What is Deep Ecology?

1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:

From Wikipedia: Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological and environmental philosophy characterized by its advocacy of the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and advocacy for a radical restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a subtle balance of complex inter-relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems.[1]  Human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms constituting the natural order.

Deep ecology’s core principle is the belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected and regarded as having certain inalienable legal rights to live and flourish, independent of its utilitarian instrumental benefits for human use. It describes itself as “deep” because it regards itself as looking more deeply into the actual reality of humanity’s relationship with the natural world arriving at philosophically more profound conclusions than that of the prevailing view of ecology as a branch of biology.

2. What is the focus of this Topic?:

From Wikipedia: This philosophy provides a foundation for the environmental, ecology, and green movements and has fostered a new system of environmental ethics advocating wilderness preservation, human population control, and simple living.[3]

Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. If material goods do not guarantee happiness beyond a very moderate level, and over-consumption is endangering the biosphere, defining a new non-consumptive paradigm of well-being seems imperative.[6] 

3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?

As Architectural Medicine focuses on Health topics in the Built Environment, it also includes and recognizes the importance of more efficient Energy use, and the preservation of the Ecology.

As is stated in Wikipedia, “Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a subtle balance of complex inter-relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems”, and therefore this balance of complex inter-relationships is critical in the Built Environment for human health as well.

Therefore, to include this complex relationship with the natural world is an important facet of the design/build process and the goals of Architectural Medicine.

4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

From Wikipedia: In his original 1972/73 deep ecology paper, Arne Næss claims the deep ecology movement arose from scientists – ecologists – who were out in the field studying the biodiversity and wild ecosystems throughout the world. They were also doing the work of philosophers, laying the foundations for the Age of Ecology and a new ecological worldview to replace the anthropocentric, mastery of Nature, and modernist worldview arising in the 17th and 18th centuries. Three of the most influential ecological spokespersons of the 1960s were Rachel CarsonDavid Brower, and Paul R. Ehrlich.[4] Some consider the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring (1962) as the beginning of the contemporary, long-range deep ecology movement.

In the current day, those such as Fritjof Capra and Paul Hawken are known advocates of Deep ecology, along with list of many others.

5. Resources: