Genesis of Eden

Genesis Home

Merchant, Carol 1992 Radical Ecology
Routledge, Cahapman & Hall Inc., New York
ISBN 0-415-90650-4

These extracts and summaries are provided qas an indication of the uniquely valuable resource this book is.

I had intended to review the work but both the valuable detail and the need to urgently write a scientific genesis have prevented this.

Ecology as a science emerged in the late nineteenth century in Europe and America, although its roots may be found in many other places, times, and cultures. The science of ecology looks at nonhuman nature, studying the numerous, complex interactions among its abiotic components (air, water, soils, atoms, and molecules) and its biotic components (plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi). Human ecology adds the interactions between people and their environments, enormously increasing the complexities. Human ecology has been most successful when it studies clearly defined places and cultures-the Tsembaga people of Papua New Guinea, the Shoshone Indians of the American west, the Tukano Indians of the Amazonian rainforests. When time is added as an additional dimension, environmental history emerges as a subject. Even here, temporal changes in specific regions have provided the most grist for the mills of environmental historians-the ecological history of New England, the emergence of hydraulic society in California, changing ideas of wilderness and conservation in America, and so on. Social ecology takes another step. It analyzes the various political and social institutions that people use in relationship to nature and its resources. Technologies-such as axes, guns, and bulldozerstransform trees, animals, and rocks into "natural resources." Systems of economic production, such as hunting, gathering, and fishing, subsistence agriculture, and industrial manufacturing turn the resources into goods for home use or market trading. Cultural systems of reproduction provide norms and techniques that guide families in deciding whether and when to bear children. Laws and politics help to maintain and reproduce the social order. Ideas and ideologies, such as myths, cosmologies, religion, art, and science, offer frameworks of consciousness for interpretating life and making ethical decisions. Radical ecology is the cutting edge of social ecology. It pushes social and ecological systems toward new patterns of production, reproduction, and consciousness that will improve the quality of human life and the natural environment. It challenges those aspects of the political and economic order that prevent the fulfillment of basic human needs. It offers theories that explain the social causes of environmental problems and alternative ways to resolve them. lt supports social movements for removing the causes of environmental deterioration and raising the quality of life for people of every race, class, and sex. How can radical ecology help to bring about a more livable world? Environmental problems, as I argue in Part 1, result from contradictions (tendencies to be contrary to each other's continuance) in today's society. The first contradiction arises from tensions between the economic forces of production and local ecological conditions, the second from tensions between reproduction and production: The particular form of production in modern society-industrial production, both capitalist and state socialist-creates accumulating ecological stresses on air, water, soil, and biota (including human beings) and on society's ability to maintain and reproduce itself over time. The first contradiction arises from the assaults of production on ecology. Examples include the destruction of the environment from the uses of military production (such as the oil spills and air pollution during the 1991 Gulf War or the predicted nuclear winter from nuclear war); global warming from industrial emissions of carbon dioxide; acid rain from industrial emissions of sulphur dioxide; ozone depletion from industrial uses of chlorofluorocarbons; the pollution of oceans and soils from the dumping of industrial wastes; and industrial extractions from forests and oceans for commodity production. These assaults of production on global ecology are circulated by means of the biogeochemical cycles and thermodynamic energy exchanges though soils, plants, animals, and bacteria (see Figure 1.1, center circle). Their effects are experienced differently in the First, Second and Third Worlds and by people of different races, classes, and sexes. The second contradiction arises from the assaults of production on biological and social reproduction. The biological (intergenerational) reproduction of both human and nonhuman species is threatened by radiation from nuclear accidents (such as the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in the United States and the 1986 accident at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union) and by toxic chemicals from industrial wastes. The reproduction of human life on a daily (intragenerational) basis in Third World countries is endangered as local food, water, and fuel supplies are depleted by the conversion of lands to cash crops and in the First World as harmful chemicals in foods, drinking water, and indoor air invade the home. The reproduction of society as a whole is imperiled by government policies that support continued industrial pollution and depletion and by industry policies that support continued sex and race discrimination (see Figure 1. 1, middle circle). A country's form of social reproduction and its form of economic production constitute its political economy. Thus the United States, China, Brazil, Kenya, and Malaysia all have particular political economies. The global ecological crisis of the late twentieth century, I argue, is a result of these deepening contradictions generated by the dynamics between production and ecology and by those between reproduction and production. But problems of pollution, depletion, and population expansion have specific roots in each country's internal history, its place in the global order, and the current trajectory of its internal development.

Each environmental problem therefore needs to be ex amined in the context of its own specific history as well as its linkages to global political economies (Chapter 1). As these two contradictions become more visible, they also undermine the efficacy of western culture's legitimating worldview, pushing philosophers, scientists, and spiritualists to rethink human relationships with the nonhuman world (see Figure 1. 1, outer circle). The mechanistic worldview created during the seventeenth century scientific revolution constructs the world as a vast machine made up of interchangeable atomic parts manipulable from the outside, 'ust as the parts of industrial machines can be replaced or repaired by human operators. This mechanistic worldview, which arose simultaneously with and in support of early capitalism, replaced the Renaissance worldview of nature as a living organism with a nurturing earth at its center. It entailed an ethic of the control and domination of nature and supplanted the organic world's I-thou ethic of reciprocity between humans and nature. Mechanism and its ethic of domination legitimates the use of nature as commodity, a central tenant of industrial capitalism (Chapters 2 and 3). Deep ecologists (Chapter 4) call for a total transformation in science and worldviews that will replace the mechanistic framework of domination with a ecological framework of interconnectedness and reciprocity. Spritual ecologists (Chapter 5) see the need to infuse religions with new ecological ideas and revive older ways of revering nature. Social ecologists (Chapter 6) see a total transformation of political economy as the best approach.

Most of these theories entail an ecocentric ethic in which all parts of the ecosystem, including humans, are of equal value, or an ecologically-modified homocentric ethic that values both social justice and social ecology. Radical environmental movements draw on the ideas and ethics of the theorists, but intervene directly to resolve the contradictions between ecology and production and between production and reproduction. Green political activists (Chapter 7) advocate the formation of green parties that would recast social and political reproduction and a variety of direct actions that would reverse the assaults of production on reproduction by saving other species, preserving human health, and cleaning up the environment. Ecofeminists (Chapter 8) are particularly concerned about issues that affect women's own bodies in biological reproduction (such as toxic substances and nuclear radiation) and women's roles in social reproduction (such as altering workplace/homeplace patterns and norms). The sustainable development movement (Chapter 9) searches for new approaches to resource use that would reverse the assaults of production on ecology, thereby renewing and preserving soils, waters, air, and biota.


Source: Carolyn Merchant, Ecological Revolutions: Nature, Gender, and Science in New England. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1989; pp. 6-7, reprinted by permission.

Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Ecological Revolutions. Ecology, production, reproduction, and consciousness interact over time to bring about ecological transformations. The innermost sphere represents the ecological core within the local habitat, the site of interactions between ecology and human production. Plants (producers), animals (consumers), bacteria and fungi (decomposers), and minerals exchange energy among themselves and with human producers in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics and the biogeochemical cycles. Introductions and withdrawals of organisms and resources from outside the local habitat can alter its ecology. Human production (the extraction, processing, and exchange of resources and commodities) is oriented toward immediate use as food, clothing, shelter, and energy for subsistence or toward profit in mercantile trade and industrial capitalism. With increasing industrialization, the subsistence-oriented sector declines and the market-oriented sector expands (as indicated by the clockwise arrow). The middle sphere represents human and nonhuman reproduction. The intergenerational reproduction of species and intragenerational survival rates influence ecological interactions directly in the case of nonhuman individuals or as mediated by production in the case of humans. In subsistence (or use-value) societies, production is oriented toward the reproduction of daily life in the household through the production of food, clothing, shelter, and energy (as indicated by the two-way arrow). For humans, the reproduction of society also includes socialization (in the family, church, and community) and the establishment of laws and governance that maintain order in the tribe, town, state, or nation.

Human consciousness, symbolized by the outermost sphere, includes representations of nature reflected (as indicated by the arrows) in myth, cosmology, religion, philosophy, science, language, and art, helping to maintain a given society over time and to influence change. Through ethics, morals, taboos, rituals, festivals, the dance, and games, they are translated into actions and behaviors that both affect and are affected by the environment, production, and reproduction (as indicated by the arrows). The "semipermeable" membranes between the spheres symbolize possible interactions among them. Ecological revolutions are brought about through interactions between production and ecology and between production and reproduction. These changes in turn stimulate and can be simulated by new representations of nature and forms of human consciousness.

Although radical ecology pushes for change and social transformation, it is not a monolithic movement. It has many schools of thought and many action groups. Its branches are often at odds in goals and values, as well as techniques and specific actions. Thesc produce conflicts and heated debates within the larger movement resulting in a variety of approaches to resolving environmental problems. My own view is one of guarded optimism, placing hopc in social movements that intervene at the points of greatest ecological and social stress to reverse ecological damage and fulfill people's basic needs. The goals of production need to be subordinated to the reproduction of life through the fulfillment of human needs and the preservation of local ecologies and be informed by an ethic of partnership between humans and nonhuman nature. Although the new world-view advocated by deep and spiritual ecologists may not lead the social transformation, it can nevertheless foster and support the new economic and social directions taken. Perhaps over the next five decades a global ecological revolution will take place so that by the middle of the twenty-first century we will have new forms of production, reproduction, and consciousness that will sustain both people and the natural environment. Such a transformation would fulfill much of the vision and hope of radical ecology.

Many people will disagree with the goals of radical ecology. Perhaps most will decline to participate in its various actions. Yet radical ecology offers a critical standpoint from which to view and analyze mainstream society and mainstream environmentalism. It sharpens our understanding of the assumptions underlying Western civilization and its values. It broadens our perspective on Second and Third World economic and environmental problems. It helps us to formulate answers to the dilemmas of self in society, society in self, and self versus society. The visibility of radical environmental movements may make mainstream environmental goals more acceptable. Radical actions often raise public consciousness about issues enmeshed in bureaucratic technicalities. Changes triggered by radical actions may then come about through normal political processes. Although it may fail to bring about revolutionary transformation, radicalism can still be effective in changing attitudes, raising consciousness, and promoting social change. The following chapters offer an account of environmental problems, radical ecological theories, and social movements from the perspectives of both proponents and critics in the search for a livable world.


The world of the late twentieth century is experiencing a global ecological crisis, one that is both a product of past ecological and economic patterns and a challenge for the future. From Chernobyl radiation to the Gulf War oil spill; from tropical rainforest destruction to polar ozone holes; from alar in apples to toxics in water, the earth and all its life are in trouble. Industrial production accentuated by the global reproduction of population, has put stress on nature's capacity for the reproduction of life. Pollution and depletion are systematically interlinked on a scale not previously experienced on the planet. As we approach the millennium of the twenty-first century, perceptions of planetary destruction and calls for the earth's renewal abound. Can planetary life sustain itself in the face of industrial assaults? How is the current environmental crisis in production manifested? How are the planet's airs, waters, soils, and biota interconnected? How might life be restored to the planet? A new partnership between humans and nonhuman nature is needed.

During the past decade the dimensions of a global ecological crisis have become painfully visible. In january 1989, Time magazine's person of the year award went to "The Endangered Earth," graphically illustrated by sculptor Christo as a suffocating globe wrapped in plastic and bound with twine. With increasing public awarness of global problems, public concern has mounted. The Alaskan oil spill alerted millions to the tragic transformation of a pristine Alaskan shoreline surrounded by lush rainforest into black, motionless, silent beaches of dead birds, seals, sea otters, and contaminated waters devoid of sustenence for local fishers and their families. Injune 1989, a New York TimesICBS poll found that an astonishing 80 percent of all Americans questioned overwhelmingly agreed with the statement: "Protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost. "'


The Greenhouse Effect: Three countries USA (21%), USSR (19%) and China (10%) produce 50% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Effects include climate change, rising sex levels, loss of species because of sudden climate change.

Ozone Depletion:


Acid rain, pollution of beaches with oil and plastic, which will continue for 450 years or so to kill birds and marine mammals.


Loss of topsoil, resulting in future loss of productivity (e.g. US grain belt by 50%), insecticide pollution, replacement of sustainable crop cycling with short-term exploitive strategies.


The "death of birth" a quarter of existing species will die out unless extraordinary measures are taken to protect the ecosystems in which they live. Only 1.4 million of the 5 to 10 million species are named.

The 2.3 million aquare miles of world tropical forest is disappearing at 100 acres minute, with accelerating speed, at which rate little will be left by 2040. This will effect climate by reducing precipitation and contribute to global warming through carbon loss.

Examples of abuse are 500,000 acres cleared in Indonesia to make eucalypt plantations for US tiolet paper, the consumption of much of South-east Asian rainforest for temporary boxing in concrete construction in Japan, shipping boxes, disposable chopsticks etc.

"There are enough world resources for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed." - Mahatma Ghandi.

A balloning impact of toxic derivatives of the petroleum industry is effecting reproductivity of human and non-human species alike, causing cancer and wiping out species further up the food chain. The global ecological crisis effects all levels of society and first second and third world peoples.

Scientific methods which do not respect ecological cycles tend to result in long-term depletion by removing nutrients en-mass to the first world replacing them with increasing loads of toxic substances.


The capitalist revolution in the West arose from the breakdown of earlier feudal systems and expanded rapidly through the wider colonial markets, involving a triangula relationship between Europe (manufacturing) Africa (labour source) and the New World (natural resources) extracted rapidly at minimum cost. The accumulation of such economic surplus helped to fuel industrialization.

Today's global capitalist system is based on the same fundamental division between industrialized economies of the First World and underdeveloped or peripheral economies of the Third World, forming an economic hegemony.

A major problem confronting the capitalist system is the inherent necessity of economic growth. In effect the competitive nature of capitalism prevents a slow-down through a peacock's tail effect - companies which do not aim to expand new markets by creating synthetic demand and thus grow at maximum trajectory will be swallowed by their competitors.

However legislation and activism and consumer awareness are powerful forceswhich can mitigate the effects of environmental pollution and improve environmental quality.

Moreover capitalism is prone to boom and bust cycles of inflation and recession, in which environmental regulation is more lax just when economic stresses are greatest, causing long-term deterioration in environmental quality.


Former communist and socialist countries from the soviet block have a different but in many ways comparable environmental problems. Although these may be perceived to result from an era of runaway social planning with little avenue for consumer resistance to collective planning and bureaucracy, this argues that it is the common committment of left and right alike to exponential economic growth that lies at the source of the problem.

However the problems in the Second World come principally from polluted production rather than the development of polluting consumer products, so the problems are also different in kind. Furthermore although they have historically aimed at economic expansionist policies, socialist systems are committed to supporting the workers in their societies, without the causal necessity for expansion that derives from captialist competition itself.


When discussing population, it is important to see how resources are distributed. 50% of the world's wealth is in the hands of 6% of the people, 5% of which are in the US. 70% are unable to read and only 1% are university educated. 50% suffer malnutrition. 57% are in Asia, 21% in Europe, 14% in the New World and 8% in Africa.

One pont of view sees human impact as prinicpally a result of overpopulation "Global warming, acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer ... vulnerability to epidemics, exhaustion of soils and groundwater are all related to population size ... We shouldn't delude ourselves: the population explosion will come to an end before long. The only remaining question is whether it will be halted through the humane method of birth control, or by nature wiping out the surplus." the Ehrlichs. However other population ecologists see this view as too monolithic.

Population control hinges on very sensitive issues fundamental to human freedom ... how many children to bear and support, ... how goods and services should be distributed, a woman's right to abort a pregnancy and the right of an unborn fetus to life. Preference for male labour has resulted in massive female abortion rates, India's sterilization of government emplyess had a backlash and the abortion debate continues in the US.

