Through this portion of class readings and discussions, we have sought deeper meaning and understanding of philosophies of individuals and organizations that revolve around the fundamental aspects and notions of deep ecology and eco-activism. These associations offer more views and attitudes on how an individual and society can create and maintain a kinship and positive influence with the natural environment. Like deep ecologist's view on the metaphysical relationship of man and nature. Eco-activist's contend to a belief of "ecology as religion" (Kinsley 193).
They take their duty with the environment as a deeply spiritual, physical, and emotional connection. Specifically, an environmental-action group called Green Peace, brings forth a new term called "planetary consciousness" (Kinsley 199). This consciousness parallels the views of deep ecologists by means that they believe and affirm the inter-dependence and significance of all living things. This planetary consciousness outlines and proclaims that individuals and society must learn to respect the entire earth as an integral and animated system, this respect must equal the respect each individual shows themselves.
This view is reasonable and valid and allows mankind a more intimate, religious, and personal vantage of the living world. However, the application of this lifestyle and relationship to the majority of society seems inconceivable. Since humanity cannot even maintain an intimate relationship with another individual, for instance the ever-increasing rate of divorce and separations in marriages. This matrimony has been viewed as sacred throughout the history of humanity yet infidelity and divorce remain severely high. While society's view of nature, as a revered and animated character is still frequently unfamiliar and unpracticed. Therefore, it seems implausible for immediate action to occur because based on the history of mankind's slow and inflexible ability to change their behavior and conduct.
Max Oelschlaeger claimed in The Sacred Earth that "the modern person has lost sight of the sacredness of creation" (539). This accurate statement can be furthered that mankind has lost touch with the sacredness in all relationships, most importantly with themselves. Therefore, in order to change an individual's perceptions on the natural world they must first reanalyze and reconstruct their image and behavior of and towards themselves. Through our readings and in class speaker a notion arose that I believe will aid and promote this idea of "planetary consciousness." This objective is to start with a small or local community to implement the redefinition of nature's role with mankind instead of losing the context This will allow the opinions and assumptions towards the planetary consciousness to slowly penetrate the 'roots' of society. An example of the type of movement to start changing ideology locally is "bio-regionalism" movement which aims to rebuild our cosmology locally and putting a greater emphasis on an individual's place in the natural world particularly the resources that immediately surround them. This idea of finding your place is an exceptional solution for an individual to get back in touch with nature further it will allow an individual to have a deeper connection and knowledge with the people that encircle them.
Chad Myer, who spoke to our class about Bio regionalism claims that economic globalization, has led us to displacement with people, environment, and ourselves. This globalization stemmed from the colonization of America. As the Europeans migrated the sense of individuality rose while the sense of belonging decreased. In order to reverse this individualism "Bio-regionalism" and Green Peace and other deep ecology organizations believe that society should reconstruct their lifestyle's and belief's to image that of the Indigenous Americans. Utilizing their conception of nature as kin and taking on a lifestyle that is both nurturing and respectful to the environment. Specifically, the Native American Indian's way of life that utilizes and upholds their immediate surroundings.
Through the habitude of acquiring their food, shelter, and clothing the Indian's appreciated and respected the environment that provided their life necessities. The Indian's therefore protected and maintained their neighboring natural environment. The leaders of Green Peace apply the principles from a specific indigenous culture known as the Cree. In our prior studies in class, we learned that the Cree's fundamental principles revolve around mankind's righteous in habitation of the land. This intrinsic relationship allowed the Cree's to have a greater understanding and respect with the land and natural resources that surrounded them. To create increased awareness of a community's natural surroundings is a fundamental principle in redefining and reconstructing an individual's perception and actions to the environment.
Once an individual forms even a small relationship or understanding of their natural surroundings they will be able to experience a sense of belonging and devotion to the environment which will allow them to seek to preserve it. Chad Myer's presented a few suggestions and thoughts on how to apply these bio-regional ist thoughts. Such as learning and experiencing our immediate natural surroundings: ocean, bay, hills, trees. Also, to utilize our native food supply from our community, such as acorns and artichokes from the bay area. Myer's also promoted the idea of buying produce from local farmers to encourage a stronger connection with the community. It is difficult to convince society to retreat from a market economy where you can purchase a wide variety of food and products at a competitive cost to buying locally where the cost is usually higher and the selection is much lower.
However, it is possible for society to begin and adapt slowly to purchasing locally grown produce. By taking small steps, such as an individual purchasing a few of their products a week through a local farmer will allow and individual to gradually contribute financially and emotionally to their community. Further, they will become more aware of the land and local farmers, which will create a greater desire in an individual to maintain their commerce locally. Therefore, in order to implement a planetary consciousness or respect for our animate environment we must start within our own communities. By first learning and understanding, the immediate natural environment an individual can then be able to grasp a better awareness on larger or worldlier environmental preservation. To attack or fight environmental destruction on a larger scope can often frighten or obscure society's view or conduct towards preservation.
The eco-activist group, Earth First, is an organization that tries to grasp the world's attention through radical actions to save the environment. Their beliefs are extended from deep ecologist thought believing that every non-human entity deserves the same rights and respect as humans. This organization will give society a jaded notion on how to preserve the environment through their violent actions and protests. Their code claims that they will abide by "any and all means" to resist the destruction of the natural world (Kinsley 200). Their acts will definitely be noticed by society through media but I feel many will close their eyes to the fundamental idea Earth First is trying to represent because of their radical and malicious acts. Though this organization is acting for the higher good of the environment, they are putting other humans in danger, which is not a justifiable or principled achievement.
Therefore, in order to reconstruct an individual's view to a more positive and respectful relationship with environment we must teach and act non-violently, unlike the organization Earth First, and apply the principles of bio-regionalism, Green Peace, and deep ecology.