Green Web Bulletin #74

Deep   Ecology   and   Animals

                        (Paper given by David Orton at the "Representing Animals" conference, held
                        at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, on November 13-14, 2003. The
                        entire paper was not given because of time restrictions.)

             "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 of living.
             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.

            The 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
        natural world.

            Looking at the theme of this conference, “Representing Animals,” some issues become apparent:
        - 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.

            My 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."

        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 present year-round,
        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 of seals.
        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 protected areas
            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 want to
        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
, 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)

            One difference 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 rights statement,
        found in the overall important and progressive 1999 book by Rod Preece, Animals and Nature: Cultural Myths,
        Cultural Realities
                “All domestication of animals, whether it is Occidental sheep-farming, Hindu cow worship,
                 or Aboriginal rearing of hunting dogs, is a form of slavery.”
        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
        high densities.

            Activists from both movements have, I believe, much more in common than divides them. Deep ecology
        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
        has said:
            "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
        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 terms, and
        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.

            Animal liberation- and deep ecology-influenced activists would share disagreements with many mainstream
        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”:  ecological, political,
        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.

            Ethical social 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.

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        End notes
            * 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),
        16 (1973).

        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 ; 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
, 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 Devall,
        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 the
        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 Arne
        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”, May 2003,
        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 record
        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 five
        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
        Wilderness Society).

        24. Ibid., p. 6.

        25. This section of the paper on Earth spirituality arises from discussions on the left bio list held when preparing a
        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, p. 74.

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     Last updated: October 02, 2004