According to the Ehrlichs reduced fertility depends on five factors: adequate nutrition, proper sanitation, basic health care, education of women and equal rights for women. Women apply their education to better family standards, family palnning and more diverse opportunities outside child-rearing. Male education also promotes status improvement reducing the need for large families.

Malthus suggested that although populations rise exponentially, production tends to rise more slowly in an arithmetical manner. He suggested that upper classes reduce their offspring while poor reproduce rapidly, suggesting individual incentives as a solution. Capitalism requires a balance between supply and demand including the masses as both consumers and providers of labour. Ricardo envisages such an equilibrium between capital and labour allows a gradual expansion of capitalism.

Marx on the other hand suggests that labour supply and emplyment and in particular the surplus unemployed population which forms a reserve which capitalism can tap cyclically. Adequate wages then lead to better family planning because excess children then become an economic liability.

In developed countries as death rates have declined, changing views of family planning and the energy put into individual offspring has seen the birth rate fall with the death rate: (b/d per thousand) 1850 32/30 1950 14/16. But in underdeveloped countries this lowering in birth rates has not happened: d 1850 38, 1950 23, 1985 10 against b 1925 43, 1950 37, 1985 30.

In the developing countries , the demographic transition has lagged because of the political and economic realtionships between the developed North and the underdeveloped South. Because wealth has been removed from the underdeveloped world the incentivies to reduce population remain lacking. Food is also in surplus in developed countries but there is frequent starvation especially in Africa.

Barry Commoner notes: "The world population crisis, which is the ultimate outcome of the exploitation of poor nations by rich ones, ought to be remedied by returning to the poor countries enough of the wealth taken from them to give their peoples both the reason and the resources voluntarily to limit their own fertility. In sum, I believe that if the root cause of the world population crisis is poverty, then to end it we must abolish poverty. And if the cause of poverty is the grossly unequal distribution of the world's wealth, then to end poverty, and with it the population crisis, we must redistribute that wealth, among nations and within them."


Various writers including Herman Daly and A J Lotka point out that a gradual transition to a steady state economy which minimized material use and energy requirements and which had minimally polluting consumption would not damage existing economies and could bring about a sustainable and socially just world. Lotka points out that capital is an extention of personal human bodily functions. The world energy economy , while currently living off non-renewable resources is basically determined by the total photosynthetic fixation on the planet.


Conflict of interest among private individuals, corporations, government agencies, and environmentalists often reflect variations of egocentric, homocentric and ecocentric approaches. Thinking about environmental problems in terms of this taxonomy helps us to understand the unexpressed assumptions behind political conflicts over the environment. These ethical differences are also at the root of some of the disagreements among radical environmental theorists and activists detailed in subsequent chapters. An egocentric ethic (grounded in the selo for example, is historically associated with the rise of laissezfaire capitalism and the mechanistic worldview discussed in the previous chapter, and is the ethic of mainstream industrial capitalism today. A homocentric ethic (grounded in the social good) underlies those ecological move- ments whose primary goal is socialjustice for all people, such as social ecologists, left Greens, social and socialist ecofeminists, many Second and Third World environmentalists, and the mainstream sustainable development movement. An ecocentric ethic (grounded in the cosmos, or whole ecosystem) guides the thinking of most deep ecologists, spiritual ecologists, Greens, cultural ecofeminists, organic farmers, bloregionalists, and most indigenous peoples' movements.


There is no such thing as society,
there are individual men and women
and there are families
Margaret Thatcher

This is ethics grounded in the self. It does not mena 'selfish' or 'self-serving' behavior, but rather ethics grounded in the dynamics of free equal individuals. The egocentric ethic emerged during the seventeenth century and has become associated with laissez faire capitalism. It also has a major cultural link with the Protestant ethic. During the colonization of the New World Genesis 1 "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it" became the catchcry of the Puritan settlers of the Arabella, as John Quincy Adams justified the American expansion into Oregon, to justify the domination by the whites by Thomas Hart Benton.

Ecocentric ethics is the source of Thomas Hobbes' (c1650) ethic of human struggle for limited common resources and Garret Hardin's subsequent (1968) "Tragedy of the Commons", describing the way English commons and collective resources such as fisheries, air and water become exploited. Their egocentric solution is mutually agreed incentives and penalties.

Merchant assigns these to be mechanistic solutions, having several characteristics in common:

1. Atomic: Matter is made up of individual parts.

2. Linear: The whole is equal to the sum of the parts.

3. Context independence: The laws are very general but are stripped of (non-linear) environmental perturbations.

4. Change occurs by the rearrangement of parts.

5. May involve a form of Cartesian dualism with a mechanical universe pervaded by a superior mind.

Egocentric ethics permits business activity unbridled on the basis of improving individual good through competitive efficiency but then ignores the manipulative power of comapnies as collective manipulative behavior by human groups.


Ethic grounded in society. It underlies social interest and environmental regulation. The utilitarian ethic of Bentham and Mill has its origins in sentience - pleasure seeking and pain avoiding and that society has an obligation to reduce suffering through policies which maximize social justice for all. "Utilitarian morality recognises in humans the power of scrificing their own greatest good for the good of others" Mill saw the balance between selfishness and altruism depending on education - that moral feelings are not innate but acquired -"do as you would be done by and love your neighbour as yourself" Mill wrote. In religious terms, humans are stewards and caretakers of the natural world. They quote Matt 25:14 "A stewardship , a trust reposed in us; for which we must give an account at the day when our Lord shall call" Luke 16:2 "Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayst no longer be steward".

It is likewise compatable with scientific mechanism. In so far as nature and society are both described in organic (ecosystemic) metaphors, so is the ethic. Marx's goals of using science and technology to better the human condition are homocentric ethics, as are the positions of Barry Commoner and Bookchin. This may however involve sacrifice of natural resources for the human good - e.g. in developments such as dams.

Both egocentric and homocentric ethics have difficulty including the ecologcial externalities because these are outside human society.


An ecocentric ethic is grounded in the cosmos. The whole environment is assigned intrinsic value.Maintenance of the balance of nature and retention of the unity, stability, diversity and harmony of the ecosystem are its overarching goals.

First formulated by Aldo Leopold, in the 1930s as the "Land Ethic". Leopold notes the first ethics involved individuals (ego-) and later ones the welfare of society (hom0-) and that ecocentric enlarges the bounds of the community to include 'soils, water, plants animals or collectively, the land'.

Leopold argued like Mill that 'to overcome economic self-interest, ethical obligations towards the land must be taught through conservation education.

Ecocentric ethics are rooted ina holistic, rather than a mechanistic metaphysics:

1. Everything is connected to everything else in the ecosystemic web of life.

2. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The intact ecosystem is living and functional but the separate species may not be and may not be able to re-integrate if fragmented.

3. Knowledge is context-dependent, unlike the simple universalities of mechanism. What is optimal depends on the exact situation.

4. The process has primacy over the parts. Biological and social systems are open and potentially chaotic rather than the classical closed isolated near-equilibrium systems.

5. Humans and non-human natue are each part of a single unity. Nature and culture cannot be counter-posed.

However it is very difficult to determine the intrinsic value of non-human beings. Traditionally non-human entities are assigned instrumental values as a human resource. The holistic attitude indicates a homocentric basis which some people have siad is fascist.

The separation of 'is' from 'ought' makes a questionable moral inference from a science - ecology. One position is to claim science itslef is not simply objective but incoroporates intrinsic values such as the preservation of life and diversity. However this is questionable unless we assign such values as living beings. Some proponents of intrinsic value claim such values are found in nature - yet the connection between nature and values is complex it is difficult to say where the facts leave off and the values of beauty and goodness appear.

Baird Callicott even suggested that quantum mechanics removes the sharp dichotomy between self and world, subject and object that is the basis of Humes sharp distinction between valuing subjects and value-free objects or 'is' and 'ought'.

However the advance of society does not necessarily mean the advance of ethics. Evolution itself is no simple advance. It might be the opposite.

Some feminists and 'persons of colour' criticize ecocentrism for a holism that masks gender, racial and species difference in the overarching whole.


Is the earth dead or alive? The ancient cultures of east and west and the native peoples of America saw the earth as a mother, alive, active, and responsive to human action. Greeks and Renaissance Europeans conceptualized the cosmos as a living organism, with a bod I I spirit, and the earth as a nurturing mother with respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, and elimination systems. The relationship between most peoples and the earth was an I-thou ethic of propitiation to be made before damming a brook, cutting a tree, or sinking a mine shaft. Yet for the past three hundred years, western mechanistic science and capitalism have viewed the earth as dead and inert, manipulable from outside, and exploitable for profits. The death of nature legitimated its domination. Colonial extractions of resources combined with industrial pollution and depletion have today pushed the whole earth to the brink of ecological destruction.


The cosmos of the Renaissance world was a living organism. The four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) that made up the material world below the moon, and the fifth clement (ether) that made the stars and planets were its material body. The soul was the source of its animate daily motion as the sun, stars, and planets encircled the geocentric earth every twenty-four hours. The spirit, descending from God in the heavens beyond, mingled with the ether and the ambient air, to be imbibed by plants, animals, and humans on the earth's surface. The living character of the world organism meant not only that the stars and planets were alive, but that the earth too was pervaded by a force giving life and motion to the living beings on it. The earth was considered to be a beneficient, receptive, nurturing female. In the ancient lore, the earth mother respired daily, inhaling the pneuma, or spirit from the atmosphere. Her "copious breathing" renewed the life on its surface. The earth's springs were akin to the human blood system; its other various fluids were likened to the mucus, saliva, sweat, and other forms of lubrication in the human body. As the waters on its surface ebbed and flowed, evaporated into clouds, and descended as dews, rains, and snows, the earth's blood was cleansed and renewed. Veins, veinlets, seams, and canals coursed through the entire earth, particularly in the mountains. It humors flowed from the veinlets into larger veins (updated by jody diangelo). In many places the veins became filled with metals and minerals. The earth, like the human, even had its own elimination system. The tendency for the earth to break wind was the cause of earthquakes and a manifestation of the earth mother's indignation at humans who mined her entrails. The earth's bowels were full of channels, fire chambers, glory holes, and fissures through which fire and heat were emitted, some in the form of fiery volcanic exhalations, other as hot water springs. The thin layer of soil on the earth's surface was its skin. European peasants nurtured the land, performed ritual dances, and returned its gifts to assure continued fertility. Trees were the earth mother's tresses. Her head was adorned with fringes and curls which the lumber industry sheared off. A commonly used analogy was that between the female's reproductive and nurturing capacity and the mother earth's ability to give birth to stones and metals within "her" womb through marriage with the sun. For most traditional cultures, minerals and metals ripened in the uterus of the Earth Mother, mines were compared to her vagina, and metallurgy was the human hastening of the birth of the living metal in the artificial womb of the furnace-an abortion of the metal's natural gowth cycle before its time. Miners offered propitiation to the deities of the soil and subterranean world, performed ceremonial sacrifices, and observed strict cleanliness, sexual abstinence, and fasting before violating the sacredness of the living earth by sinking a mine. Smiths assumed an awesome responsibility in precipitating the metal's birth through smelting, fusing, and beating it with hammer and anvil; they were often accorded the status of shaman in tribal rituals, and their tools were thought to hold special powers. The image of the earth as a living organism and nurturing mother served as a cultural constraint restricting the actions of human beings. One does not readily slay a mother, dig into her entrails for gold, or mutilate her body. As long as the earth was conceptualized as alive and sensitive, it could be considered a breach of human ethical behavior to carry out destructive acts against it. In much the same way, the cultural belief-systems of many American Indian tribes had for centuries subtly guided group behavior toward nature. Smohalla of the Columbian Basin Tribes voiced the Indian objections to European attitudes in the mid-1800s.

You ask me to plow the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's breast? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest.

You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under her skin for her bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again.

You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and be rich like white men! But how dare I cut off my mother's hair?

Such imagery found in a culture's literature can play a normative role within the culture. Controlling images operate as ethical restraints or as ethical sanctions-as subtle "oughts" or "ought-nots." Thus, as the descriptive metaphors and images of nature change, a behavioral restraint can be changed into a sanction. Such a change in the image and description of nature was occurring during the course of the scientific revolution. Today, the organic cosmology, experienced in some form by almost all of the world's peoples for all times, has been superseded.'


In the sixteenth century, as the feudal states of medieval Europe were breaking up, a new dynamic force emerged that shattered premodern ways of life and the organic restraints against the exploitation of the earth. Arising in the city-states of Renaissance Italy and spreading to northern Europe was an inexorable expanding market economy, intensifying medieval tendencies toward capitalist relations of production and capitalist modes of economic behavior. As trade quickened throughout western Europe, stimulated by the European discovery and exploitation of the Americas, production for subsistence began to be replaced by more specialized production for the market. The spreading use of money provided not only a uniform medium of exchange but also a reliable store of value, facilitating open-ended accumulation. Inflation generated by the growth of population and the flood of American gold accelerated the transition from traditional economic modes to rationally maximizing modes of economic organization. The growth of cities as centers of trade and handicraft production created a new class of bourgeois entrepreneurs who supplied ambitious monarchs with the funds and expertise to build strong nation states, undercutting the power of the regionally based landowning nobility.

Whereas the medieval economy had been based on organic and renewable energy sources-wood, water, wind, and animal musclethe emerging capitalist economy was based on nonrenewable energycoal-and the inorganic metals-iron, copper, silver, gold, tin, and mercury-the refining and processing of which ultimately depended on and further depleted the forests. Over the course of the sixteenth century, mining operations quadrupled as the trading of metals expanded, taking immense toll as forests were cut for charcoal and the cleared lands turned into sheep pastures for the textile industry. Shipbuilding, essential to capitalist trade and national supremacy, along with glass and soap-making, also contributed to the denudation of the ancient forest cover. The new activities directly altered the earth. Not only were its forests cut down, but swamps were drained, and mine shafts were sunk. The new commercial and industrial enterprises meant that the older cultural constraints against the exploitation of the earth no longer held sway. While the organic framework was for many centuries sufficiently integrative to override commercial development and technological innovation, the acceleration of economic change throughout western Europe began to undermine the organic unity of the cosmos and society. Because the needs and purposes of society as a whole were changing with the commercial revolution, the values associated with the organic view of nature were no longer applicable; hence the plausibility of the conceptual framework itself was slowly, but continuously, being threatened. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the tension between the techn ological development in the world of action and the controlling organic images in the world of the mind had become too great. The old worldview was incompatible with the new activities.


During the seventeenth century, the organic framework, in which the Mother-Earth image was a moral restraint against the exploitation of nature, was replaced by a new experimental science and a worldview that saw nature not as an organism but as a machine-dead, inert, and insensitive to human action. Francis Bacon (1571-1626), following tendencies that had been evolving throughout the previous century, advocated the domination of nature for human benefit. He compared miners and smiths whose technologies extracted ores for the new commercial activities to scientists and technologists penetrating the earth and shaping "her" on the anvil. The new man of science, he wrote, must not think that the "Inquisition of nature is in any part interdicted or forbidden." Nature must be "bound into service" and made a "slave," put "in constraint," and "molded" by the mechanical arts. The "searchers and spies of nature" were to discover her plots and secrets. Nature's womb, Bacon argued, harbored secrets that through technology could be wrested from her grasp for use in the improvement of the human condition. Before the fall of Adam and Eve there had been no need for power or dominion, because they had been made sovereign over all other creatures. Only by "digging further and further into the mine of natural knowledge," Bacon believed, could mankind recover that lost dominion. Nature placed in bondage through technology would serve human beings. Here "nature takes orders from man and works under his authority." The method of science was not to be achieved by developing abstract notions such as those of the medieval scholastics, but rather through the instruction of the understanding "that it may in very truth dissect nature." "By art and the hand of man," nature should be "forced out of her natural state and squeezed and molded. " In this way "human knowledge and human power meet as one."' Thus Bacon, in bold sexual imagery, outlined the key features of the modern experimental method-constraint of nature in the laboratory, dissection by hand and mind, and the penetration of nature's hidden secrets-language still used today in praising a scientist's "hard facts," "penetrating mind," or "seminal" arguments. The constraints against mining the earth were subtly turned into sanctions for exploiting and "raping" nature for human good.' The development of science as a methodology for manipulating nature, and the interest of scientists in the mechanical arts, became a significant program during the latter half of the seventeenth century.

