“Deep Ecology” – Part One

NB – This continues the ongoing transcription of a 2002 ‘Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Bermuda’, which I wrote for the purpose of initiating discussion about organising a democratic socialist (DS) Party in Bermuda. I am reproducing it here for it’s historical interest, it’s role in the genesis of this blog itself, and for the purpose of stimulating discussion in the future.

The ideas of ‘Deep Ecology’ may be generally summed up with the statement that all living things have an ethical right to exist in their natural state without negative artificial influences. What this means when adapted by the DS is the following:

On a global scale, and in Bermuda in particular, ‘natural’ systems have been significantly altered by humanity, and much of ‘nature’ has been replaced by an ‘artificial’ – or second – nature.

It is true that ‘humanity’ does constitute a particular form of nature, indeed, it is the most conscious expression of nature currently known, and that as a result human actions are ‘natural’. However, for the purposes of this discussion, ‘conscious’ nature (humanity) is regarded as ‘artificial’ relative to the ‘unconscious’ nature (although this too is relative).

The majority of these alterations – of first nature by second nature – have occurred over the last 400 years, namely with the advent of the industrial revolution. At the time, many of these incidents were unintentional, as the ecological consequences were largely unknown. Today, much more knowledge of these processess is known, and the ability to reverse these processes – that is, return nature to a close approximate of a pre-industrial state – is now available to humanity.

This, then, is what ‘Deep Ecology’ means to the DS, to return Bermudian nature to a close approximate of pre-colonial Bermuda (pre-Colombian to be exact, as the ‘stocking’ of Bermuda with hogs prior to the 1609 colonisation initiated a number of profound ecological consequences).

This concept should not be confused with various ‘hippie’ utopian ideals of shunning technology and returning to a pre-industrial mythological ‘golden age.’ Even were this to be possible to wholly shun our ‘modern’ technology, no ‘golden age’ would come to pass. Instead, our socio-economic system would regress to a form similar to feudalism or the ‘classical antiquity’ model of ancient Rome and Greece.

That the DS works towards a society that interacts in harmony with nature is true; that we seek to achieve this by dragging society back a millennium is completely false.

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