Deep ecology is a relatively new way of thinking about ecology. The term deep ecology was coined by a Norwegian philosopher, by the name of Arnie Naess, in 1972. The term is called deep ecology because we as human beings have begun to question our place on the planet in reference to life in nature. Many of us on the planet have our own views concerning nature.
Before the concept of deep ecology, the world-view of the environment and our place in it was more from a selfish standpoint. We would take from the earth, we would take from nature what we wanted when we wanted, however, with our eyes open to the philosophy of deep ecology we have respect for our environment and we have respect for what we take from nature. Now with the green movement we are beginning to understand that all life has a right to live.
Many people who are beginning to understand that the concept of deep ecology ranks us as one species of life among many others. We can see evidence of deep ecology on many levels in individuals. Some people refuse to eat meat, because they cannot think of eating anything with a face. When we see the packages of meat at the grocery store, we often don’t register in our brains that the meat in the grocery store counter is flesh from a cow, chicken, pig or lamb. Some people are more aware than others of the suffering that these animals go through, and will not eat them, and those that do eat meat will not buy from a grocery line that gets their meat from factory farms.
Many in today’s society have been raised to believe that they are unique, made in the image of God and have dominion over the earth to use it as we please. Deep ecology is a thought process of a different philosophy. We are not given free range to take from the earth without thought. We are human, and being human we are just a part of the life chain. We have a duty to be good stewards of the environment. We have a duty to do no harm, and if we must take from the animal food chain, we should do so with the least amount of suffering to the animals that will give their lives for food.
Part of the concept of deep ecology is that we as humans and caretakers should be conscious and of the entire ecosphere, which includes the animals, trees and plantlike that populates the earth. If we are adapting to the philosophy of deep ecology, then we are changing the way we think about ourselves and the way we think about the life on the earth and in the oceans. Just as we wouldn’t intentionally hurt ourselves, we would not consider doing things that would hurt the earth, because this planet is all we have. Deep ecology teaches us to treat the earth with respect and to put back what we use from the earth, so there will be plenty for the generations that follow us.