Other philosophers realized even more clearly than had Bacon himself the connections between mechanics, the trades, middle-class commercial interests, and the domination of nature. Scientists spoke out in favor of "mastering" and "managing" the earth. French Philosopher Ren6 Descartes wrote in his Discourse on Method (1637) that through knowing the crafts of the artisans and the forces of bodies we could "render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature. 116

John Dury and Samuel Hartlib, English Baconians and organizers of the Invisible College (ca. 1645), connected the study of the crafts and trades to increasing wealth. The members of England's first scientific society, the Royal Society (founded in 1660), were interested in carrying out Bacon's proposals to dominate nature through experimentation. Joseph Glanvill, the English philosopher who defended the Baconian program in his Plus Ultra (1668), asserted that the objective of natural philosophy was to "enlarge knowledge by observation and experiment . . . so that nature being known, it may be mastered, managed, and used in the services of humane life. " For Glanvill, anatomy, was "most useful in human life" because it "tend[ed] mightily to the eviscerating of nature, and disclosure of the springs of its motion." In searching out the secrets of nature, nothing was more helpful than the microscope for "the secrets of nature are not in the greater masses, but in those little threads and springs which are too subtle for the grossness of our unhelped senses."7 In his Experimental Essays (1661), English scientist Robert Boyle distinguished between merely knowing as opposed to dominating nature in thinly veiled sexual metaphor: "For some men care only to know nature, others desire to command her" and "to bring nature to be serviceable to their particular ends, whether of health, or riches, or sensual delight."' The experimental method developed by the seventeenth-century scientists was strengthened by the rise of the mechanical philosophy. Together they replaced the older, "natural" ways of thinking with a new and "unnatural" way of seeing, thinking, and behaving. The submergence of the organism by the machine engaged the best minds of the times during a period fraught with anxiety, confusion, and instability in both the intellectual and social spheres.


The mechanical view of nature now taught in most western schools is accepted without question as our everyday, common sense reality-a reality in which matter is made up of atoms, colors occur by the reflection of light waves of differing lengths, bodies obey the law of inertia, and the sun is in the center of our solar system. This worldview is a product of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. None of its assumptions were the commonsense view of our sixteenthcentury counterparts. Before the scientific revolution, most ordinary people assumed that the earth was in the center of the cosmos, that the earth was a nurturing mother, and that the cosmos was alive, not dead. As the unifying model for science and society, the machine has permeated and reconstructed human consciousness so totally that today we scarcely question its validity. Nature, society, and the human body are composed of interchangeable atomized parts that can be repaired or replaced from outside. The "technological fix" mends an ecological malfunction, new human beings replace the old to maintain the smooth functioning of industry and bureaucracy, and interventionist medicine exchanges a fresh heart for a worn-out, diseased one. The removal of animistic, organic assumptions about the cosmos constituted the death of nature-the most far-reaching effect of the scientific revolution. Because nature was now viewed as a system of dead, inert particles moved by external rather than inherent forces, the mechanical framework itself could legitimate the manipulation of nature. Moreover, as a conceptual framework, the mechanical order had associated with it a framework of values based on power, fully compatible with the directions taken by commercial capitalism.9 The emerging mechanical worldview was based on assumptions about nature consistent with the certainty of physical laws and the symbolic power of machines. Although many alternative philosophies were available (Aristotelian, Stoic, gnostic, Hermetic, magic, naturalist, and animist), the dominant European ideology came to be governed by the characteristics and experiential power of the machine. Social values and realities subtly guided the choices and paths to truth and certainty taken by European philosophers. Clocks and other early modern machines in the seventeenth century became underlying models for western philosophy and science. Not only were seventeenth-century philosophical assumptions about being and knowledge infused by the fundamental physical structures of machines found in the dally experience of western Europeans, but these presuppositions were completely consistent with another feature of the machine-the possibility of controlling and dominating nature. These underlying assumptions about the nature of reality have today become guidelines for decision-making in technology, industry, and government. The following assumptions about the structure of being, knowledge, and method make possible the human manipulation and control of nature.

1. Matter is composed of particles (the ontological assumption).

2. The universe is a natural order (the principle of identity).

3. Knowledge and information can be abstracted ftom the natural world (the assumption of context independence).

4. Problems can be analyzed into parts that can be manipulated by mathe matics (the methodological assumption).

5. Sense data are discrete (the epistemological assumption).

The new conception of reality developed in the mid-seventeenth century shared a number of assumptions with the clocks, geared mills, and force-multiplying machines that had become an important part of daily European economic life. First of all, they shared the ontological assumption that nature is made up of modular components or discrete parts connected in a causal nexus that transmitted motion in a temporal sequence from part to part. Corpuscular and atomic theories revived in the seventeenth century hypothesized a particulate structure to reality. The parts of matter, like the parts of machines, were dead, passive, and inert. The random motions of atoms were rearranged to form new objects and forms of being by the action of external forces. Motion was not inherent in the corpuscles, but a primary quality of matter, put into the mundane machine by God. In Descartes' philosophy, motion was initiated at the world's creation and sustained from instant to instant throughout created time; for English physicist Isaac Newton (1642-1727), new motion in the form of "active principles" (the cause of gravity, fermentation, and electricity) was added periodically to prevent the nonautonomous world-machine from running down. For German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), the universal clock was autonomous-it needed no external inputs once created and set into motion. The ontology of this classical seventeenthcentury science, modified by energy concepts, has become the framework of the western commonsense view of reality. The second shared assumption between machines and seventeenthcentury science was the law of identity, the idea that A is A, or of identity through change. This assumption of a rational order in nature goes back to the thought of the philosophers Parmenides of Elea (fl. 500 B. C.) and Plato (4th century B. C.) and is the substance of Aristotle's first principle of logic. Broadly speaking, it is the assumption that nature is subject to lawlike behavior and therefore that the domain of science and technology includes those phenomena that can be reduced to orderly predictable rules, regulations, and laws. Events that can be so described can be controlled because of the simple identity of mathematical relationships. Phenomena that "cannot be foreseen or reproduced at will . . . [are] essentially beyond the control of science. "" The formal structural dependence of this mathematical method on the features of the mechanical arts was beautifully articulated by Descartes in his Discourse on Method (1636): "Most of all I was delighted with mathematics, because of the certainty of its demonstrations and the evidence of its reasoning; but I did not understand its true use, and, believing that it was of service only in the mechanical arts, I was astonished that, seeing how firm and solid was its basis, no loftier edifice had been reared thereupon."" The primary example of the law of identity for Descartes was conservation of the quantity of motion measured by the quantity of matter and its speed, mlvl. in the late-seventeenth century Newton, Leibniz, English mathematicians Christopher Wren and John Wallis, and Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens all contributed to the correction of Descartes' law accurately to describe momentum (mv) as the product of mass and velocity rather than speed, and mechanical energy (mv') as the product of the mass and the square of the velocity. Everyday machines were models of ideal machines governed and described by the laws of statics and the relational laws of the conservation of mechanical energy and momentum. The form or structure of these laws, based as they were on the law of identity, was thus a model of the universe. Although the conversion of energy from one form to another and, in particular, the conversion of mechanical motion into heat were not fully understood until the nineteenth century, the seventeenth-century laws of impact were nevertheless, for most natural philosophers, models of the transfer and conservation of motion hypothesized to exist in the ideal world of atoms and corpuscles. The third assumption, context independence, goes back to Plato's insight that only quantities and context-independent entities can be submitted to mathematical modeling. To the extent that the changing imperfect world of everyday life partakes of the ideal world, it can be described, predicted, and controlled by science 'ust as the physical machine can be controlled by its human operator. Science depends on a rigid, limited, and restrictive structural reality. This limited view of reality is nevertheless very powerful, inasmuch as it allows for the possibility of control whenever phenomena are predictable, regular, and subject to rules and laws. The assumption of order is thus fundamental to the concept of power, and both are integral to the modern scientific worldview." Although Descartes' plan for reducing complexity in the universe to a structured order was comprehensive, he discovered that the very problem that Aristotle had perceived in the method of Plato was inherent in his own scheme. That problem was the intrinsic difficulty, if not impossibility, of successfully abstracting the form or structure of reality ftom the tangled web of its physical, material, environmental context. Structures are in fact not independent of their contexts, as this third assumption stated, but integrally tied to them. In fact, Descartes was forced to admit, "the application of the laws of motion is difficult, because each body is touched by several others at the same time. . . . The rules presuppose that bodies are perfectly hard and separable from all others . . . and we do not observe this in the world." The enormous complexity of things thus inhibits the analysis in terms of simple elements. " Descartes' method exhibits very precisely the fourth or methodological assumption that problems can be broken down into parts and information can then be manipulated in accordance with a set of mathematical rules and relations. Succinctly stated, his method assumes that a problem can be analyzed into parts, and that the parts can be simplified by abstracting them from the complicating environmental context and then manipulated under the guidance of a set of rules. His method consisted of four logical precepts:

I . To accept as true only what was so clearly and distinctly presented that there was no reason to doubt it;

2. To divide every problem into as many parts as needed to resolve it;

3. To begin with objects simple and easy to understand and to rise by degrees to the most complex);

4. To make so general and complete a review that nothing is omitted.

In Descartes' opinion, this method was the key to power over nature, for these methods of reasoning used by the geometricians 11 caused me to imagine that all those things which fall under the cogni-

zance of man might very likely be mutually related in the same fashion." By following this method, "there can be nothing so remote that we cannot reach to it, or recondite we cannot discover it." Descartes' method depended on the manipulation of information according to a set of rules: "Commencing with the most simple and general (precepts), and making each truth that I discovered a rule for helping me to find others,-not only did I arrive at the solution of many questions which I had hitherto regarded as most difficult but . . .in how far, it was possible to solve them." In the same manner, the operation of a machine depends on the manipulation of its material parts in accordance with a prescribed set of physical operations. Descartes placed great emphasis on the concept of a plan or form for ordering this information, drawing his examples from the practical problem of city planning: "Those ancient cities which, originally mere villages, have become in the process of time great towns, are usually badly constructed in comparison with those which are regularly laid out on a plain by a surveyor who is free to follow his own ideas." He wished his new ideas to "conform to the uniformity of a rational scheme. " In his De Cive, written in 1642, Hobbes had advocated the application of this method of analysis to society:

For everything is best understood by its constitutive causes. For as in a watch, or some such small engine, the matter, figure, and motion of the wheels cannot well be known except it be taken asunder and viewed in parts; so to make a more curious search into the rights of states and duties of subjects, it is necessary, I say, not to take them asunder, but yet that they be so considered as if they were dissolved."

The fifth assumption shared by seventeenth-century science and the technology of machines was the assumption that sense data are atomic. Data are received by the senses as minute particles of information. This assumption about how knowledge is received was articulated most explicitly by Hobbes and the British empiricistsjohn Locke and David Hume. According to Hobbes, sense data arise from the motions of matter as it affects our sense organs, directly in the case of taste and touch, or indirectly, through a material medium, as in sight, sound, and smell. These sense data can then be manipulated and recombined according to the rules of free speech: "But the most noble and profitable invention of all other, was that of speech, consisting of names or appellations and their connection whereby men register their thoughts . . . without which there had been among men neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace."' Words are abstractions from reality; sentences or thoughts are connections among words: "The manner how speech serves to the remembrance of the consequence of causes and effects, consists in the imposing of names and the connection of them. " Nature cannot be understood unless it is first analyzed into parts from which information can be extracted as sense data: "No man therefore can conceive anything, but he must conceive it in some place and endowed with some determinate magnitude; and which may be divided into parts. ,17

For Hobbes, the mind itself is a special kind of a machine-a calculating machine similar to those constructed by Scottish mathematicianjohn Napier (1550-1617), French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Leibniz, and other seventeenth-century scientists. To reason is but to add and subtract or to calculate. "When a man reasoneth, he does nothing else but conceive a sum total, from the addition of parcels; or conceive a remainder, from subtraction of one sum from another; which, if it be done by words, is conceiving of the consequence of the names of all the parts, to the name of the whole; or from the names of the whole and one part to the name of the other part." "In sum, in what matter soever there is place for addition and subtraction, there is also place for reason; and where these have no place, there reason has nothing at all to do. . . . For reason . . .is nothing but reckoning, that is adding and subtracting."" This view is manifested in twentieth-century information theory that, according to philosopher Martin Heidegger, is "already the arrangement whereby all objects are put in such form, as to assure man's domination over the entire earth and even the planets."" The new definition of reality of seventeenth-century philosophy and science was therefore consistent with, and analogous to, the structure of machines. Machines (1) are made up of parts, (2) give particulate information about the world, (3) are based on order and regularity, (perform operations in an ordered sequence), (4) operate in a limited, precisely defined domain of the total context, and (5) give us power over nature. In turn, the mechanical structure of reality (1) is made up of atomic parts, (2) consists of discrete information bits extracted from the world, (3) is assumed to operate according to laws and rules, (4) is based on context-free abstraction from the changing complex world of appearance, and (5) is defined so as to give us maximum capability for manipulation and control over nature."'


Based on these five assumptions about the nature of reality, science since the seventeenth century has been widely considered to be objective, value-free, context-free knowledge of the external world. Additionally, as Heidegger argued, western philosophy since Descartes has been fundamentally concerned with power. "The essence of modern technology lies in enframing;" that is, in the revealing of nature so as to render it a "standing reserve," or storehouse. "Physics, indeed as pure theory," he wrote, "sets up nature to exhibit itself' in such a way as to "entrap" it "as a calculable order of forces."" Both order and power are integral components of the mechanical view of nature. Both the need for a new social and intellectual order and new values of human and machine power, combined with older intellectual traditions, went into the restructuring of reality around the metaphor of the machine. The new metaphor reintegrated the disparate elements of the self, society, and the cosmos torn asunder by the Protestant Reformation, the rise of commercial capitalism, and the early discoveries of the new science. The domination of nature depends equally on the human as operator, deriving from an emphasis on power and on the human as manager, deriving from the stress on order and rationality as criteria for progress and development. Efficient operation results @rom the ordered rational arrangement of the components of a system. The mechanical framework with its associated values of power and control sanctioned the management of both nature and society. The management of natural resources depends on surveying the status of existing resources, and efficiently planning their systematic use and replenishment for the long-term good of those who use them."


