A Deep Ecology Eight Point Platform
formulated by Arne Naess and George Sessions

Andrew McLaughlin writes: "The platform, articulated by Arne Naess and George Sessions while they were camping in Death Valley in 1984, is a non-technical statement of principles around which, it is hoped, people with differing ultimate understandings of themselves, society, and nonhuman nature, could unite. Thus, from the start, the platform was meant to be a terrain of commonality which allowed, recognized, and even encouraged differences in more logically ultimate philosophies."

  1. The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent worth). These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes.

  2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

  4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantially smaller human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires a smaller human population.

  5. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

  6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.

  7. The ideological change will be mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between bigness and greatness.

  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.

excerpted from Deep Ecology for the 21st Century, Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism, edited by George Sessions, Shambhala, Boston and London, 1995.

If you were developing a curriculum of deep ecology, what books, media would you choose to give a historical perspective on the reawakening of an ecological sensitivity in the late 20th century?

The following list offers a few books that are seminal in the development of the deep ecology movement. The deep ecology section of Haven would benefit from internet inhabitants' comments and reviews of these important articulations. Your reviews will turn some people on who might want to study the ideas further and will educate some who don't have the time to read the books themselves. And please suggest and review others that should be included. Send reviews to Haven. Put "deep ecology" in the subject line.

Aldo Leopold
A Sand County Almanac (Ballantine Books, reissued 1991)

Rachel Carson
Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1962)

Theodore Roszack
Person/Planet: The Creative Disintegration of Industrial Society (Garden City, N.Y.; Doubleday, 1978)

Lewis Mumford
The Myth of the Machine (NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967)
The Pentagon of Power (NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970)