Green Web Bulletin #70

My Path to Left Biocentrism:
Part III - Handling Contradictions

                                                                                                           by David Orton

             “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.”                   Arne Naess,  Is It Painful To Think?, p. 98

    There are lots of contradictions within deep ecology, which has always celebrated the many different paths to this perspective. In the book by David Rothenberg, of conversations with Arne Naess, the Norwegian founder of deep ecology seems to give such contradictions a philosophical grounding, as the above quote shows.(1)

    This bulletin discusses some contradictions which emerged among people who in some way support deep ecology and left biocentrism, both theoretically and in its application to various environmental issues. It also discusses contradictions arising from discussions and mutual support activities with animal rights supporters and ecofeminists. The analysis and description of contradictions draws heavily on the discussions which have taken place in the internet discussion group “left bio” over a three-year period. The interpretation of these discussions is my own.

    “Left bio” is a group which activists join if they are interested in exploring together what socially-conscious ecocentric philosophy means. People in the group are, to the most extent, self-selected and are drawn from the environmental, green and, to a lesser extent, the animal rights movements and also include some academics. The movements have much in common but also have some contradictions philosophically. Admission to left bio is by invitation. New members need to be in general agreement with the ten-point Left Biocentrism Primer.(2) (The discussion group operated before the Primer existed. The Primer was agreed upon in March of 1998, after a protracted collective discussion. It then became the basis of unity for left bio.)  (3) The group also functions as a support network for many of its members, who can feel individually isolated in their local areas.

    There are always dilemmas between being an individual and yet working collectively with others on theoretical and philosophical questions. Most green theorists work individually, even though they draw their sustenance from the movement. My resolution of this on left biocentric positions has been to have discussions with others interested in left biocentric issues, and  incorporate their feedback into the document.

    Deep ecology, to become a revolutionary social movement, has to outline a sweeping program of social change with alternative social, political, and economic visions. Left biocentrism advocates a contracting economy instead of a growth economy. Saral Sarkar, in his 1999 book Eco-socialism or eco-capitalism? points out that, “For the first time in history, a social movement ‘promises’ a lower standard of living if it is successful.”(4) Sarkar gives the argument for what a contracting economy would mean: we have to measure “progress” as moral and ethical growth; there must be concrete policies for reducing social inequities, with a sharing of the burden according to financial capacity; and, a reduction of the standard of living in the so-called highly developed economies is required.

    Voluntary simplicity (living the deep ecology talk) and change through individual consciousness-raising, both important to deep ecology supporters, are not enough. The late Australian deep ecology philosopher and activist Richard Sylvan (5), has had an important influence on the emergence of a left critical tendency within deep ecology, which Sylvan himself called “deep green theory.” It is very interesting that Arne Naess and Richard Sylvan (then using the name Routley), as well as the animal liberation theorist Peter Singer, all published their seminal papers outlining their future core ideas in the same year - 1973!(6) In a 1994 book co-authored with David Bennett, The Greening of Ethics: From Human Chauvinism to Deep-Green Theory, Sylvan and Bennett say that deep ecology promotes “change” as occurring through individual consciousness raising and personal change. Somehow, they say, these changes are supposed to work their way through political and economic structures using existing political “democratic” means. They make the point that deep ecopolitics has to be much more than this. In this book, the authors are critical that Naess does not deliver on an alternative green politics. The major reason for this, they feel, is that they see Naess as committed “to a strong central state, to democratic voting arrangements and mixed capitalism.”(7) Yet capitalist democracy has not threatened the dominant industrial ideology or the interests of the major power holders. So a radical ecopolitics inspired by deep ecology must go far beyond this.

    I believe that Richard Sylvan raised very important criticisms of deep ecology. He himself accepted the Deep Ecology Platform, so he was a rare critic from within. But I do not believe that deep green theory, as conceived by him, really presented a distinctive path, theoretically or practically as outlined in the last book before his unexpected death. I also do not share the beliefs in non-violence, pacifism and organized anarchism which Sylvan supported. He was however a revolutionary not a reformist. In his last book he said that, “Deep environmental groups should begin to prepare, carefully and thoroughly, for revolutionary action.”(8)

    One of the distinctions among ecocentrists of various hues, is what they see as the “primary contradiction” in society. The central issue which binds left biocentrists together are the ideas which are summarized in the Left Biocentrism Primer, as well as support for deep ecology. Left biocentrism supporters see some contradictions as primary, and others as secondary. From this perspective, the primary contradiction is with industrial capitalist society and its Earth-destructive anthropocentric world view and practices. Secondary contradictions are differences which are firmly held beliefs on various other issues. Some secondary contradictions are: vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism; non-violence as an intrinsic part of deep ecology; love or anger as key motivating factors for radical ecocentric activists; whether the terms “biocentrism” or “ecocentrism” are most appropriate in deep ecology; hunting versus non-hunting; whether or not intrusive wildlife research is acceptable in conservation biology; whether/how to work with mainstream or radical environmentalists; the place of ecotage in environmental activism; the place of patriarchy and spirituality in deep ecology, etc. If there is no consensus reached on these positions, then the differences are lived with, for the sake of the larger unity against the primary contradiction.

    Perhaps the sharpest discussions on secondary contradictions within left bio arose around the issue of vegetarianism. Participants in this discussion eventually came to accept, that if the discussion group was to continue, then the position had to be lived with that a supporter of deep ecology could be an omnivore or vegetarian. This, because it reflects the reality of the support for these two positions within deep ecology and hence inside and outside of the discussion group. Naess himself has said in his essay “Deep Ecology & Lifestyle” that supporters of deep ecology tend to “Vegetarianism, total or partial.”(9) Both vegetarian and omnivore deep ecology supporters on left bio share belief in an organic bioregional food policy. For many, vegetarianism is an ultimate value.

    Providing we accept a basic ecocentric world view, and if we are trying to outline a general philosophical tendency like left biocentrism which has to mobilize a constituency, then many differences have to be accepted as secondary. If one is an organizer, which is an explicit requirement for supporters of deep ecology, then there can be no interest in pyrrhic victories. It cannot be a question of scoring points such as “Who is the simplest, the deepest deep ecologist of us all?” In our discussion group it became clear that for some people who are left bios, what is seen as secondary, to others is to be seen as fundamental to who they are. This has to be respected.

    Naess, Sessions, Sylvan and most deep ecologists known to me, profess their belief in non-violence. This has impacted on the deep ecology movement is a substantive way. I consider myself a non-violent person and try to organize this way. But I am not a political or sentimental fool. The Deep Ecology Platform or the Left Biocentrism Primer do not advocate non-violence as part of their tenets, but this does not stop individuals who support either or both of these documents from having an absolute belief in non-violence. Non-violence is routinely referred to as being part of deep ecology. This absolute belief in non-violence is not mine.

    The name of the game for those who support deep ecology is consciousness changing, but in my mind there is a servility associated with public declarations of non-violence. What is being declared is that one is part of “the loyal opposition”, not really a threat to the state, and therefore the forces of repression should not repress. Yet when we have won over a majority to ecocentrism and to terminating industrial society by non-violent methods, then the old order will violently resist. We will have to deal with this, as we have to deal with physical attacks against activists. In general, the forces of law and order are there first and foremost to defend and protect the industrial exploitive machine and private property. Opposing economic growth, consumerism and the destruction of the natural world, will ultimately be considered seditious. Violence will then be used against us, no matter how non-violent we are in our actions.

    Mahatma Gandhi has influenced the deep ecology movement, particularly through the writings of Arne Naess. While there is much to admire about Gandhi there are also points of disagreement.(10) Naess interprets Gandhi as giving the following organizing guidelines for environmental campaigns, which I disagree with and find totally naive: “It is a central norm of the Gandhian approach to ‘maximise contact with your opponent!’” and “Trust your opponent as you trust yourself!”.(11)

    Philosophically, I have never understood that, while violence against humans is considered wrong, violence against the Earth and its life forms does not have the same level of condemnation. This favouring of human life is a manifestation of anthropocentrism within the deep ecology movement and it is something that I, as a left biocentrist, theoretically oppose.