The world in which we live today was bequeathed to us by Isaac Newton. Twentieth-century advances in relativity and quantum theory notwithstanding, our western commonsense reality is the world of classical physics. The legacy left by Newton was the brilliant synthesis of Galilean terrestrial mechanics and Copernican-Keplerian astronomy. Fundamental in generality, it describes and extends over the entire universe. Classical physics and its philosophy structure our consciousness to believe in a world composed of atomic parts, of inert bodies moving with uniform velocity unless forced by another body to deviate from their straight-line paths, of objects seen by reflected light of varying frequencies, and of matter in motion responsible for all the rich variations in colors, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches we cherish as human beings. In our dally lives, most of us accept these teachings as givens, without much critical reflection on their origins or associated values. The problem that the mechanization of the world raised for the generation after Descartes and Hobbes was the very issue of the "death of nature. " If the ultimate principles were matter and motion-as they were for the first generation of mechanists-or even matter, motion, vol 'd space, and force-as they became for Newton-this left unresolved the central issue of explaining the motion of life-forms in a dead cosmos. Like many others, Newton was not satisfied with Descartes' dualistic solution, which reduced the human being to a ghost-in-themachine whose mind could change the direction of but not initiate bodily motion, and categorized animals as mere beast machines. Yet as the most powerful synthesis of the new mechanical philosophy, Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, (1687) epitomized the dead world resulting from mechanism. Throughout the complex evolution of his thought, Newton clung tenaciously to the distinguishing feature of mechanism-the dualism between the 23 passivity of matter and the externality of force and activity.

Mechanism eliminated from the-description of nature concepts of spatial hierarchy, value, purpose, harmony, quality, and form central to the older organic description of nature, leaving material and efficient causes-matter and force. Motion was not an organic process but a temporary state of a body's existence relative to the motion or rest of other bodies. The mathematizing tendencies in Newtonian thought which emphasized not the process of change, but resistance to change, the conservation of a body's motion, and the planets and satellites as ideal spheres and point sources of gravitational force were manifestations of the mechanical philosophers' concern with geometrical idealization, stability, structure, being, and identity, rather than organic flux, change, becoming, and process. In mechanism the primacy of process was thus superseded by the stability of structure. Completely consistent with this restructuring of the cosmos as passive matter and external force was the division of matter into atomic parts separated by void space. The book of nature was no longer written in symbols, signs, and signatures, but in corpuscular characters. The atomic analysis of matter ultimately became an exemplar for the atomic division of data, problems, and events on a global scale." Newton's speculations on atomic structure as presented in the 1713 edition of the Principia and the queries to the 1706 and 1717 editions of the Opticks became a foundation for eighteenth-century experimental philosophers, who wished to complete the task of reducing known phenomena to simple laws which-like the law of gravitation-would quantify other mechanical, chemical, electrical, and thermal observations. Moreover, its conceptual framework, emphasizing external force and passive matter divided into rearrangeable components, could provide a subtle sanction for the domination and manipulation of nature necessary to progressive economic development. If eventually the religious framework providing for God's constant care and for the attainment of human grace were removed, as it was in the eighteenth century, the possibilities for intellectual arrogance toward nature would be strengthened." The mechanistic view of nature, developed by the seventeenthcentury natural philosophers and based on a western mathematical tradition going back to Plato, is still dominant in science today. This view assumes that nature can be divided into parts and that the parts can be rearranged to create other species of being. "Facts" or information bits can be extracted from the environmental context and rearranged according to a set of rules based on logical and mathematical operations. The results can then be tested and verified by resubmitting them to nature, the ultimate judge of their validity. Twentieth-century logical positivism, the basis for scientific knowledge, assumes that only two types of statements lead to truths about the natural world: mathematical (or logical statements) of the form a = a, and empirically verifiable statements. Mathematical formalism provides the criterion for rationality and certainty, nature the criterion for empirical validity and acceptance or rejection of the theory. Natural science has thus become the model for knowledge. The mechanical approach to nature is as fundamental to twentiethcentury physics as it was to classical Newtonian science. Twentiethcentury physics still views the world in terms of fundamental particles-electrons, protons, neutrons, mesons, muons, pions, taus, thetas, sigmas, pis, and so on. The search for the ultimate unifying particle, the quark, continues to engage the efforts of the best theoretical physicists. Modern science is widely assumed to be objective, value-free, context-free knowledge of the external world. The greater the extent to which the sciences can be reduced to this mechanistic mathematical model, the more legitimate they become as sciences. Thus the reductionist hierarchy of the validity of the sciences first proposed in the nineteenth century by French positivist philosopher August Comte is still widely assumed by intellectuals, the most mathematical and highly 26 theoretical sciences occupying the most revered position.


Between 1500 and 1700 an incredible transformation took place. A 11 natural" point of view about the world in which bodies did not move unless activated, either by an inherent organic mover or a "contrary to nature" superimposed "force," was replaced by a non-natural nonexperiential "law" that bodies move uniformly unless hindered. The 11 natural" perception of a geocentric earth in a finite cosmos was superseded by the "non-natural" commonsense "fact" of a heliocentric infinite universe. A subsistence economy in which resources, goods, money, or labor were exchanged for commodities was replaced in many areas by the open-ended accumulation of profits in an international market. Living animate nature died, while dead inanimate money was endowed with life. Increasingly capital and the market assumed the organic attributes of growth, strength, activity, pregnancy, weakness, decay, and collapse, obscuring and mystifying the new underlying social relations of production and reproduction that made economic growth and progress possible. Nature, women, blacks, and wage laborers were set on a path toward a new status as "natural" and as human resources for the modern world system. Perhaps the ultimate irony in these transformations was the new name 27 given them: rationality. Although the mechanistic analysis of reality has dominated the western world since the seventeenth century, the organismic perspective has by no means disappeared. It has remained as an important underlying tension, surfacing in such variations as Romanticism, American transcendentalism, the German Nature philosophers, and the early philosophy of Karl Marx. The basic tenets of the organic view of nature have reappeared in the twentieth century in the theory of holism of Jan Christiaan Smuts, the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, the ecology movement of the 1970s, and David Bohm's holomovement (see Chapters 3 and 4). Some philosophers have argued that the two frameworks are fundamentally incommensurable. Others argue that a reassessment of the underlying metaphysics and values historically associated with the mechanistic worldview may be essential for a viable future." The mechanistic worldview continues today as the legitimating ideology of industrial capitalism and its inherent ethic of the domination of nature. Mechanistic thinking and industrial capitalism lie at the root of many of the environmental problems discussed in Chapter 1. The egocentric ethic associated with this worldview, however, has been challenged by the ecocentric ethic of the ecology movement (see Chapter 3) and the worldview itself by deep ecology (see Chapter 4).


Deep ecologists call for a new ecological paradigm that will replace the dominant mechanistic paradigm of the past three hundred years. This new worldview would represent as profound a transformation as the one which occurred during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. lt would be so fundamental that it would entail new metaphysical, epistemological, religious, psychological, sociopolitical, and ethical principles. Taking its name and approach from Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess' 1972 article on "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement," deep ecology holds that the reform environmentalism of the 1970s and 1980s dealt only with legal and institutional fixes for pollution and resource depletion, rather than fundamental changes in human relations with nonhuman nature (see Table 4.1).' When in 1985 sociologist Bill Devall and philosopher George Sessions published a book and writer Michael Tobias a collection of articles entitled Deep Ecology, the concept gained visibility beyond the community of philosophers. It has now become the legitimating framework for an array of ecological movements from spiritual Greens to radical Earth First!ers. A dominant social paradigm, according to Bill Devall, who elaborated on Naess' approach, is a "mental image of social reality that guides expectations in a society." Deep ecology challenges the dominant western paradigm elaborated in Chapter 2. It offers a new science of nature, a new spiritual paradigm, and a new ecological ethic. Deep ecological thinking emerges from the sense of ecological in Chapter 1. It is thus socially produced and socially constructed. It focuses, however, on transformation at the level of consciousness and worldview, rather than the transformation of production and reproduction (see Figure 1.1). It thus supports and legitimates new social and economic directions that move the world toward sustainability.


For Duvall and Sessions, deep ecology requires a new metaphysics of humans-in-nature not above it. This cosmic/ecological metaphysics stresses an 1/thou relationship between humans and nonhuman nature and the integrity of person/planet. The principle of biospheric equality places humans on an equal level with all other living things in an organismic democracy. Here it draws from the science of ecology which attributes equal importance to every component of the interlinked web of nature. Second, a new psychology, or philosophy of self, is required. This means a total intermingling of person with planet. A society based on the prominence of individual egos gives way to a new spiritual freedom to develop an interconnected community. Urban intellects previously dedicated to the self-consciousness of power over planet open themselves to a person in planet consciousness.

Table 4.1

Arne Naess' Principles of Deep Ecology

1. Rejection of the man-in-environment image in favor of the relational, total-field image.

2. Biospherical egalitarianism.

3. Principles of diversity and of symbiosis.

4. Anti-class posture.

5. Fight against pollution and resource depletion.

6. Complexity, not complication.

7. Local autonomy and decentralization.

Source: Arne Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement. A Summary," Inquiry, 16 (1972): 95-100.

This avenue draws them down a Buddhist or Hinduist pathless path by which self can be integrated into the Great Self. Modesty and humility and an awe of evolution take precedence over an assertion of human power over the biosphere. Spiritual ecology and the spiritual wing of the Greens movement in the United States further develop this assumption (see Chapter 5). Third, deep ecology develops a new anthropology that draws its guidelines from studies of horticulturalists and gatherer-hunters. Reinhabiting the land as " dwellers in it" rejects industrial society as the world paradigm for development and entails leaving vast tracts of land as wilderness. People can live their lives as "future primitive" withdrawing from developed land and allowing it to reestablish itself as wilderness. For each ecological region, the guideline for use should be human carrying capacity. Much of the thought underlying the bioregional movement stems from this assumption (see Chapter 9). Fourth, deep ecology espouses an ecocentric rather than a homocentric (or anthropocentric) ethic. In using nonhuman nature, people have a duty to maintain the integrity of the ecosphere, not to conquer it or make it more efficient. Although living entails some killing, other organisms have a right to exist and evolvejust as do humans. Humans are dependent on the ecosphere for survival and should not exploit it as a master does a slave. This assumption is fundamental to an emerging ecocentric ethic rooted in ecologist Aldo Leopold's 1949 "land ethic." Fifth, a new ecologically-based science promotes a sense of human place within the household of nature. A nonviolent peace with nature is declared. The new scientist takes her cue from the ancient shaman rather than the genetic engineer. The new science is process oriented. It draws on design with nature, rather than the imposition of form on nature. Biological and cultural diversity are desired ends. These can be reached and maintained through soft energy and appropriate technology paths._ Technology is not an end but a means to human welfare. Deep ecology's sources include alternative traditions in western thought as well as the beliefs of native peoples and eastern philosophers. In the Western religious tradition it espouses the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, rather than the judeo-Christian tradition of domination over nature. From eastern philosophy it learns from interpreters and poets such as Alan Watts, Daisetz Suzuki, and Gary Snyder and draws on historian Joseph Needham's work on science and civilization in China. From Native American leaders such as Black Elk and Luther Standing Bear, it seeks a new religious ecology and social organization. Alternative western philosophers provide guidelines to the possibility of integrating humans within nature. These include the Presocratics, Giordano Bruno, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, George Santayana, Alfred North Whitehead, Aldo Leopold, Robinson Jeffers, and Martin Heidegger. Deep ecology draws its scientific inspiration from Paul Shepard's view that ecology is a subversive science-the basis of a social and scientific resistance movement. Another call for a "New Ecological Paradigm" (NEP) comes from sociologists William Catton and Riley Dunlap. Following Columbus' discovery of the New World, they argue, Europeans expanded "exuberantly" across America, to use the language of great plains historian Walter Prescott Webb, where the person/land ratio was ten times less than in Europe. An age of abundance and industrialization followed in which nature was exploited by a "people of plenty," who clung to an ideology of progress. The "Dominant Western Worldview" (DWW), which guided American development, assumed that people were different from all other organisms and were in charge of their own destiny. Because global resources were so abundant, and people had a unique capacity to develop and solve problems using technology, they believed they would always be able to find solutions that would continue humanity's forward progress. A corollary to this worldview, the "Human Exemptionalism Paradigm (HEP), assumed that human societies were exempt from the consequences of ecological principles and environmental constraints (see Table 4.2). The ecological crisis and the growing awareness of resource scarcity, however, challenge these older assumptions. Catton and Dunlap suggest that a New Ecological Paradigm will replace the Dominant Western Worldview and the concept of human exemptionalism, ushering in a "post-exuberant age" (Figure 4. 1). The ecological paradigm rests on an historically new set of assumptions about people and nature. The NEP assumes that although humans have unique characteristics as a species, they are still subject to the same ecological laws and restraints as other organisms. Humans are dependent on finite natural resources and there are important linkages and feedbacks between human societies and the ecosystems in which they are imbedded. If human technological progress exceeds the carrying capacity of the land, the laws of ecology will force adjustments. A steady state or sustainable society is "one that provides for successful human adaptation to a finite (and vulnerable) ecosystem on a long-term basis."' A third push to establish a deep ecological paradigm comes from physicist Fritjof Capra. Famous both for his analysis of the similarity between the assumptions underlying the new physics and eastern philosophy (in The Tao of Physics) and his call for a revolution in thought patterns (in The Turning Point), he has embraced deep ecology as the most succinct term for the emerging worldview. The worldview that has dominated western society for the past three hundred years, he argues, assumes that the universe is made up of elementary particles, the human body is a machine, society is based on a Darwinian competitive struggle for existence, a belief in material progress, and that the female is subordinate to the male.' Deep ecology, Capra believes, offers a holistic worldview that emphasizes the whole over the parts and does not separate humans ftom the environment. The ecological paradigm entails a new ethic that recognizes the intrinsic value of all beings, one that will replace the anthropocentric ethics of the past. "All natural systems are wholes whose specific structures arise ftom the interactions and interdependence of their parts. Systemic properties are destroyed when a system is dissected, either physically or theoretically, into isolated elements. Although we can discern individual parts in any system, the nature of the whole is always different ftom the mere sum of its parts. " Similarly, a new green economics sees the economy as a living system made up of interacting human beings and social organizations. Its goals are to maximize human health, welfare, basic needs, and the environment, rather than profit. A number of new social movements have embraced these goals, including the ecology, feminist, holistic health, human potential, and green movements. The transition to a new worldview, Capra believes, coincides with a transformation in values that could bring about a balance between the rational and the intuitive, the reductionist and holistic, and the analytic and synthetic. The purpose is not to abandon one mode for the other, but to work toward a balance between them.'


