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A View on Bookchin's Idea of Social Ecology and the Connections Between the Two Concepts

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Social Ecology: some readings from Murray Bookchin

Bookchin in the 1960s founded the theory of Social Ecology. This idea is the concept that our environmental problems are resultants of the flaws in our social order. Going on to say that you can not fix one without the other. He was searching for when human civilization made the biggest mistake. He believes that it was when humans began to start to separate from nature. Thinking that humans thought they were above nature. He says that both nature and humans have different rules. That Nature uses Physis and humans use Nomos. These different rules butt heads against each other.

I think that both Nature and Human can co exist. We definitely have to find that right balance though. Of course, we are not in that state of balance right now. I am optimistic that we as a species will eventually or hopefully be able to figure it out. I feel like from the article that in order to get followers and get people on your side, you need to appeal to multiple groups. It doesn’t seem like a good approach to gain followers just by constantly attacking other groups. I have hope that we can get our act together and figure it out.

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The Deep Ecological Movement:

There are eight points to the movement. These points are as follows: “The well-being of human and non-human life on Earth have value. The diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values. Humans have no right to reduce this diversity except to satisfy vital needs. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantially smaller human population and requires a smaller human population. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive. These policies can change. This will improve ideological change and life quality. Everyone agreeing has a direct or indirect obligation to change” (Arne Naess, 189). He then goes on to talk about what the difference ideologies of certain topics are for the Deep and Shallow versions of ecology. The topics included are Pollution and Resources. Of course, shallow looks less appealing and has less content for the discussion.

In all honesty, this article was the hardest to read. In general, I feel like what I got from the article was that this is a radical form of ecology. Sort of like it’s my way or the high way sort of approach. There are eight different points that they bring up, which if you think along the lines that Environment is top priority over anything else human, I can see where its coming from. Smaller populations and more focus on diversity would be very beneficial for the environment I think, but good luck implementing. Good in theory, poor in practice.

The Land Ethic:

It first begins with the increase in cooperation mechanisms with the increase in population density. It argues about the treatment of land since it is property of humans at this point in time. Leopold then goes on to ask if education is doing enough? Next is to ask what about economic motives. Some forests have been clears to make room for economic gain. Places that then have no economic gain are called waste areas. Leopold mention how today, if the government asks for some unrightfull act on the land, home owners ask for money in return. Then he mentions how nature is like a pyramid and there must be balance in nature. Group A of the wildlife field is commodities for sport and meat. Group B looks at what the cost of using some resources to gain economic value.

As a species I don’t think that we have very good land ethic of course. You can say duh, look at climate change and other environmental impacts we are causing. I think that people take the land for granted to much. One day, all this stuff may be gone. Examples of humans using the land for economic value I can think of are first, the deforestation industry, and second the farming industry. Both of those industries just tear the land up so much. Farming has the potential to put so many chemicals into the environment. I do think that one of the biggest issues that we need to look into first is education. If we target education first, we can develop awareness of the issues that the world is having. There just aren’t enough people who are aware or shown to care about these issues that they just go by hidden.


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