    Deep ecology is also about holding the Earth, not the individual or the collective, as sacred. The spiritual side of left biocentrism is of increasing importance, if there is to be a revolutionary re-orientation and scaling back of industrial capitalist society, and if we are to stop treating all of Nature as merely “resources” for human consumption. This spiritual examination was a particularly important contribution of Rudolf Bahro although, unfortunately, he lost his way on this path.(12) (By 1985 Bahro resigned from the German Green Party, and saw that green parties had become defenders, not dismantlers, of industrial society.) A spiritual concern does not mean bringing back any kind of organized religion, which by giving people “souls” helped to remove people from any Earth community membership. Instead, we humans have to relearn from past animistic societies on how to share identities with other animals, plants, Nature itself, and with other peoples. The aboriginal expression “all my relations” is an animistic slogan. With an animistic outlook, destroying other species and their habitats by expanding solely human/corporate interests, would be unthinkable from an ethical viewpoint. We need to understand how to bring about ecopsychological changes.

    I have come to see that supporters of deep ecology come together from a wide variety of backgrounds, on a deep level of unity that is Nature-based - that is, support for biocentrism or ecocentrism, putting the Earth first, etc. Supporters feel that they are part of the natural world and morally obligated to be a voice for its pain and for other species and their habitats. This is a powerful basis of unity which we share.

    But there can be very significant differences on what such a perspective means and how to implement it within industrial capitalist society. Should one support or not:
- Forest “certification” endeavours like the so-called Forest Stewardship Council, which seeks to reward in the marketplace better forestry practices?(13)
- Should one work to “save” land or marine areas, or work to exclude oil and gas exploration (for example from the relatively shallow waters of Northumberland Strait off  Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), if the only way of doing this is manipulating and legitimating industrial capitalist society,  its institutions and values?
- Should one “work the system” in a so-called multi-(human)stakeholder process or remain in opposition with alternative visions - and try to build independent support, if the system itself is Earth-destroying? Usually working the system with mainstream environmentalists, means that deeper ecological visions are seen as counterproductive to the tasks at hand and are excluded from public discussions.(14)
The significance of such choices for activists, for where they should put their time for overall societal change, is profound. As a deep ecology-inspired activist, is one providing direction for others to a revolutionary path, or direction up the “garden path”?

    Those who run the industrial system like things the way they are. Opposition is usually ignored until it becomes perceived as some kind of threat. Then overtures to the opposition are made to enter the process, with the promise of “reform” or “change” - but not abolition, of that which is being criticized. However, to accept and enter the process, means also to accept certain basic assumptions: regarding the World Trade Organization, for example, the CONTINUATION of this organization and its global economic priorities; or the acceptance of a growth economy, increasing consumption and the market; or for instance, the “co-existence” of the oil and fishing industries and the “right” of fossil fuel companies in principle to commercially exploit oil and gas deposits, without regard for the impending global warming horrors. I believe that deeper alternatives do not and cannot emerge from these kinds of multi-stakeholder participation. Environmentalists participate from a position of weakness: philosophically disarmed; without a large, mobilized social base behind them; and with the present reality that the only economic model is that of the grow-or-die transnational corporation.

    Arne Naess, by personal example in his writings and lifestyle, has brought a refreshing tolerance to differences within the deep ecology movement. As he has said, “the front is long”. Even if a comment on deep ecology is very hostile, Naess always finds something positive to say. This  attitude has profoundly influenced deep ecology. It is in healthy contrast to the internecine warfare to be found for example, in the traditional left or between various pro and anti Murray Bookchin factions within social ecology. However, a negative side to this “the front is long” tolerance in deep ecology, seems to be a certain laissez-faire attitude towards important theoretical questions by many activists.