Emerging over the past decade are a number of scientific proposals that challenge the scientific revolution's mechanistic view of nature. According to physicist David Bohm, a mechanistic science based on the assumption that matter is divisible into parts (such as atoms, electrons, or quarks) moved by external forces may be giving way to a new science based on the primacy of process. In the early twentieth century, he argues, relativity and quantum theory began to challenge mechanism. Relativity theory postulated that fields with varying strengths spread out in space. Strong, stable areas, much like whirlpools in a flowing stream, represented particles. They interacted with and modified each other, but were still considered external to and separate from each other. Quantum mechanics mounted a greater challenge. Motion was not continuous, as in mechanistic science, but occurred in leaps. Particles, such as electrons, behaved like waves, while waves, such as light waves, behaved like particles, depending on the experimental context. Context dependence, which was antithetical to mechanism and part of the organic worldview, was a fundamental characteristic of matter. Bohm's process physics challenges mechanism still further. He argues that instead of starting with parts as primary and building up wholes as secondary phenomena, a physics is needed that starts with undivided, multidimensional wholeness (a flow of energy called the holomovement) and derives the three dimensional world of classical mechanics as a secondary phenomenon. The explicate order of the Newtonian world in which we live unfolds from the implicate order contained in the underlying flow of energy. Bohm suggests that the holomovement contains the principle or seed of life that directs the environment as well as the energy that comes from the soil, water, air, and sunlight. just as a forest contains trees that are continually being replaced by new ones, so a particle is in a stable, but continual state of regular changes that manifest over and over again. Living and inanimate things are similar in that they reproduce themselves over and over by unfoldment and enfoldment. When inanimate matter is informed by a seed containing information in its DNA, it produces a living plant which in turn reproduces a seed. The plant exchanges matter and energy with its environment; carbon dioxide and oxygen cross the cell boundaries. At no point is there a sharp distinction between life and nonlife. "The holomovement which is 'life-implicit,' says Bohm, "is the ground both of 'life-explicit' and of'inanimate matter'. . . . Thus we do not fragment life and inanimate matter, nor do we try to reduce the former completely to nothing but an outcome of the latter."' Another challenge to mechanism comes from the new thermodynamics of Ilya Prigogine. The clock-like machine model of nature and society that dominated the past three centuries of western thought may be winding down. While Newtonian classical physics is still valid, it is nonetheless limited to a clearly defined domain of the total world. It was extended in the nineteenth century to include theories of thermo-dynamics that developed out of the needs of a steam-engine society, electricity and magnetism that supplied the light and electricity that powered that society, and hydrodynamics or the science associated with the dams and water power that generated its electricity. The equilibrium and near-equilibrium thermodynamics of nineteenth-century classical physics had beautifully described closed, isolated sytems such as steam engines and refrigerators. In dealing with the emergence of order out of chaos, Prigogine's theory helped to clarify an apparent contradiction between two nineteenth century scientific developments. Classical thermodynamics, which says that the universe is moving toward a greater state of chaos, is based on two laws. The first law states that the total energy of the universe is constant and only changes its form as it is transferred from mechanical, to chemical, to hydrodynamic, to metabolic energy etc. But the second law states that the energy available for work-the useful energy-is decreasing. The universe is running down, just as a clock unwinds over time when no one is there to rewind it. The second law implies that the world proceeds from order to disorder, that people grow older, and that in billions of years the whole universe will reach a uniform temperature. The classical model of reality deals very adequately with closed systems that are isolated from their environments-situations in which small inputs result in small outputs that can be described by linear mathematical relationships. Yet the very concept of an unwinding clocklike universe is apparently contradicted by another startling nineteenth century theoryevolution, or the motion toward greater order. Darwinian evolution says that biological systems are evolving, not running down. They are moving from disorder to order; they are becoming more organized rather than disorganized. The direction of change over time is ftom simple to more complex life forms. The apparent contradiction lies in the domain in which the laws applied. Mechanical systems are closed systems isolated from the environment and their laws pertain to only a small part of the universe. In contrast, most biological and social systems are open, not closed. They exchange matter and energy with the environment. Prigogine argued that classical thermodynamics holds in systems that are in equilibrium or near-equilibrium, such as pendulum clocks, steam engines, and solar systems. These are stable systems in which small changes within the system lead to adjustments and adaptations. They are described mathematically by the great seventeenth and eighteenth century theoretical advances in calculus and linear differential equations. But what happens when the input is so large that a system cannot adjust? In these far-from-equilibrium systems, nonlinear relationships take over. In such cases small inputs can produce new and unexpected effects. Prigogine's far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics allows for the possibility that higher levels of organization can spontaneously emerge out of disorder when a system breaks down. His approach applies to social and ecological systems, which are open rather than closed, and helps to account for biological and social evolution. In the biological realm, when old structures break down, small inputs can (but do not necessarily) lead to positive feedbacks that may produce new enzymes or new cellular structures. In social realms, revolutionary changes can take place. On a large scale, a social or economic revolution can occur in which a society regroups around a different social or economic form, such as the change from gathering-hunting to horticulture, or from a feudal society to a preindustrial capitalist society. In the field of science, a revolutionary change could entail a paradigm shift toward new explanatory theories, such as the change from a geocentric Ptolemaic cosmos to a heliocentric Copernican universe.

The recent emergence of chaos theory in mathematics suggests that deterministic, linear, predictive equations, which we learn in freshman calculus and which form the basis of mechanism, may apply to unusual rather than usual situations. Instead, chaos, in which a small effect may lead to a large effect, may be the norm. Thus a butterfly flapping its wings in Iowa can result in a hurricane in Florida. Chaos theory reveals patterns of complexity that lead to a greater understanding of global behaviors, but militate against over-reliance on the simple predictions of linear differential equations. The butterfly metaphor originated with Edward Lorenz, Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who used it to describe the phenomenon of sensitive dependence on initial conditions. In a talk entitled, "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" he wrote: "The question which really interests us is whether . . . for example, two particular weather situations differing by as little as the immediate influence of a single butterfly will generally after sufficient time evolve into two situations differing by as much as the presence of a tornado. In more technical language, is the behavior of the atmosphere unstable with respect to perturbations of small amplitude?" Lorenz's work, for which he won the 1983 Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, led him to question the possibility of finding suitable linear prediction formulas for weather forecasting and instead to develop models based on nonlinear equations. He argued that irregularity is a fundamental property of the atmosphere and that the rapid doubling of errors from the effects of physical features precludes great accuracy in real-world forecasting. Most environmental and biological systems, such as changing weather, population, noise, non-periodic heart fibrillations, and ecological patterns, may in fact be governed by nonlinear chaotic relationships.' In the realm of biology, Charles Birch has offered a "postmodern challenge" to the mechanistic approach of atomistic units governed by external relationships. Arguing that the dominant model of life in biology is both mechanistic and reductionist, he substitutes an "ecological model" based on internal relations. As one moves up the hierarchy from electron to atom to cell to organism, the properties at any one level do not totally predict those at the next. There are new relations between the units, notjust a basic rearrangement of units. Each being is a subject that is interrelated with its environment, not something that can be studied in isolation. In the ecological model of the brain, such as that of Karl Pribram, images do not result from the addition but the interaction of many cells. If some brain cells are removed the image is reduced in clarity, but parts of it do not vanish. There is thus no point to point correspondence as in a lens, but many to one relationships, as in a hologram. In genetics, the ecological model says that genes are not like atoms or billiard balls. The way the DNA expresses itself depends on the cellular environment. Molecules and their chemical environments are in dynamic equilibrium and pathways are probable, not determined. Molecular biology is thus molecular ecology.9 The Gaia hypothesis of atmospheric chemistjames Lovelock offers another biological challenge to the mechanistic model. Named after the Greek earth goddess Gaia, the hypothesis states that "the physical and chemical condition of the surface of the earth, of the atmosphere, and of the oceans has been and is actively made fit and comfortable by the presence of life itself." The biosphere is a self-regulating (cybernetic) system. The hypothesis challenges mechanism by offering the idea that Gaia as a living earth is more than the mere sum of its parts. Life itself plays an active role in maintaining the conditions necessary for its own continuation. Lovelock's central idea is that "the living matter, air, oceans, and land surface form a complex system which can be seen as a single organism and which has the capacity to keep our planet a fit place for life. " The atmosphere is not merely a collection of gases in more or less definite proportions, but a biological construction that is an extension of a living system, much like the hair on the back of a cat or the shell of a snail. If even small deviations from the present proportions of gases occurred, it would be a disaster for life itself. Oxygen, for example, at 21 percent of the atmosphere is the safe upper limit in which life can occur; even small increases would lead to an increase in terrestrial fires. At 25 percent the planet would be a raging conflagration extinguishing even the possibility of life. Other atmospheric gases are maintained by life processes. Methane, produced in the muds of wetlands by anaerobic bacteria, bubbles to the surface where it combines with oxygen to produce water and carbon dioxide, thus preventing the slow build up of atmospheric oxygen concentrations. Nitrous oxide (N,O) is produced by microorganisms in the soils and seas. It provides a counterbalance to methane and also regulates the amount of oxygen. Nitrogen, which is 79 percent of the atmosphere, is produced by denitrifying bacteria which return it to the air. Without life, nitrogen and oxygen would both return to the sea. Nitrogen dilutes oxygen, regulates combustion, and stabilizes climate. Ammonia is also of biological origin, producing rain with a pH of 8. Water, an essential, chemically-neutral substance, returns oxygen to the atmosphere and hydrogen to outer space. The entire interconnected global system of living and non-living things contains internal feedbacks that keep the chemical percentages within the ranges suitable for life's continuance. Later Lovelock, working with scientist Lynn Margulis of Boston University, extended his hypothesis to include oceans and soil.'o The Gaia hypothesis, however, has been criticized as being both teleological and tautological. In 1988, the American Geophysical Union held a conference in San Diego on the Gaia hypothesis that included well known scientists-skeptics who questioned the extreme purposefulness built into the hypothesis, and supporters who explored possible connections with hot springs, the human brain, and the extinction of dinosaurs. James Kirchner of the University of California sees it as a nest of hypotheses ranging from the self-evident to the highly speculative. At the straightforward end of the scale, it simply reiterates the well-documented linkages between biogeochemical and biological processes, while emphasizing the importance of feedback loops between them. At the speculative end is the more questionable concept that biological processes regulate the physical environment maintaining favorable conditions for life. The latter, Kirchner asserts, is untestable, unproveable, and unfalsifiable. Gaia is perhaps nothing but a tautology." Nevertheless, the Gaia metaphor caught on rapidly during the 1980s as a powerful new image for uniting the combined destinies of people, other organisms, and inorganic substances. Environmental historian J. Donald Hughes looked at Greek ideas of the earth as a goddess and the cosmos as an organism in his 1982 article, "Gaia: An Ancient View of our Planet." The National Audubon Society Expedition Institute sponsored a 1985 public symposium, "Is the Earth a Living Organism?" that featured papers by scientists, anthropologists, historians, poets, American Indians, and spiritualists. Feminists took up the theory as support for the ancient goddess Gaia (see Chapter 5) and opened Gaia bookstores to market goddess statues, books, and records. Musician Paul Winter composed, "Missa Gaia, A Mass in Celebration of Mother Earth," which was recorded live in the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York and in the Grand Canyon.

The hypothesis also sparked an array of books that pictured threats to the global Gaian ecosystem, explored scientists' and economists' thoughts on its political implications, and extended the idea to the field of environmental and bioethics. 12 These ncw approaches to science are consistent with deep ecology's call for a new metaphysics. They are based on a different set of assumptions about the nature of reality than mechanism-wholeness rather than atomistic units, process rather than the rearrangement of parts, internal rather than external relations, the nonlinearity and unpredictability of fundamental change, and pluralism rather than reductionism. Yet could a postclassical science embodying such a vision be socially created and accepted? If so, it might provide alternative ethical guidelines for humanity's relationship with the environment.


In many ways the assumptions of the new postclassical science resonate with the much older metaphysical beliefs of ancient Asia: Taoism, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, and the many sects and traditions within Chinese, Japanese, and Indian thought. Taoism offers an example of an alternative approach to knowledge, ethics, and the study of Nature. In the sixth century B C in China, the "Old Master," Lao Tzu, set down a collection of classic aphorisms known as the Tao Te Ching (the Ts are pronounced as Ds), or The Way. A contemporary of Confucius who developed a philosophy of practical ethics, over the succeeding centuries Lao Tzu and his Taoist philosophy became associated with "the people," while Confucianism appealed more to China's bureaucratic 61ite. By the end of the sixth century A D, Taoism was established as a popular cult, infused with alchemy, healing, popular magic, and ultimately with scientific developments such as the magnetic compass and gunpowder. Taoist priests incorporated Buddhist teachings about the afterlife and Nirvana, or eternal happiness. Confucian scholars, who were more concerned with morals, abstract social ethics, and the practice of the good life, looked down on Taoism as a popular" emotional religion. 13 The Tao, or the way, is the ultimate reality, the One that underlies the appearances. As cosmic process, it is the way of the universe. Taoists emphasize changes and flows within the whole, observing patterns within the cyclic, ceaseless motion of going and returning, expansion and contraction. Human intellect can never fully grasp the Tao, but people can observe nature to discover its ways. Its nonanalytic, intuitive, scientific approach achieves insights into transformation and change, into growth and decay, life and death through observation of the natural world. Taoist method links opposites, stressing contrary aspects, innate tensions, and spontaneity. Thus yin and yang are polar opposites within constant change. Yin represents the active, yang the receptive; yin is sunny, yang is shady; yin is light, yang is dark; yin is male, yang is female; yin is firm, yang is yielding, yin is heaven, yang is earth and so on. The body is a balance between yin and yang, outside and inside, front and back. The Ch'i is its vital energy, the continuous flow that connects yang organs by way of yin meridians. Taoist ethics say that to achieve something, one must start with its opposite. To retain, one must admit the opposite. Action is inaction. One should not force change; instead change stems from within in accordance with the flow of the Tao and the natural order. Good is balanced with bad. Taoism is a form of dialectical idealism. Mao Zedong contrasted his own Marxian philosophy of dialectical materialism by quoting the Tao's idealist assumptions: "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name. " The particular is not the reality. The Tao is nameless. It is form without object, shape without shape. "We look at it and do not see it; its name is the invisible, the inaudible, the formless." But like Maoism, Taoism is rooted in the dialectic. The contradictions between two opposites produce change. Being and non-being produce each other. A cup is molded of clay, but its non-being, or hollow space, is the useful part. Long and short, high and low, front and back accompany each other. "To be crooked is to be perfected; to be bent is to be straightened; to be lowly is to be filled; to be senile is to be renewed; to be diminished is to be able to receive. ,14

As in the postclassical process sciences, the Tao is the world's underlying energy. "What the Tao produces and its energy nourishes, nature forms and natural forces establish. On this account there is nothing that does not honor the Tao and reverence its energy." The Tao "produces, but keeps nothing for itself; acts, but does not depend on its action; increases, but does not insist on having its own way. This indeed is the mystery of energy."" What distinguishes Eastern from Western philosophies is often the use of analogy and metaphor rather than abstraction. Eastern thought resists the unifying, abstract, transcendent concepts so characteristic of western science. Rather than theory, it offers a fine-tuned image, instead of argument an inimitable experience, in place of syllogism, an evocative aphorism. Eastern ways of knowing, alternatives within the western philosophical tradition, and the postclassical sciences are some of the sources for deep ecology's challenge to the mechanistic worldview. Yet deep ecology is itself criticized for its lack of both a politics of transformation and a politics of gender difference."


"How deep is deep ecology?" asks philosopher George Bradford. Admitting that the "environmental crisis is a crisis of a civilization destructive in its essence to nature and humanity," Bradford excoriates deep ecologists for their lack of a political critique. They fail to recognize that the idea that all things in the biosphere have an equal right to exist is just as much of a projection of human sociopolitical categories onto nature as is the anthropocentrism they criticize. They fail to extend the ecological concept of interrelatedness to technology as a system or to the extractive empire of global capitalism. They take the character of capitalist democracy for granted rather than submitting it to a critique. Deep ecologists who make a sharp distinction between wilderness and anthropocentrism fail to consider that humans are also animals.

