If you are concerned about the future of life on Earth, consider joining the deep ecology movement which embraces all living things, not just people.
Participants at the Ecologistics Deep Ecology Collaboratory held in San Luis Obispo, CA October 21-23, 2016, had the opportunity to meet and work with local and national environmental leaders in a small group setting while addressing environmental issues through the lens of deep ecology.
A fusion of “collaboration” and “laboratory”, a collaboratory is an open creative process where a group of people works together to generate solutions to complex problems.
So, what is Deep Ecology?
Deep Ecology Overview
During the 1970’s, Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer Arne Naess introduced the phrases “shallow ecology” and “deep ecology” to the environmental movement.
He described shallow ecology as short-term thinking and taking shallow actions to address environmental issues without fundamentally changing our values or the way we live. This includes actions like recycling, driving electric vehicles, and buying energy efficient consumer products. While these approaches do some good, they allow us to continue with our human-centric, fossil fuel dependent, consumer-oriented lifestyles with little inconvenience to ourselves and not much thought to all the other life forms on Earth.
Deep ecology recognizes the inherent value of all living things. It involves deep questioning and acknowledging that tweaking our “business as usual” approach is not working. Global climate change, the collapse of biodiversity, the extinction crisis, environmental degradation, and overpopulation are enormous problems. Deep ecology requires us to change our basic values and practices; to use a long-range deep approach to addressing environmental issues and preserving the diversity and beauty of the Earth we all rely on for life.
Deep Ecology Collaboratory
Throughout the Deep Ecology Collaboratory topic leaders and attendees grappled with topics such as the biodiversity crisis, overpopulation, globalization, psychological barriers to addressing climate change, and grassroots activism.
In between presentations and brainstorming sessions, collaborators dined on delicious omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan food prepared by Linnaea’s Café enjoyed listening to music at an outdoor concert and breathed in the brisk fall air on a Sunday morning nature hike.
During the Collaboratory brainstorming sessions, participants began working on the Deep Ecology Manifesto for Preserving Our Planetary Commons, an action plan for addressing Earth’s climate change and biodiversity crisis on political, social, and scientific levels.
Ecologistics is forming a Loomio group for people who participated in the Collaboratory and people who did not attend but want to join the group to work on creating the Manifesto and to collaborate on other actions. Loomio is an online conversation, collaboration, and decision-making tool.
The environmental movement needs everyone’s voice, not just those who can afford conference and event registration fees.
To make the Collaboratory accessible to anyone who had the desire and time to participate, Ecologistics offered pay-what-you-can registration allowing each person to determine what she or he could afford.
This philosophy likely contributed to bringing together a diverse group of attendees including educators, business professionals, retirees, nonprofit representatives, students, environmentalists, and activists.
The Collaboratory gave participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and collaborate with environmental leaders and experts.
- Kelly Sorenson – Executive Director of Ventana Wildlife Society
- Dave Foreman – activist, author, and co-founder of Earth First! and Director of The Rewilding Institute
- Robert Gifford – professor at University of Victoria, BC, Canada, environmental psychology
- Bill Ryerson – founder and President of Population Media Center
- Joe Bish – Director of Issue Advocacy at Population Media Center
- Eileen Crist – educator and editor of Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change
- Stephanie Mills – lecturer, activist, and author of Whatever Happened to Ecology?
- Matt Ritter – author, editor, and professor of botany at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA
- Derrick Jensen – radical activist and author of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
Surprise guest, Roberto Monge, gave a firsthand account of his experiences at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest taking place on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
Songwriting Contest and Concert
Music and art are essential mediums for connecting people and ideas while spreading beauty and joy. To this end, Ecologistics hosted a songwriting contest and concert as part of the Collaboratory.
Songwriters of all ages across California responded to the call for an original song about the impacts of climate change, habitat loss, extinction, or overpopulation on our planet, animals, and ecosystems and on humans. Ecologistics received 37 song submittals. Ranchers for Peace and the three contest winners performed at an outdoor concert on Saturday evening.
If you would like to learn more about the Deep Ecology Collaboratory topic leaders, listen to the songwriting contest songs, or join the Loomio group, please visit the Ecologistics website.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” —John Muir
Note to readers. At the time of this writing, I am a member of the Ecologistics Board of Directors.
- Central Coast Bioneers Conference 2014 – Growing the Movement
- Bioneers 2013 Conference – Turning Vision into Action
- Bioneers – Revolution from the Heart of Nature (2012)
- Central Coast Bioneers – Breakthrough Solutions for People and Planet (2012)
- Foundation for Deep Ecology
- Population Media Center
- The Rewilding Institute
- Ventana Wildlife Society