    Perhaps much more ominously, the work done around the ecofascism bulletin (15), have convinced me that there can be contemporary fascist groups and individuals who try to integrate nature awareness as part of a fascist ideology. (The ecofascism bulletin showed how some pro-Bookchin social ecology supporters have used this term in a basically unfounded manner to attack deep ecology and the ecology movement and the late German Green philosopher Rudolf Bahro.) There are some signs of this biocentrism/ecofascism linkage in Europe, and this has nothing to do with the deep ecology paranoia expressed by rightist European writers like Anna Bramwell (The Fading of the Greens: The Decline of Environmental Politics in the West) or Luc Ferry (The New Ecological Order). I have come to believe that the implementation of some kind of deep ecology awareness in society could also be done using fascist social methods. Hence the need for a progressive ecological politics within deep ecology, and the overall importance of the work of left biocentrists.

    There are many areas in common between deep ecology and animal rights/animal liberation supporters and there is collaboration on the ground, in areas of mutual interest. Both movements are helping to change consciousness, away from human-centeredness and the automatic assumptions of “resource rights” to exploit wildlife and the natural world. Both movements pose major threats to the status quo. Yet activists from both movements are sometimes at odds with each other, although some identify with both movements - perhaps more so on the deep ecology side.(16)

    Some of the basic agreements are: opposition to the commercial use of wild animals and the fur trade; support for habitat protection; opposing the cruelty of modern, mass production animal agriculture and the use of animals for experimental purposes to benefit humans; opposing zoos; opposing the domestication of wild land or marine animals for human consumption; and not supporting the aboriginal exploitation of wildlife reserves or protected areas.

    Distancing areas are: deep ecology supporters have a greater concern for species, populations and the ecosystem than the individual animal; wild animals are favoured over domestic animals; deep ecology supporters do not believe in prioritizing animals with a developed central nervous system which are seen as close to humans; deep ecology supporters want a total shift from the industrial paradigm; animal rights supporters would oppose the removal of feral animals or exotics, even if they destructively impact ecosystems; animal rights supporters see vegetarianism as an ultimate value, whereas some deep ecology supporters are omnivores; and some deep ecology supporters continue to hunt or do not oppose it, whereas animal rights supporters would oppose all hunting.

    Animal rights activists and deep ecology supporters have many common causes and much to teach each other. For the sake of nature, there is a need to collaborate on certain campaigns such as opposing the Canadian seal hunt, the leg hold trap, or hunting in parks and wildlife areas. And there is a need for open-mindedness to permit theoretical discussions on disagreements to take place.

    Ecofeminism sees the way nature is subjugated and exploited directly related to the oppression of women in society. Back in 1989, in a paper entitled “Green Marginality In Canada”, written by myself and Helga Hoffmann, there was a short section on ecofeminism. We said that women in Canada were economically, sexually and culturally oppressed. Also, that we were committed to the position that a non-exploitive and sustainable relationship with the natural world required a social world where the oppression of women has been eliminated and where women participated on an equal basis in every sphere of social life. However, we also made it clear that we did not endorse the body of theory called ecofeminism.(17)

    Working within the environmental and green movements, one sees some differences between the way women and men tend to organize. Among women there seems to be more concern for inclusiveness, talking things through, expressing feelings and seeking consensus, and paying attention to group dynamics, as well as carrying out a particular activity. Yet sexual identity should  not convey a “leadership” role, as for example the film by Shelley Wine “Fury For The Sound: The Women At Clayoquot” asserts.(18) Her film makes the struggle to save the ancient forests of Clayoquot Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island basically a women’s struggle, and thus creates disunity within the environmental movement. (I was asked a few months ago by a female professor at Dalhousie University about the “women’s environmental movement” in Canada. I said that there are many women leaders in the Canadian environmental movement, but there was ONE environmental movement, so far as I was concerned.)