Moreover they fail to recognize the ethnocentrism of their own concept of wilderness as devoid of human presence, especially that of aboriginal peoples who for thousands of years inhabited the very lands they now wish to define as wilderness. Many deep ecologists accept the Malthusian premise that the root of the problem is too many people. Catton, for example, premises the need for a New Ecological Paradigm on the fact that human numbers have exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment. "Population growth," retorts Bradford, "is certainly a cause for concern. . . . More than 900 million people are presently malnourished or starving, and hunger spreads with rising numbers. But Malthusian empiricism sees many hungry mouths and concludes that there are too many people and not enough resources to keep them alive. " Instead of seeing scarcity and famine as "inevitable, irrevocable, even benign, ,17 hunger is the 9 product of maldevelopment and requires social rather than deep ecological transformation. A second critique focuses on the socioeconomic and scientific naivete of deep ecology. Capra's approach in particular, says Stephan Elkins, idealizes culture as the reflection of a society's values and the key to action. Far from examining the ways in which values are related to social structures or analyzing how social structures might change, Capra simply assumes that values and worldviews change over time following cyclical patterns of genesis, growth, maturation and decline. Minority groups with new ideas appear (such as feminists, Greens, and bioregionalists), the old socioeconomic forms disintegrate, and a new cycle begins, as in the current transition to a non-patriarchal, solar age. Change is painless, benign, and independent of political struggle. Instead, argues Elkins, values emerge from people's everyday experience as formed by their place in class society, not from learning about the Cartesian-Newtonian worldview or the new ecological paradigm. Problems of economic production stem not from our culture's obsession with growth, the desire for indefinite expansion, and consumer inducements to buy and throw away, but from the unequal distribution of private property. Capra advocates the systems approach of the new ecological paradigm, presenting it as an objective reflection of the systemic wisdom of nature that can provide balance and harmony for society. But science for Elkins is a social product: "A society's view of nature must be seen as part of its self-interpretation, reflecting social relations and its relation to the natural environment. " No less than the mechanistic worldview, which Capra criticizes, systems theory is equally reductive, selecting ecological relations as the functions that science mathematically describes. Science, Elkins argues, is thus magically transformed from an inhibiting mechanistic rearguard into a revolutionary life-affirming vanguard. From a force of destruction and domination, it suddenly becomes a source of hope and salvation. The systemstheoretical core of Capra's ecological paradigm could be appropriated, not as a source of cultural transformation, but as an instrument for technocratic management of society and nature, leaving the prevailing social and economic order unchanged." A third critique of deep ecology comes from ecofeminism (see Chapter 8). In "Deeper than Deep Ecology: the Eco-Feminist Connection," Ariel Kay Salleh offers a critique of a critique. Philosopher Arne Naess' use of the generic term "man" in his 1972 paper is more than a semantic or sexist flaw. Although Naess promotes biospheric egalitarianism and a "relational total-field image" (see Table 4. 1), he and other deep ecologists fail to see the historical and philosophical connections between the domination of nature by "man" and the domination of women by men. "The master-slave role which marks man's relation with nature, " argues Salleh, "is replicated in man's relations with woman." The "anti-class" posture offered by Naess is superficial, ignoring the connection between nature as commodity and woman as commodity in patriarchal society. Moreover, the artificial limitation of the human population advocated by deep ecologists in order to achieve species equality is rationalist and technist. This approach, according to Salleh, contradicts the life-affirming values of both deep ecology and woman as bearer of life. " Finally, many ecofeminists argue that deep ecology's anthropocentric critique ignores androcentrism-it is men not women who in fact havc historically created and controlled science and technology-and gender differencewomen lose identity in merging with the larger ecological self. Could deep ecology be cured of its antifeminist bias through greater sensitivity to its own language and analysis? The answer is no. This would be a mere bandaid. An even deeper social feminist critique exposes the biases in both patriarchy and capitalism. The hegemony of capitalists over laborers depends on the exploitation of nature as a free gift to capital. The hegemony of men over women is necessary to maintain women's double "second-shift" labor in the home and the workplace, whether in capitalist or state socialist societies. A science rooted in the twin assumptions of atomism and objectivity legitimates the domination of both nature and women. Mechanistic science is patriarchal inasmuch as it has been historically dominated by men who have produced "truths" about reality. The result is dualistic thinking in which the world is interpreted in terms of dominance and submission, objectivity and subjectivity, rationality and emotion, with the first characteristic of each pair being associated with men and the second with women. Women have not participated in the scientific and cultural projects that have defined women's "nature" as emotional, unruly, and subjective and men's "minds" as rational, unbiased, and objective-the epitome of science itself.'


Could there be a science that would be consistent with egalitarian and feminist social values? Much of nineteenth and twentieth century science was influenced by the logical positivist philosophy that mathematics and experimentation lead to certain knowledge of an external real world. Historians and philosophers of science in the late-twentieth century, however, have questioned this positivist approach. Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1 962), raised two fundamental questions: Does each age construct its own scientific reality? Does science actually represent progress in the objective knowledge of nature? During the past decade a social constructivist philosophy of science has responded that science is basically a social construction by groups of scientific practitioners who have access to the corporate and governmental systems of power that review proposals and fund research. This school argues that what counts as scientific knowledge is based on: (1) the acceptance by a community of practitioners of what counts as a scientific "fact," (2) the social selection and deselection of facts and theories that interpret natural phenonmena, and (3) their inscription into texts accepted as state of the art knowledge by the scienti 'fic community and taught to the next generation of scientists. These considerations raise even more radical questions:

1. Can there be a pristine scientific knowledge beyond social, gender biased, and value-laden processes of scientific investigation and systems of institutional support?

2. Can there be a reconstructed postclassical science and a reconstructive way of knowing nature?

3. Can there be a reconstructed system of knowledge consistent with egalitarian, democratic values that would lead to a sustainable ecology and society in the twenty-first century?

In their book New Ways of Knowing, Marcus Raskin and Herbert Bernstein offer a manifesto of reconstructive knowledge. "The world-that is, the world we communicate about-is transformed by description of it. Knowledge workers shape the social organization in which our inquiries about nature take place. And our cognitive understandings of the world are manufactured, indeed, usually manufactured. " A reconstructive knowledge method will be dedicated to the social good, concern with public participation, and the incorporation of humane values into research goals. It starts with choosing a research topic, a small interdisciplinary research group to work on it, and a day-to-day method that is guided by future moral applications. Questions and answers should be based on social realities, not on disciplinary inquiries. Small groups of researchers from several fields should thoroughly discuss the social and ecological implications of their own projects before undertaking them. Research that denies humanity a future (such as chemical and biological weapons) should not be funded or pursued. Instead research programmes that lead to an improvement in the quality of life for disadvantaged groups and the restoration of diversity to the natural world will have priority. Feminists such as Ruth Bleier, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Sandra Harding likewise emphasize a reconstructive knowledge based on principles of interaction (not dominance), change and process (rather than unchanging universal principles), complexity (rather than simple assumptions), contextuality (rather than context-free laws and theories), and the interconnectedness of humanity with the rest of nature. An ecological approach to problem-solving would be based on human interactions with the nonhuman world, recognition of the imbeddedness of humans in complex biological and social proceses, and the context dependence of particular ecosystems in particular times and places. Such a vision of science could contribute to a new relationship with the natural world because it would place humans within it rather than dominant over it and recognize women's roles in the reconstruction of knowledge."


The ideas of deep ecology, alternative philosophies, the emerging postclassical sciences, feminism, and reconstructive knowledge point to the possibility of a new worldview that could guide twenty-first century citizens in an ecologically sustainable way of life. The mechanistic framework that legitimated the industrial revolution with its side-effects of resource depletion and pollution may be losing its efficacy as a framework. But a nonmechanistic science and an ecological ethic must be consistent with a new social ecology (see Chapter 6) and with feminist values (see Chapter 8). It must support a new economic order grounded in the recycling of renewable resources, the conservation of nonrenewable resources, and the restoration of sustainable ecosystems that fulfill basic human physical and spiritual needs (see Chapter 9). Deepest ecology is both feminist and egalitarian. It offers a vision of a society that is truly free. It recognizes that nature is a social construction that changes over time. People have the power to construct nature as a free, autonomous subject, not a dominated object- a nature that is an equal partner with equal women and men. Deepest ecology also recognizes that science is enmeshed in socially negotiated relationships with nature, relationships that respond to the needs of society. Which research projects are selected and funded depends on social goals; which relations are codified by science depends on social needs. If social goals start with the fulfillment of basic human and quality-of-life needs, then people working together through social movements can create a truly egalitarian, ecological society. Perhaps then Nature as equal partner can be healed.


People are sitting in a circle in a woodland clearing, warm earth below, blue sky above, sun shining through leaves and pine needles. They havejust returned from special individual places and have taken on the identities of other natural beings. With paper and paste, colored pens and scissors, they make masks. Passing a smoking shell and a bowl of fresh water, they begin the ritual. Turning first to the east, then to the other three directions, they invoke the powers of nature. They invite the beings of the Three Times-naming those who have nurtured the earth before, those who are saving it in the present, and those of future times for whom the earth is being preserved. Each being in turn speaks for itself and its kind, telling of its place in the earth's order. "I am rainforest; I am kangaroo; I am mountain; I am lichen." Then a few remove their masks and move into the circle's center to listen as humans to what is happening to the others.

I am rainforest. . . . You destroy me so carelessly, tearing down so many of my trees for a few planks.... You cause my thick layer of precious topsoil to wash away, destroying the coral reefs that fringe me. . . . Your screaming machines tear through my trunks, rip my flesh, reducing me to sawdust and furniture.

After all have listened, a human finally speaks. "We hear you fellow beings. We feel overwhelmed. We need your help. Are there powers and strengths you can share with us in this hard time?" Each being offers help and shares its gifts with the others, leaving its mask and joining the humans in the center. The humans join together, humming as one organism, then break apart with singing and dancing.'


A ritual of despair and empowerment, the above Council of All Beings was developed by Joanna Macy, John Seed, and others to help people find and act on their own powers to save the planet. From its origins in Australia's movement to save its rainforests, the ritual Council has spread around the world to Tibet, England, California, and onward. The rituals are not intended as a subsititute for social action, but as preparation for it. They bring to consciousness the natural history of the planet and convey an authority to act on its behalf. Identification with the earth and its beings empowers each person and removes

doubts and hesitations. Spiritual ecology, like deep ecology, is a product of a profound sense of crisis in the ways that twentieth century humans relate to the environment. Like deep ecology it focuses on the transformation of consciousness, especially religious and spiritual consciousness. Recognizing the importance of some form of religious experience or worship in the lives of most people, spiritual ecologists attempt to develop new ways of relating to the planet that entail not an ethic of domination, but one of partnership with nature. Religious ideas create strong moods and motivations that act as an ecocentric ethic, guiding individuals and social movements towards new modes of behavior. The ideas of spiritual ecologists thus motivate individuals active in green ecological and ecofeminist social movements (see Chapters 7 and 8). Through rituals, a sense of reverence for nature can arise, centering people for social action. Other rituals reinforce Macy and Seed's Council of All Beings approach. Gaia meditations call upon people to participate in the cycling of the ancient elements-earth, air, fire, and water-through their bodies and lives. just as water pours in and out of the body and its fluids, so it flows through the earth's springs, rivers, clouds, and rain. Earth, rock, and soil find their way into the body's molecules and cells and they in turn become ashes and dust. As air is inhaled and exhaled it takes from and gives back to the trees and plants the sustenance necessary for life to continue. The sun's fire, the body's heat, and the cosmic big bang are the same changing manifestations of matter and energy. Each person is part of the long unbroken chain of creation. Consciousness of that history and interconnectedness reinforces belonging and gives strength to act.' In one and two day workshops people engage in these ritutals and share ecostories of times when they felt the power of the natural world or pain on what is happening to it. They honor endangered species in "bestiary" mourning, calling out the names of the species leaving the planetary family forever. During ecomilling, they dance and move in silence, looking, touching, and encountering each other in all their personal vulnerability to the poisoning of the planet and their personal power to heal it. At the end of the workshop people share their reflections and plan subsequent actions and meetings. Joanna Macy's empowerment workshops are based on a fivefold spiritual response to the pain that so many people feel about the two major threats to the planet: the possibilites for nuclear holocaust and for ecological crisis. The principles on which her work is based are:

1. Feelings of pain for our world are natural and healthy.

2. This pain is morbid only if denied.

3. Information alone is not enough.

4. Unblocking repressed feelings releases energy and clears the mind.

5. Unblocking our pain for the world reconnects us with the larger web of life.

It is through awareness of our human capacity to suffer with the world that we experience dimensions beyond ourselves, and through this ongoing awareness grasp the power to heal. "Moving through our pain for our world, " she states , is no more our doing as separate egos, than childbirth is the doing of the mother. For it is the deep ecology of life itself, if we let it, that draws us home to the awareness of our true nature and power." Because she believes that our generation's crime against the future is so terrible, Macy proposes that earth burial sites filled with toxic and irradiated materials need to be consecrated as guardian sites where the containers are religiously monitored and repaired. Much like the communities who have camped at the sites of United States nuclear bases, dedicated surveillance communities must continuously remind us and our descendants of the crippling power of these materials for millennia to come .


Do women need the goddess? A resounding, "yes, " say many feminists and devotees of new age spirituality. The goddess is an important replacement for the patriarchal symbolism of a male God, the power of which permeates all our cultural institutions, even non-religious ones. "Religions centered on the worship of a male god," says Carol Christ, "keep women in a state of psychological dependence on men and male authority, while at the same time legitimating the political and social authority of fathers and sons in the institutions of society." For women, the goddess is an affirmation of female power and female relationships. She symbolizes their importance as bringers forth of life and their connections with the earth .

