Understanding the concept of ecocentrism in environmental ethics
Ecocentrism is an ideology that has been around since the early 1940s. Philosopher Arne Naess in 1973 coined the term ‘deep ecology’ which carries the same meaning. It is the idea that the well-being of non-human life on earth has value in itself.
Today, we will share with you what ecocentrism is, some examples of this philosophy, and why it is important to preserve nature and humanity as we know it.
What Is Ecocentrism?
Ecocentrism focuses primarily on the ecosystem in its entirety rather than looking at the environment from a perspective of human interest. It is the focus on the interest of all species as well as natural features of Earth’s ecosystems.
It is an ideology that does not place another ecosystem above others. Ecocentrists focus on the fundamental value of all these entities in their own right whilst still noticing their instrumental value to one another as part of the natural process. For example, yes bees can be harmful to some people however, they play a key role in pollination. Without bees, our natural environment would not be sustainable.
Why Is Ecocentrism Important?
According to Stanford, ecocentrism is important for several reasons. If you look at it from an ethical point of view, ecocentrism expands the moral population. It allows human beings to worry about more than just themselves. When you take an ecocentric standpoint, you are not only concerned about humanity. You also respect and care for all life which does include terrestrials as well as aquatic ecosystems.
Ecocentrists also value the idea of conservation. The idea is that one needs to converse all living organisms on earth to ensure that their ecosystem survives throughout the ages. They believe that every being has a purpose to help sustain and grow all ecosystems on the planet.
What Is An Example Of Ecocentrism?
A great example of ecocentrism is Strip mining. Strip mining is the process whereby one can obtain ore or coal by opencast mining. This process harms the environment but it can open the door to more natural resources for the human population to use. An ecocentric point of view is that since this process harms the environment, it is immoral.
It is because of this argument that environmentalist policies are often ecocentric in nature. There needs to be a balance between preserving all ecosystems as well as sustaining humankind.
Did you know that Aldo Leopold is often credited as the earliest ecocentrist? This is based on his writings in the early 1940s. Aldo used the term land when he was referring to the entire ecological community. He wrote, ”That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.” as well as, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
Ecocentrism looks at the world as a whole and ensures that all systems live and thrive as a unit.