    Ecofeminist writings are usually closer to social ecology on the social side, whereas on the nature side, ecofeminism is closer to deep ecology. To the extent that the social aspect is the main tendency within ecofeminism, social ecology is favoured. I believe that the creation of an “ecofeminism” has, unfortunately, drawn many women away from the deep ecology movement. It created a commonplace but erroneous view that the philosophy of deep ecology is somehow intrinsically “male”. While this is not true, one has to acknowledge that there is a male bias in published writings by deep ecology theorists.(19)

    The fundamental left biocentric critique of ecofeminism, which has a number of faces, is its human, female gender exclusiveness, and hence splitting character for a general philosophical theory. In a 1998 reader called Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, the section on ecofeminism has articles by various ecofeminist authors: Karen Warren, Carolyn Merchant, Val Plumwood and Ariel Salleh. Warren, who gives a comprehensive and enlightening overview, points out that just as there is not one feminism, there is not one ecofeminism:
“‘Ecological feminism’ is the name given to a variety of positions that have roots in different feminist practices and philosophies. These different perspectives reflect not only different feminist perspectives (e.g. liberal, traditional Marxist, radical, socialist, black, and Third World feminisms); they also reflect different understandings of the nature of, and solution to, pressing environmental problems....what one takes to be a genuine ecofeminist position will depend largely on how one conceptualizes both feminism and ecofeminism....
What all ecofeminists agree about is that there are important connections between the domination of women and the domination of nature, an understanding of which is crucial to feminism, environmentalism, and environmental philosophy.”(20)

    Yet none of the above ecofeminist writers addresses the “splitting” issue underlying ecofeminist theory. Ecofeminism sees itself as an ALTERNATIVE theoretical framework or philosophy to deep ecology. Warwick Fox, in his 1989 article “The Deep Ecology-Ecofeminism Debate and its Parallels” in Environmental Ethics has presented so far the best overall critique of ecofeminism from a deep ecology perspective.(21) I do not agree with some deep ecologists who have said that ecofeminism is a “variety” of ecocentrism or a way of approaching the Deep Ecology Platform. The front is long, but we do need some philosophical commonalities.

    Patriarchy is very real, but we should try to sort it out within the deep ecology approach where we have some basis of unity, and not in opposition to deep ecology. Philosophical discussion must lead to moving forward practically. I believe that an ecologically informed feminism and deep ecology can be compatible.

    Within the deep ecology movement, there is a position which may be termed “right ecocentrism.” I know a number of right ecocentrists and we cooperate on activist mutual-interest work. Right ecocentrists agree with left biocentrists on the ecological and ethical side but seem to believe that an ecocentric society can be implemented within the existing society. Hence one sees a kind of “retreatism”, that is, a movement away from the radical and subversive essence of deep ecology, to an acceptance of a capitalism, private property and an economic growth framework. Appeals are often directed to decision makers within the system. Left biocentrists believe that we have to try to accomplish our goals with integrity not opportunistically. We all have to make some compromises to live in this destructive system. But in order to rally others to ecocentric visions, how to get there is part of the vision.

    The subtitle of this bulletin is “Handling Contradictions.” It comes out of actual experience, my own, and that of others who have declared their support for deep ecology (see the eight-point Deep Ecology Platform) and support for left biocentrism (see the ten-point Left Biocentrism Primer) as a distinct tendency within this philosophy. The “others” experience, is mainly a reflection of many discussions within the discussion group left bio, which has been ongoing for over three years. I have come to see, as a deep ecology supporter, some of what we have in common theoretically and what secondary differences or internal contradictions have to be lived with. Such differences, e.g. beliefs on vegetarianism, on non-violence, on ecofeminism, or on right ecocentrism, etc., often cannot be resolved. They are, for deep ecology supporters, often based on firmly held personal views but within a larger ecocentric unity. Such beliefs can be of considerable importance to how activists view their own integrity. Obviously, friendly discussions on secondary contradictions have to be ongoing within this larger unity. As was pointed out in this bulletin, Arne Naess by personal example, has stamped the deep ecology movement with a tolerance for different views. We must strive for theoretical consistency, but there is much that is unknown and not yet resolvable.