A new iconography emerging from festivals, workshops, and conferences brings women in touch with submerged feelings that unite them with the powers of nature. The goddess has become a source of inspiration to female artists, musicians, poets, and actors seeking ways to reimage and heal human relationships with nature. Goddess rituals celebrated at the solstices and equinoxes enhance the personal meanings attached to cycles of life and death, menstruation and menopause. Men too are acknowledging the need for nature symbols in their lives. Many men find in rituals an affirmation of their own connections to nature and an ethic of caring for the earth. In consciousness raising workshops, men renew their spiritual relationships with nature through taking on the identities of figures of the forest such as the horned god, symbol of a generative creative force in nature-the Greek Pan, the Green Man of Europe, Pan Robin of the Green, the magician Merlin-and through taking on the identities of animals. San Francisco's Harvey Stein invites men to "climb in the body of Geb, " Egyptian god of the earth, "live the archetypes of Dionysus the Ecstatic, the Wild Man of the Forest, the Lord of the Animals," and through the Green Man of Europe with his leafy face, to "feel tree and animal life in our bodies. " He suggests that patriarchy is oppressive to men as well as women and that men can offer strength and tenderness both to each other and the earth.' Men's movement gurus such as Robert Bly, James Hillman, Robert Moore and Shepherd Bliss, inspired by mythological meanings in the work of Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, and Carl jung, facilitate male encounters with their "deep male" selves. Bly believes that men need to get in touch both with their feminine side and the deeper "wild man" within. Moore sees a need to promote a planetary vision, confront gender antagonisms, and reconcile masculine and feminine in mutual empowerment and cooperation. For Bliss, Orpheus is a male symbol of an earth-dwelling sprituality who contrasts with the transcendent sky gods of Olympus. Using lyre and song, rather than the blade and sword, Orpheus symbolizes gentleness and persuasion, love of beauty, and deep connections between men and nature. In rituals held in caves and woodlands, men (women may also be included) "descend in search of the deep feminine, singing to the goddesses, and we ascend to return to an earthy masculinity to guide us during these turbulent times. ,6 The current earth-based spirituality movement is part of an explosion of research on ancient nature religions. Archeologist Marija Gimbutas contrasts the goddesses and gods of southeastern old Europe during the period 7000 BC to 3500 BC with the sky gods brought by waves of horse-mounted Kurgan invaders from the Eurasian steppes between 4400 B. C. to 2800 BC. The horticulturalists of old Europe were settled, seemingly peaceful, bands whose life cycle focused on birth, death, and regeneration rituals centered on the female principle. They produced statues of seated goddesses with large bellies, buttocks, and cylindrical necks, woman-bird hybrids, and bird masks. Hybrid male-female and human-animal figures indicate a fusion with rather than a dualism between humans and nature. Other cosmological images, found on vases, lamps, altars, and walls, include spiral snake designs (symbolizing regeneration though skin shedding), "cosmic" eggs with snakes wound around them, fish designs, water birds, butterflies, and bees.' Throughout the ancient world, female deities were worshipped as bringers of natural fertility and were often found in association with male gods. In Mesopotamia, the female fertility goddess Ishtar (Inanna) was worshipped during prehistory, but with the introduction of agriculture and domesticated animals, she was accompanied by her sonlover Tammuz. As the generative power in nature, Ishtar renewed life each spring, descending into the underworld to bring back her dead son Tammuz. In Egypt, Isis was the symbol of the maternal principle who produced vegetation through impregnation by the sun god, her brother and spouse, Osiris. Every spring her tears overflowed, producing the flooding of the Nile. Her flowing gown was decorated with stars and flowers. In one hand she carried a pail, symbolic of the flooding of the Nile, while the other shook the sistrum, a rattle which continually agitated the powers of nature. In Greece, fertility rituals were centered on Demeter (the Roman Ceres) and her daughter Persephone (Roman Proserpina). Celebrated at Eleusis, the rites reenacted the abduction of Persephone by Pluto and the wandering of the griefstricken Ceres during the four months each year that her daughter was lost to the underworld. Art historian Pamela Berger has traced, through art imagery, the transformation of the goddess from Graeco-Roman protectress of the grain to medieval saint in her book The Goddess Obscured. Demeter is depicted with serpents around her arms, holding stalks of wheat. "In ancient Greece Gaia [was] syncretized with Demeter goddess of grain who created plant life, conserved it, and dissolved vegetation in order to renew it. " The Roman Terra Mater, shown on a first century breast plate as a mother goddess with cornucopia, grain stalks, and children in her lap, appears on a ninth century bookcover with flowing hair, supporting a cornucopia, and welcoming children. In the eleventh century, she appears nursing a serpent and cow and again with Adam and Eve on her lap with the snakc as the serpent of Eden. In the grain miraclc stories, she has been transformed into a saint, protecting the harvest from evil and miraculously causing grain to ripen as she passes. Finally, Mary replaces Demeter as grain protectress.8 Images such as these have inspired women artists and performers in the late twentieth century. In The Once and Future Goddess, Elinor Gadon skillfully juxtaposes a color plate of the medieval Tellus Mater with Meinrad Craighead's 1980 colored ink drawing of Mother Earth with flowing hair, animals and humans nestled at her feet, offering fruits from her garden. She shows the Stone-Age large-breasted Earth Mother of Willendorf next to a colored photograph of a 1985 performance by Susan Maberry as the earth mother on the day after the nuclear holocaust. The multi-breasted Artemis from the first century is placed beside an illustration of Louise Bourgeois as Artemis from the 1980 performance of "A Banquet/Fashion Show of Body Parts."9 Jewish women have found spiritual empowerment in a revival of God the Mother as an aspect of the divine. The Shekinah is the female spirit of God whose presence dwells in human beings. The importance of the shekinah was recognized in the writings ofjewish rabbis during the exile by the Romans in the first century of the Christian era. It then went underground until the twelfth century when it was revived in the Kabbalah, a mystical form of thejewish religion. Jewish artist Gila Yellin Hirsch of Los Angeles depicts her power in paintings entitled Shekinah (1976) and Emergence (1981), while Beth Ames Swartz, who travelled to Israel to visit sacred sites of Jewish females, painted The Red Sea (1983) in honor of Moses' sister Miriam."' The presumed dominance and subsequent decline of ancient goddess symbols and nature spirituality in western culture have political implications. Some feminists have used archeological and mythological evidence to argue that societies in prehistory may have been matriarchal, that is, under female political rule. In The Chalice and the Blade, however, Riane Eisler uses the samc evidence to make a case for dominator versus partnership societies. In her view, matriarchy and patriarchy are both examples of the dominator model, symbolized by the blade, in which the ranking of one sex is higher than that of the other. The partnership model, symbolized by the chalice, is based on linking, rather than ranking, and offers hope for an egalitarian political and economic society in the future. Using both feminist theory and cultural transformation theory, Eisler argues that an original partnership society in prehistory took a 5000 year detour into a dominator society. Yet a future society based on a partnership model between women and men and humans and nature may be emerging. In this society the "androcratic virtues" associated with the domination of nature and other peoples will be replaced by "gylanic consciousness." Gylany is derived from the Greck roots, "gyne" meaning woman and "andros" meaning man, linked by the letter "I" from the Greek word "lyein" meaning to resolve or to set free."


They gather on hilltops and beaches, in groves and fields, in rented storefronts and condominium penthouses to celebrate the full moon. Taking hands they cast the circle around an altar of flowers and candles, breathing, humming, and moving together to raise power, share it, and then earth it. In turn they face each of the four directions, calling on the goddesses of every tradition to be with them. To the beat of a drum, moving as one long snaking form, they reenact the sacred spiral dance. Some are naked, some remain clothed. The women leave centered and renewed with the energy needed to carry on the ecological work of healing the earth. Pagan spirituality, or the Old Religion, has been revived in modern times. Wicca is not harmful, black magic, but healing, centering power. To witches such as Starhawk and Margot Adler, magic means calling forth the power within, or the art of changing consciousness. A witch bends or shapes the unseen into new forms. The spiritual is the power and the will to change one's own life. To Z. Budapest, women are witches by right of being women. No further initiation is needed. Women form covens for support and consciousness raisingthe Honeysuckle Coven of Starhawk, the Susan B. Anthony Coven of Z. Budapest, or the Compost Coven, a men's group. Covens are usually all female, but some are mixed and a few are for men only. Leadership in the covens comes from within each person rather than from power over others. Each develops her or his own inner strength. Many see these rituals as empowerment for political and social change. 12 Whether as wicca, healing witchcraft, the religion of the Celtic druids, or as magic, as many as 100,000 people in the United States may practice a form of nature religion, animism, or pantheism based on an alive presence within nature. Ecologically oriented groups often use the lunar or pagan calendars for their gatherings and newsletters. The Elmwood Institute in Berkeley California, dedicated to promoting deep ecology, holds new moon gatherings and publishes its newsletter at the equinoxes and solstices. Earth First!, an activist group issues its newspaper eight times a year in accordance with the pagan nature holidays: Samhain (November 1), Yule (December 21), Bridged (February 2), Eostar (March 21), Beltane (May 1), Litha Uune 21), Lughnasadh (August 1), and Mabon (September 21). Practitioners of the Old Religion have used rituals and magic in political demonstrations. For example, members of Starhawk's Matrix affinity group protested continuation of research on nuclear weapons at California's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Part of a large nonviolent protest in which thousands of people were mobilized by the Livermore Action Group during the 1980s, the members participated in training sessions in methods of nonviolent resistance. At the June demonstrations, held on the day of the summer solstice, each affinity group of six to eight people joined arms to block an entrance to the laboratory while other protesters urged employees to show support by not going to work. In the 1982 demonstration, members of Matrix created a large web, symbolic of the web of life as well as the power of women and witches. Using chants, spells, and rituals they wove yarn into a large web and imbedded it with flowers, seeds, and photographs. When a bus bearing workers approached, they used the web to blockade the road. As some members of the group were being arrested, others tied the web to the fence. In the 1983 action, one thousand arrestees were held for fifteen days in a large tent while they negotiated the terms of their arraignment and sentencing with authorities. The affinity groups, all trained in nonviolence, operated by a process of consensus decision-making that was energized and unified through rituals led by Matrix. Yet the use of goddess spirituality and wicca in radical politics has been criticized. The rituals and meditations, crystals and pentagrams, chanting and drum-beating used at ecological conferences and demonstrations to energize and raise group consciousness are ineffective in dealing with the serious ecological problems facing the planet. Religion is a matter of individual choice and can inspire both personal transformation and political action. But when "spirituality" itself becomes a political principle, objects social ecologistjanet Biehl, and is held out as "a key to a better life," it must be scrutinized like any political platform. "A critical analysis of goddess-worshipping spirituality . . . must address not only the content of the specific myth being generated, but also the function of myth as such in an advanced industrial capitalist society. 11 Moreover, the archeological evidence used by Gimbutas, Eisler, and others to reconstruct goddess-worshipping egalitarian societies in prehistory, argues Blehl, "follows a simplistic philosophical idealismnamely, that cultural symbols determine social realities, confusing religious symbols with religious institutions. They fail to grapple with the question of whether an all pervasive religious authority is really a desirable alternative to a secular society." Some archeologists question the argument that the neolithic culture of Old Europe was changed by a single cause-migration of another people into the area. Others ask whether the expansion of the agrarian neolithic culture was necessarily peaceful, given the existence of arrowheads that could have been used against people as well as animals. Still others criticize the generalizations on which the arguments for mother goddess worship in prehistory are based. Of the identifiable statues and images in prehistoric art, some 35 percent are female, about 15 percent are male, and the rest are unidentifiable or simply anthropomorphic. While some female images are buxom or pregnant; others are extremely slender. Such observations undercut the presumed universality of the female fertility image.


When I was small, my mother often told me that animals, insects, and plants are to be treated with the kind of respect one customarily accords to high-status adults. 'Life is a circle, and everything has a place in it,' she would say. That's how I met the sacred hoop.

So writes Paula Gunn Allen, a Keres Pueblo Indian, of the ways of native American women in her book on The Sacred Hoop. Many native American tribes were gynocratic, matrifocal, and matrilineal and believed that they were descended from female creator spiritsGrandmother Spider, Spirit Woman, Grandmother Woodchuck, Thought Woman, and so on. Stories passed from mother to child over the generations, taught native Americans to respect the earth and the entire animate world." In The Ways of My Grandmothers, Beverly Hungry Wolf speaks of the spiritual significance of the annual June Sun Dance camp of the Blackfoot tribe. Awakened each morning in tipis by an old person singing, each grandmother greets the rising sun, calling out the names of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. She gives thanks for the good things of the past winter and asks for peace for the future. Learning the old ways of the grandmothers means learning which wood burns best, what meat is best to roast, how to dry it properly, how to sew lasting moccasins, and how to put up and heat tipis. It means appreciating the time when women walked long distances carrying loads of firewood and men spent countless freezing days and nights hunting for food to bring home. The Sun Dance camps grow larger every year as younger people discover spiritual strength in the older traditions.'5 A generation of ecologically conscious people have found inspiration in native American beliefs that nature is alive and the earth is a mother. In contrast to western dualistic philosophies, most native peoples saw no distinction between animate and inanimate, natural and supernatural, body and spirit. The entire natural world was enspirited and sensate. Different entities had differing amounts of power and therefore needed to be treated with respect. From this basic assumption followed certain moral rules for treating nature. Animals, plants, and rocks needed to be addressed respectfully, and use of their names had restrictions. When killed for food, proper spiritual preparations and propitiations had to be made, the capture had to be painless, and the skinning and disposal of the remains done with respect through ritual processes." Indian orators such as Smohalla of the Columbia Basin tribes, Chief Luther Standing Bear and Black Elk of the Ogalala Sioux, and Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe in the Puget Sound area of the present state of Washington have preserved an earth ethic from the past that many people wish to reclaim for the future. 17 The words of Chief Seattle seem to contain the essence of the distinction between the modern American and native American land ethics:

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark wood, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes whatever he needs. . . . He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

Chief Seattle's words, immortalized in the movie, Home, and repeated in hundreds of books, articles, classrooms, and student papers represent an inspiration to return to a sane, respectful way of living within nature rather than against it. Yet these words seem not to have been spoken by the great chief after all, but are a third or fourth-hand version of an oral address delivered by Seattle in 1854, translated on the spot, by an unknown person, from Suquamish into English to Henry A. Smith, M.D. who in 1887 reconstructed it from extensive notes. Smith's version was later rendered into "better" classical English by William Arrowsmith and then rewritten by Ted Perry as a film script for Home produced in 1972 by the Southern Baptist Convention. Many of the words which resonate with modern ecological consciousness are not the original words, but contain phrases and flourishes designed to appeal to ecological idealism and the Christian religion."' Does the shock of such a discovery mean abandonment of native American land wisdom? Does the argument that native peoples used cliff drives and fire drives in prehistory and guns, snowmobiles, and outboard motors in modern times mean that native Americans never had or readily abandoned an ethic of respect for nature? Were they propitiating nature out of fear rather than care for the land? No, argues philosopher J. Baird Callicott.

If some traditional American Indian peoples practiced conservation complemented by a land ethic and maintained a long term balance between themselves and nature, then in [the words of Richard Nelson], 'If they can so it, so can we.' Their example represents hope. It also represents a role model. "


Mainstream churches have engaged in a variety of activities that both reinterpret the ecological crisis in spiritual terms and attempt to change society through conferences, publications, and projects. Among the Christian denominations with environmental projects are the World Council of Churches, the American Baptist Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Mennonite Central Committee, the Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers) and others.

In addition, a number of seminaries, divinity schools, and universities sponsor projects and publish newsletters. These include the Commission on Stewardship of the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Eco-justice Pr 'ect of the Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Oi Policy at Cornell University (publishers of The Egg newsletter), the "Cry of the Environment" project of the Center for Ethics and Social Policy in Berkeley, California, the Friends Committee on Unity with Nature in Santa Rosa, California, the North American Conference on Christianity and Ecology in Washington D. C. and San Francisco, and the Fellowship in Prayer's Worldwide Day of Prayer and Meditation to Help Heal Mother Earth (Princeton, New jersey). Christian ecology sees a responsibility to reinterpret the mandate of Genesis 1: 28 to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it" as the responsibility to give back to the land whatever is taken ftom it. This means that the nonrenewable metals should be recycled, that trees should be replanted, and that soil should be conserved. Dominion over the land means that a responsible Christian will care for the land with vision, mercy, benevolence, and compassion. Genesis 2 assigns humanity the responsibility to "dress and keep" the garden. In bringing the fruits of the garden to completion, people must renew the garden and resist the forces that despoil it. The covenant made with Noah was a covenant made with all living things. "Covenant, then includes an all-encompassing respect for the animal and vegetative life of the world, not only because they are created by God, but because they embody something of the divine nature." Stewardship means that humans have a responsibility to take care of the earth 20 and to insure that all its beings function together in an integrated way. The Eco-justice Project of the United Methodist Church sets out specific principles for Christian stewardship of the environment. It urges its members to promote government and community efforts to use natural resources responsibly through recycling and conservation and to allocate sufficient funds for reducing the production of toxic and hazardous chemicals, air pollutants, pesticides, and herbicides. It encourages careful stewardship of topsoil, conservation of wetlands, forests, and wildlands, maintenance of the diversity of life, and the preservation of groundwater sources. It urges the ethical and environmental examination of all new technologies and opposes the development of military weapons that would threaten the planetary environment.

Other mainstream religions have also searched their great books for spiritual guidance in dealing with the ecological crisis. Ecological Judaism unites the principle of peace, Shalom, with righteousness, Tzedek. The Tikkun Olam, or the edict to heal the world is extended to repair and heal the environment. The Kosher laws of eating could be extended to forbid eating food whose production is harmful to people, animals, or the land. The holy days and Torah can be used to remind people of their interdependence with nature. "At Pesach we count the Omer, reminiscent of the ripening barley. At Shavuot we celebrate the grain harvest; at Succot the vegetable harvest." The Tu B'Shvat, or autumnal holiday of the trees can be celebrated as a major 22 environmental holiday.

For Muslim believers:

Islam ... affords a luminous example of the centrality of ecological consciouness embedded in its inalienable view of man as the Viceregent of God on Earth. The Qur 'an teaches that the cosmos, nature, and the environment is full of signs of the Creator.... No religion on earth is so clearly vocative against destruction of domestic and wild life and against decimation of the God-granted natural wealth."


