Deep Ecoloy Vs. Social Ecology (Foreman Vs. Bookchin) – Essay Example

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Deep ecology comes down heavily on an anthropocentric approach towards ecology and environment. It denounces the conservation of environment solely for the purposes of facilitating the growth of human comforts and well being (Lovelock 2006). No wonder deep ecology has its basis in many profound and sometimes confusing philosophical approaches. Deep ecology claims to pursue a more holistic approach towards ecological issues, which takes into consideration the relationship and dependence of the humanity on the overall ecosystem, of which it constitutes a part only (Lovelock 2006). Social Ecology It was Murray Bookchin who propounded the philosophy of social ecology in the 60s.

Bookchin tends to envisage ecological problems in the light of the associated social problems. As per Murray Bookchin, most of the contemporary ecological problems have their origins in surrounding social problems and issues (Bookchin 1989). This link between ecological issues and social problems tends to be more pervasive in those political and social systems that are hierarchical in their scope and application (Bookchin 1989). Such hierarchical social and political systems have given way to a placid and senseless understanding as to the survival of the humanity is subservient to the impeding growth initiatives and requirements (Bookchin 1989).

This domination of the growth issues over the environmental needs and requirements simply could not be done away with individual initiatives. Rather any changes on this front could only be brought about by a pervasive ethical thinking and collective action, which has its basis in radical democratic ideals (Bookchin 1989). Murray Bookchin lays down emphasis on the inherent complexity of relationship between the mankind and the surrounding environment.

The social ecology vies for the establishment of such mutualistic social structures that take into consideration the complex relationship between the humanity and the environment (Bookchin 1989). The essential belief of the social ecologists is that the existent ecological problems could never be resolved without an apt dealing with the pressing social problems existing in the contemporary society. Social ecology traces the origins of ecological problems to the hierarchical and domineering relationships existing within the society. As per Murray Bookchin, the very notion of the domination of the nature by man flows out of the idea of domination of the man by man (Bookchin 1989).

The domination over nature is a byproduct of the varied dominations existing within the society.



Board, S. (2002) Ecological Relations. New York: Routledge.

Bookchin, M. (1989) Death of a Small Planet. Accessed 22 June 2012


Devall, B. (1994) ‘The Turnaround Decade’, Trumpeter, Vol. 11, no. 2: 24-26.

Foreman, D. (1991) Putting the Earth First. Accessed 22 June 2012


Keulartz, J. (1998) Struggle for Nature. London: Routledge.

Lovelock, J. (2006) The Earth is about to Catch a Morbid Fever that May Last as Long

as 100,000 Years. Accessed 22 June 2012


Murphy, R. (1994) Rationality and Nature. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Naess, A. (1991) Ecology. Community and Lifestyle. London: Cambridge University Press.

Palmer, C. (1998) Environmental Ethics and Process Thinking. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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