    Many of the secondary contradictions discussed here have arisen from different views on the nature of deep ecology and left biocentrism, but also on how to apply these theoretical views to particular situations. This application work is very necessary, e.g. outlining views on marine protected areas (22), the ecological footprint concept (23), the ecofascism slander against deep ecology (24), writing on the responsibilities of small woodlot ‘owners’(25), outlining views on aboriginal-related marine and land-use issues.(26) Such types of  theoretical engagement, I would argue, are a requirement for deep ecology inspired activists. These engagements give an opportunity for others to see that left biocentrists offer alternative visions. There are bound to be some differences of opinion among us, concerning details of the content of such visions, which cannot be resolved in the short term but need ongoing discussions.

    My own overall interest, as well as participating in ongoing theoretical and philosophical discussions with others and within the deep ecology movement for purposes of clarification, is to help outline an Earth-centered theory of social change within a contracting economy. Such a theory - various names have been floated but I am working with “left biocentrism”, has to be based in deep ecology but this is only an important starting point. For building a mass revolutionary movement to replace the environmental and social destruction of industrial capitalist society, a comprehensive theoretical framework is needed. So building unity within the ranks of left biocentrists, the main concern of this bulletin, is also important because of this larger task. In a hostile corporate world, a theory has to present alternative ecological, social, political and economic views. There is much work for all to do.

                                                                                                                            May 2000


1. This bulletin is a continuation of the series of articles on “My Path to Left Biocentrism.” (See previous Green Web bulletins #63 Part I - The Theory, and #64, Part II - Actual Issues.)  For a discussion of left biocentrism as a theoretical tendency within the deep ecology movement, these bulletins should be considered together. They are available on our web site:

2. The Left Biocentrism Primer is an overview of left biocentrism and is an Appendix in Green Web Bulletin #63, “My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part I - The Theory.” The Primer has been reproduced and published in a number of movement magazines.

3. New members of “left bio” are asked to submit a brief biography of their environmental interests, and to give some personal information about themselves. On being accepted to the discussion group by the existing members, the new member is sent a similar biography of everyone who is in the group. In this way, people in cyberspace are introduced to each other.

4. Saral Sarkar, Eco-socialism or Eco-capitalism? A Critical Analysis of Humanity’s Fundamental Choices, (London and New York, Zed Books, 1999), p. 227. There is a short review of the book by me, as part of a review of what I consider the ten most influential books on an environmental journey to a radical ecological awareness. I note that Sarkar’s book is “excellent and courageous” but that deep ecology “is rather cursorily dismissed in the book, as a form of anthropocentrism.”  “Ten Environmental Books” is available from the Green Web and also published in Green Voices, Issue #12, January 2000 (newsletter of the Kootenay-Boundary Greens in British Columbia).

5. Richard Sylvan died in 1996. See my tribute on learning of his death “In Memory of Richard Sylvan” in The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, 14:1 (1997), p. 48.

6. This was brought to my attention in the first edition of Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights To Radical Ecology, Michael Zimmerman, general editor, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1993.

7. Richard Sylvan and David Bennett, The Greening of Ethics: From Human Chauvinism to Deep-Green Theory, The White Horse Press and The University of Arizona Press, Cambridge, UK and Tucson, USA, 1994, p. 123.

8.Ibid, p. 220.

9. Arne Naess, “Deep Ecology and Lifestyle,” in the anthology by George Sessions, Deep Ecology For The 21st Century, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 1995, p. 261.

10. See my essay “Thinking About Gandhi,” November 1997, available from the Green Web. It discusses possible left biocentric agreements with Gandhi and some disagreements. The essay is a response to reading Robert Payne’s 1969 book, The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi.

11. Arne Naess, Ecology, Community and Lifestyle: Outline Of An Ecosophy, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1989, pp. 148 and 150.

12. See  my “Tribute” to Rudolf Bahro (1935-1997) on learning of his death, published in a number of places, including Socialist Studies Bulletin, No.50, Oct.-Dec. 1997, and Canadian Dimension, 32:2, March-April 1998. There is a critical evaluation and defense of Bahro in Green Web Bulletin #68, “Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis”, February 2000.