"Mother Earth in all her agony, " proclaims Dominican priest Matthew Fox, "is literally crying out to the heavens themselves, as we see in the disappearance of the ozone layer over the Antarctica." Fox, founder of the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality in Oakland California has reclaimed a form of western mysticism and dedicated it to working for social justice and the environment. He sees his Creation Spirituality as a liberating form of worship for the First World akin to Latin America's Liberation Theology. It unifies body and spirit, 'sins science, art, and cosmology, frees peoples from sexism and racism, and liberates the earth from anthropocentrism. Fox's ecological spirituality is rooted in the mystic writers of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries in Rhineland Germany. Three female mystics and a women's movement headed by a male spiritual leader offer a philosophy of interconnectedness and reverence for the earth. They include Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1280), Meister Eckhart (1269-1329), and julian of Norwich (1 342-c. 1415). These writers reveal a number of "ecological" themes that inspire respect and reverence for Nature and God's entire creation. While mainstream Christian religions begin with sin, the creationcentered mystics begin with blessing. Sin is humanity's creation not God's. There is no dualistic separation between a God embodying pure goodness and a deficient, sinful creation, but all creation is itself supremely good, delightful, beautiful, and pleasureable. Each being within it is full of the divine and reveals God's goodness. God is in us and we are in God. Mechtild experienced a spiritual awakening when she saw that God was in all things and all things were in God. Julian believed that all people were enclosed within God and Hildegard wrote that "God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God. " In contrast to the patriarchal religious tradition, God for these mystics, was both mother and father. Meister Eckhart imagined God lying on a maternal bed giving birth, while Julian saw the cosmos as a divine womb in which God was both Father and Mother. God is "our true Mother in whom we are endlessly carried and out of whom we will never come," she wrote. The earth too was holy, not something to be escaped from but embraced. For Hildegard the earth was a mother and living organism in whose body the seeds of all life were contained. The earth was nourished, watered, and made green by the air which was the earth's soul. Eckhart spoke of God as "a great underground river," with the earth as mediator between humans and divinity. For the mystics, there was no dualism of body and soul as in mainstream Christianity. The body was not an enemy to be despised, but an ally to be celebrated. Eckhart believed that the soul loved the body. It was the soil in which the divine seed was planted. Mechtild admonished that the body was not something to be disdained but a safe haven for the soul. Julian believed in a soul so large that it was an endless world with God in the center. For her, human sensuality was grounded in Nature, in compassion, and in grace. Christ was a cosmic Christ, bringer of justice, the Holy Spirit an outpouring of compassion from God and Christ. Compassion was humanity's origin, destiny, and source of justice. Making justice by way of compassionate healing was to return the Creator's gifts. Appreciating the thought of mystics such as Hildegard, Mechtild, Eckhart, and Julian, Fox argues, can help to bring an ecological awareness to the Christian tradition. Spiritual ecology is an awareness of the interconnectedness of the whole cosmos, a reverence for the earth, and compassion for all of creation. Fox's institute offers courses on cosmology and spiritual practice that bring together people of diverse religions and professions. While supported by his own Dominican Order, in 1988 he was silenced for one year by the Vatican. The grounds for his silencing were based on his references to God as "Mother," denial of the centrality of original sin, and his "fervent" feminism. Fox in turn defended his ideas by 25 reference to the Bible and the Church's own traditions.



Is Biblical thought ecological? Is the ecological movement religious? Is there an environmentally sensitive form of Christianity? These questions are asked and answered by process philosophers seeking a postmodern ecological worldview. For inspiration and spiritual guidance, they argue, one need not turn to the wisdom of native peoples or to eastern philosophy, but a meaningful ethic may be found within alternative western philosophies. Ecological process theology has been developed byjohn Cobb of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont College and David Ray Griffin, founder of the Center for the Study of the Postmodern World in Santa Barbara, California and several of their colleagues and students. Cobb and Griffin argue that mainstream Christianity is not ecological and for the most part the current ecology movement is not Christian. As Christian theologians, they have rejected both premodern and modern forms of Christian faith. They call for a new postmodern ecological worldview that will supersede the mechanistic, dualistic, positivist worldview of the modern era. The ecological movement is the bearer of this emerging worldview. Process philosophy owes its origins to British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who taught at Harvard University and to Charles Hartshorne, a teacher of Cobb at the University of Chicago. It asserts that "process is fundamental. It does not assert that everything is in process ... but to be actual is to be a process." lt challenges the mechanistic idea that an atom or molecule remains fundamentally the same regardless of its relations. Instead atoms acquire diverse properties in diverse relationships (or contexts). Atoms acquire different properties in different molecular arrangements because the new structures are new environments. Process philosophy thus substitutes an "ecological" theory of internal relations in which entities are qualitatively changed in interactions for the billiard ball model in which entities are like machines-independent and unchanged, affecting each other only through external relations. Atoms and molecules therefore 26 should be viewed not as machines, but as ecosystems . Process theology holds that God created the world out of chaos (rather than ex nihilo) and that each stage in the evolutionary process represents an increase in divine goodness. Each individual thing, whether a living organism or an atom, has intrinsic value and there is a continuity between human and nonhuman experience. One's attitude toward a dog, which is a compound individual, differs from that toward a plant, which is also a compound individual but has no center of enjoyment, and toward a rock, which, as a mere aggregate, has no intrinsic value. All three, however, have instrumental value in supporting each other in the ecosystem." Process thought is consistent with an ecological attitude in two senses: (1) its proponents recognize the "interconnections among things, specifically between organisms and their total environments," and (2) it implies "respect or even reverence for, and perhaps a feeling of kinship with, the other creatures." Cobb and Griffin argue that process philosophy implies an ecological ethic and a policy of social justice and ecological sustainability:

The whole of nature participates in us and we in it. We are diminished not only by the misery of the Indian peasant but also by the slaughter of whales and porpoises, and . . . the 'harvesting' of the giant redwoods. We are diminished still more when the imposition of temperate-zone technology onto tropical agriculture turns grasslands into deserts that will support neither human nor animal life."

For Cobb's former student jay McDaniel, intrinsic value includes the entire physical world. Atoms as individual things have intrinsic value. Rocks express the energy inherent within their atoms. They too have intensity and intrinsic value, albeit less than that of living organisms. Outer form is an expression of inner energy. The assumption that rocks have intrinsic value, however, does not mean that rocks and sentient beings would necessarily have equal ethical value, but rather that they would all be treated with reverence. This could result in a new attitude by Christians toward the natural world, one that involves both objectivity and empathy." Philosopher Susan Armstrong-Buck also sees Whitchead's philosophy as providing an adequate foundation for an environmental ethic because intrinsic value is assigned to nonhuman nature. Process is the continuity of occasions or events that are internally related-each present occasion is an integration of all past occasions. Occasions, Whitehead wrote, are "drops of experience, complex, and interdependent." The world is itself a process of fluent energy; actual entities are self-organizing wholes. Differences exist in the actual occasions that constitute each entity. Intrinsic value is not based on an extension of self-interest to the rest of nature, but on the significance of each occasion and its entire interdependent past history. Assigning preferences to biosystems is based on the degree of diversity, stability, freedom of adaptation, and integration of actual occasions inherent in each 30 system.


The main project of spiritual ecology is to effect a transformation of values that in turn leads to action to heal the planet. Whatever religion or form of spirituality one practices, it is possible to find a connection to the earth and to the political work that needs to be done to change the present way of managing resources. Some religions are more radical than others and some envision a more radical political transformation than others. With most individuals practicing some form of religion and with increasing attention to the ecological consequences of current ways of doing business, a spiritual revolution may help to support human and ecological justice in the twenty-first century. Yet skeptics argue that neither deep nor spiritual ecology goes far enough. Only through an economic transformation of the type advocated by the social and socialist ecologists of the following chapter can true ecological justice be attained.


What has the radical ecology movement accomplished? A broad range of answers to this question is possible. Radical ecology has not brought about a worldwide socialist order. Nor is such a scenario likely in the immediate future. Its achievements are far more modest. As a theoretical critique of the mainstream environmental movement, it exposes social and scientific assumptions underlying environmentalists' analyses. As a movement, it raises public consciousness concerning the dangers to human health and to nonhuman nature of maintaining the status quo. In so doing, it pushes mainstream society toward greater equality and socialjustice. It offers an alternative vision of the world in which race, class, sex, and age barriers have been eliminated and basic human needs have been fulfilled. What analyses and concrete results have radical theorists and activists contributed to the environmental movement?


* Reality is a totality of internally related parts. The relationships are fundamental and continually shape the totality as contradictions and conflicts arise and are resolved.

* Social reality has structural (ecological and economic) and superstruc tural (law, politics, science, and religion) features. Continual change is generated out of the contradictions and interactions among the parts and levels.

* Science is not a process of discovering ultimate truths of nature, but a social construction that changes over time. The assumptions accepted by its practitioners are value-laden and reflect their places in both history and society, as well as the research priorities and funding sources of those in power.

* Ecology is likewise a socially constructed science whose basic assump tions and conclusions change in accordance with social priorities and socially accepted metaphors.

* What counts as a natural resource is historically contingent and is dependent on a particular cultural and economic system in a given place and time.

* Surplus and scarcity are produced by economic interactions with non human nature. Scarcity is both real in that some resources are non rewewable over human lifespans and created in that economic produc ers control the technologies of extraction and the distribution of com modities.

* Human reproduction is not determined by indiscriminate sexual pas sions, but is governed by cultural norms and practices.

* Gender is created not only by biology, but by social practices.


* The dangers of radioactive, toxic, and hazardous wastes to human health and reproduction have been exposed by citizen activists and regulations concerning disposal have been tightened. Many appliances contain appliance parts that contain hazardous materials that are disposed of improperly.

* The siting of incinerators and landfills in poor and minority communities and Third World countries has been exposed as racist.

* The rapid clearcutting of tropical rainforests and northern hemisphere old growth forests by corporations on both public and private lands and the associated decimation of rare and endangered species have been brought to public awareness, and cutting in some areas has been curtailed.

* The slaughter of whales, dolphins, salmon, and other ocean species has been sharply criticized and in some cases curtailed or temporarily reduced.

* The dangers of pesticides and herbicides on foods and in water supplies and the availability of alternative systems of agriculture have been made visible.

* The viability of green parties as a source of political power has been recognized.

* The self-determination and power of indigenous peoples throughout the world to the right to control their own natural resources has become important.

* Direct, nonviolent action has become an acceptable and highly visible means of political protest.

* Alternative, nonpatriarchal forms of spirituality and alternative path ways within mainstream religions that view people as caretakers and/ or equal parts of nature rather than dominators are being adopted by more and more people.

* The need for ecological education and individual commitment to alter native lifestyles that reduce conspicuous consumption and recycle re sources is making headway.

While radical ecology has achieved specific gains and visibility, it nonetheless has its own limitations and internal contradictions. Radical ecology lacks coherence as a theory and as a movement. Theoreticians are deeply divided as to underlying ethical, economic, social, and scientific assumptions. Some deep ecologists wish to focus on redefining the meaning of self, others on redefining science and cosmology, still others on the connections between spirituality and deep ecology. Social ecologists and deep ecologists are at odds as to whether the priority lies with challenging and redefining the dominant worldview as the mode for initiating transformation or whether the preeminent strategy lies in the pursuit of social justice, with each camp accusing the other of lack of sophistication. Some social ecologists disdain spiritual ecology as politically naive and as diverting energy away from social change, while many spiritual ecologists defend ritual as a way of focusing social actions. Ethically the camps are also in disagreement, with many deep ecologists and spiritual ecologists holding some form of ecocentric ethic, while social ecologists generally pursue a homocentric approach informed by ecological principles. Although the theoretical debates among proponents of radical ecology in general are often vituperative, they are equally incisive and healthy as a forum for clarification of assumptions and principles. Similarly, green movements are divided along both theoretical and strategic lines. Green politics is fraught with disagreements between those who hold deep ecological and/or spiritual ecological assumptions and those who identify with social ecology and hold an ethic of social justice as the primary objective. Equally significant are the divisions between Greens who wish to pursue a practical realworld strategy of working with other political parties to achieve ecological goals and Greens who refuse to compromise fundamental movement principles and prefer to work outside the established political system. Ecofeminists are often critical of deep ecologists for their failure to recognize both biological and socially constructed differences, and divided among themselves as to basic strategies for change, with some pressing for spiritual, others for social approaches, and still others seeking to combine ritual with action. Similarly the sustainability movement is divided among those who primarily follow scientific/ ecological principles in advocating policy and those who incorporate or subordinate scientific strategies to social justice strategies. Radical environmental movements also differ in different parts of the world. In the First World, much energy is directed toward mitigating the effects of toxic pollutants (e.g. chloroflurocarbons, petroleum spi 'lls, PCBS, pesticides, and nuclear and hazardous wastes), preserving endangered species, saving wilderness, and promoting recycling. In the Second World, priorities are focused on controlling industrial threats to human health, particularly the effects of urban air and water pollution as well as nuclear contamination resulting from the Chernobyl accident. In the Third World a primary emphasis is on obtaining sufficient food, clean water, and adequate clothing for basic subsistence, developing appropriate technologies for cooking, heating, and farming, countering the effects of pesticide poisoning on human health, and preserving the lands of indigenous peoples. Yetjust as the environmental and human health problems facing the three worlds are interdependent, so radical movements are linked. When toxic substances and pharmaceuticals are banned in the First World, they are often dumped in Third World countries. Radical movements expose and protest against such practices. When rainforests are cut in Third World countries, destroying indigenous habitats, First World environmental groups organize consumer boycotts of timbers and hamburgers. When Second World activists organize environmental protests, they receive support and assistance from First World activists. International environmental conferences produce international networks of groups helping other groups. Within the First, Second, and Third World radical ecology movements, theory and practice are linked, each informing and inseparable from the other. Divisions among proponents open new avenues for both synthesis and criticism. The movement as a whole is both dynamic and timely. New ideas and new strategies for change are continually evolving; the door is always open to new people with energy and enthusiasm. I have organized the preceeding chapters around a framework that uses the concepts of ecology, production, reproduction, and consciousness in understanding both the ecological crisis and ways of overcoming it. I have analyzed the crisis a result of two contradictions, the first between production and ecology, the second between production and reproduction (see Introduction and Chapter 1). As these contradictions deepen, they push the world into greater ecological stress. The crisis could be relieved over the next several decades, however, through a global ecological revolution brought about by changes in production, reproduction, and consciousness that lead to ecological sustainability. Thus deep ecologists call for a transformation in consciousness from a mechanistic to an ecological worldview which transforms knowing, being, ethics, psychology, religion, and science, while spiritual ecologists focus on religion and ritual as ways of revering nature. Social ecologists call for a transformation in political economy based on new ecologically sustainable modes of production and new democratic modes of political reproduction. Radical ecological movements attempt to resolve the contradictions that lead to the crisis through action. Green politics address the contradiction between production and reproduction, pressing for ways of reproducing human and nonhuman life that are compatible with ecosystem health and social 'ustice. Ecofeminists press for gender equality and the subordination of production to the reproduction of life such that children will be born into societies that can provide adequate employment and security and have an ethic of nurturing both humans and nature. The sustainability movement focuses on the contradiction between ecology and production, devising ecologicallysustainable production technologies, restoring ecosystems, and promoting socially-just development programs. Despite the accomplishments and vision of radical ecologists, however, most of the world's power is presently concentrated in economic systems and political institutions that bring about environmental deterioration. The trends that split rich from poor, whites from people of color, men from women, and humans from nature remain. Radical ecology itself stands outside the dominant political, economic, and scientific world order. Together its various strands and actions challenge the hegemony of the dominant order. Because environmental problems promise to be among the most critical issues facing the twenty-first century, environmentalists will play increasingly important roles in their resolution. Radical ecology and its movements will continue to challenge mainstream environmentalism and will remain on the cutting edge of social transformation, contributing thought and action to the search for a livable world.