Published In

Wild Earth

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1992


Conservation, Environmentalism


As proponents of Deep Ecology and Biocentrism have begun to define both a vision for the future and a critique of the existing human relationship with the rest of nature, they have often been the subject of criticism from the Third World and from leftists in the developed world concerned with Third World issues. They are commonly charged with failing to adequately take into account the complexity of the human social dynamic involved in destruction of the environment; ignoring that human societies are under the control of elites who benefit from the degradation of nature while most people suffer; failing to recognize that much degradation in the Third World is directly attributable to an international political-economy dominated by the rich countries; and proposing misanthropic solutions which would exacerbate further the problems of the poor. Critics have charged that biocentrism has essentially North American roots and is therefore elitist, and that biocentrism focuses narrowly on the issue of wilderness preservation to the exclusion of human problems. Some have called deep ecology/biocentrism irrelevant to the most important problems facing the world, namely overconsumption, overpopulation, militarism and related problems.

These criticisms need to be addressed. Movements for biosphere preservation, to be relevant, must address issues within a global framework. That can only be done in conjunction with other movements around the globe. Only through a genuine amalgamation of the various and specific historical experiences can we chart a new direction(s) for human society. Cross cultural criticisms are extremely valuable because they help clarify assumptions of other traditions or cultures.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Originally published in Wild Earth, Summer 1992.

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