Critics of deep ecology

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Can we go beyond the social-ecological dualism?“…what deep ecology gives us… is a deluge of Eco-la-la. Humanity surfaces in a vague and unearthly form to embrace everyone in a realm of universal guilt. We are then massaged into sedation with Buddhist and Taoist homilies about self-abnegation, biocentrism, and pop spiritualism that verges on the supernatural—this for a subject-matter, ecology, whose very essence is a return to earthy naturalism…” (Murray Bookchin, source:

This comment by Bookchin, one of the chief exponents of social ecology as the alternative to deep ecology, may go too far but it is a rather amusing reflection that deep ecologists may need to consider. As we build EcoVillages in Africa, we may need to avoid the over-emphasis on the ecological at the expense of the social derived from the EcoVillage movement that has emerged in the developed world where inequality issues are less of a challenge. Ideally, we need a langauge that transcendes the ecological-social dualism. I wonder what that is? Sustainability? Maybe it is too tarnished.

Mark Swilling, 15 April 2012