981), p. 102.
27. This section of the paper draws
from the document on our web site, dated January 09, 2000, “Deep Ecology
and Animal Rights: A Discussion Paper.”
28. See Green Web Bulletin #70,
“My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part III - Handling Contradictions.” This
document grew out of various theoretical discussions concerning “contradictions” among supporters of left
biocentrism. On the issue of vegetarianism it is important to note the position of Naess himself, in his article
“Deep Ecology And Lifestyle”: “Vegetarianism, total or partial.” See Deep Ecology For The 21st Century,
edited by George Sessions (Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1995), p. 261.
29. The most recent published forestry
article is “‘Sustainable’ Forestry in Nova Scotia?”, in The Northern
Forest Forum, Winter Solstice 2002, Vol. 9, No. 4.
30. See a talk given at the Off-Highway
Vehicle Use Voluntary Planning public meeting in Truro, Nova Scotia, on
October 21st, 2003, called “Off-Highway Vehicle Use: A Reflection of Industrialized Society’s Alienation
From the Natural World.”
31. Preece, Rod. Animals and Nature:
Cultural Myths, Cultural Realities, (UBC Press, 1999), p. xix.
I favourably reviewed this book under the title “Re-evaluating Traditions”, published in the Journal of
International Wildlife Law & Policy, Vol. 2:3 (1999).
32. Naess, Arne. Philosophical Dialogues, p. 224.
33. As Naess puts it, “The earth
does not belong to humans.” See Deep Ecology For The 21st Century,
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