Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Ecopsychology

Much of modern psychology assumes a divide between inner reality (mind) and outer reality (nature). The central problem of ecopsychology is to overcome this divide. The human mind does not stand wholly apart from the natural world, but is deeply rooted in and intertwined with it. Ecopsychology sees the human psyche as a phenomenon of nature, an aspect of the larger “psyche” of nature or “soul of the world” (anima mundi). By ignoring this relationship between the mind and nature, modern psychology helps to perpetuate the Western industrial world’s destructive state of estrangement from its Earth home, which has disastrous consequences for both our psyches and for the environment. Ecopsychologists maintain that the pursuit of mental and emotional well-being, on the one hand, and environmental health, on the other, are closely intertwined tasks — indeed, they are inseparable. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Animism and Bioregionalism

Neo-animism represents a challenge to Western discourse which divides the world into subjects and objects, culture and nature. Neo-animism breaks down the conceptual barrier between the “cultural” (i.e., human) and the “natural” (i.e., other-than-human). Thus animists are those who encounter other-than-human beings as cultural persons. Neo-animism is not about the projection of consciousness or agency onto “inanimate” objects (the concept of “projection” presumes a subject-object dualism), but about respect and reciprocity within a community that transcends the subject-object dichotomy. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: The Gaia Theory

The Gaia Theory calls into question many deeply ingrained scientific and cultural assumptions and challenges us to perceive our world in a new way. The Gaia Theory also illustrates how we are radically interconnected with all other livings beings on the planet, human and other, as well as with the non-living elements of the Earth. We humans carry on our lives seemingly independently of Gaia, but yet we exist within a larger living entity on which we depend for our lives. [Read more...]

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Help HumanisticPaganism.com place an add at The Wild Hunt, the primary online destination for news relating to and of interest to contemporary Pagans. [Read more...]

The Deep Ecology Tree: What is Deep Ecology?

In 1972, Arne Naess coined the term “deep ecology” to contrast with “shallow” environmentalism. At the core of deep ecology is the idea that nature is sacred, meaning it has intrinsic value apart from its usefulness to human beings. The destruction of the environment is thus perceived as a desecration (literally a de-sacred-ing). In contrast, “shallow” environmentalism is concerned only with the effects of environmental devastation on human beings. Shallow environmentalism seeks to remedy the symptoms of ecological collapse without the transformation, or even the consciousness, of the “deep-seeded” cultural assumptions that gave rise to the collapse. [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Pagans, “The Dirt Worshippers”

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The history of Neo-Paganism is part of a larger history of nature religion in the West, beginning with the American Transcendentalists, conservationists like John Muir, and early environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, all of whom appreciated a religious dimension to our relationship with the environment. [Read more...]


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