13. I have opposed taking part in the Forest Stewardship Council in the Maritimes Region as a major focus of activity within the environmental movement in Nova Scotia. I wrote a solicited 300-word article, “Forest Certification and Enviro-sell” in April of 1996, which the editor of a rural N.S. publication eventually refused to publish. In it I said that clear-cutting, biocide spraying and plantation tree farms could all be encompassed under Forest Stewardship Council certification and that “eco-forestry” was about feeding and misleading the eco-market. This position initially had no support. However, Charles Restino, an experienced forestry activist in Nova Scotia, who strongly advocated taking part in the FSC, published an excellent article detailing his experience as part of the organizing committee in the Maritimes. The article concludes: “The FSC at all levels has repeatedly allowed vested economic interests to first subvert, then dominate a legitimate FSC regional standards. Given the circumstances outlined here, Maritime environmental groups should now seriously consider whether FSC certification has become more a part of the problem of forest degradation in the region, than part of the solution. And if so, what they will do about it.” See “J.D. Irving Pressures Forest Stewardship Council to Weaken Maritime Standards,” in The Northern Forest Forum, Spring 2000, 8:2, pp. 22-25.)

14. This is my general personal experience in Nova Scotia. Part of the ‘price’ for being a radical environmentalist is exclusion from events controlled by the mainstream, because one’s views are seen as too disruptive.

15. See Green Web Bulletin #68, “Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis”, February 2000.

16. The article by me “Deep Ecology and Animal Rights: A Discussion Paper”, January 2000, which is on our web site, examines more fully these two movements. It looks at agreements and distancing areas between deep ecology and animal rights supporters.

17. See Green Web Bulletin #4, “Green Marginality In Canada”, June 1989. This paper was presented at the Learned Societies Conference session “The Red-Green Movement in Canada”, at Laval University in Quebec City, in June 1989.

18. Shelley Wine, “Fury For The Sound: The Women At Clayoquot”, TellTale Productions Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., 1997. This otherwise excellent film about the fight to save the old growth rainforest, is undermined by the “ecofeminist” agenda of the film maker.

19. See for example, the anthology of deep ecology-inspired writings edited by George Sessions, Deep Ecology For The 21st Century, where out of thirty nine essays, only two are by women.

20. See Karen Warren in Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, second edition, by Michael Zimmerman, general editor, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1998, p. 264.

21. See Warwick Fox,  Ibid, pp. 227-244.

22.  D. Orton, “Marine Protected Areas: A Human-Centric Concept”, Earth First! Journal, December 1999/January 2000, 20:2.

23. D. Orton, “Commentary on the Ecological Footprint”, published in the on-line magazine of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, Elements, September 1999.

24. See Green Web Bulletin #68.

25. See letter to the editor, “Redefining woodlots”, by Billy MacDonald and David Orton, published in many Nova Scotia newspapers including the Pictou Advocate, April 28, 1999.

26. There are a number of Green Web Bulletins devoted to aboriginal land and marine issues. Part IV of the forthcoming “My Path to Left Biocentrism” will deal specifically with Aboriginal Issues and Left Biocentrism.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the members of the internet discussion group left bio where discussions took place on many of the issues raised in this paper. I have freely drawn from such discussions. Also warm thanks to Helga Hoffmann who, as usual, helped me in discussions regarding further theoretical developments in left biocentrism. Finally, I would like to thank the following activists who critically read this document in draft form, contributed their ideas, and share the basic analysis: Ian Whyte, Sharon Labchuk, Billy MacDonald, and Mike Novack.

    Other parts of the "My Path" bulletins:
        My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part I - The Theory (Green Web Bulletin # 63)
        My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part II - Actual Issues (Green Web Bulletin # 64)
        My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part IV - Aboriginal Issues and Left Biocentrism (Green Web Bulletin # 71)
        My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part V - Deep Ecology and Anarchism (Green Web Bulletin # 72)
        My Path to Left Biocentrism: Part VI - The Impact of September 11th: Fundamentalism and Earth
        Spirituality(Green Web Bulletin # 73)

To obtain any of the Green Web publications,  write to us at:

Green Web, R.R. #3, Saltsprings, Nova Scotia, Canada, BOK 1PO
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