Deep Ecology is a philosophy, but it is also a more ethical, conscious, and sacred way of living in this world. This term was coined in the 1970s by Arne Naess, professor emeritus at the University of Oslo, Norway. He based it on 8 principles that, if well observed, can guide us on more sustainable paths in our relationship with all other forms of life. If we practice and understand these principles, we can create a more sustainable and egalitarian reality. What are these principles?

  1. Inherent value:

The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman Life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes. What can change in our attitudes and in our levels of consciousness if we start to apply this ethical principle in our relationship with all beings?

  1. Diversity:

Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves. For Deep Ecology, every form of life has a reason to exist and deserves respect. Phrases like “can kill, it’s exotic” are considered disrespectful.

  1. Vital Needs:

Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

To understand what “vital needs” are, it is necessary to rethink consumption. Do we really need all this that we have? Whoever has the most takes whoever has the least and this creates a systemic imbalance on the planet.

  1. Population:

The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease. For Deep Ecology, it is necessary that we start to control the growth of the world population because, in the way we consume, if the population continues to grow and our habits do not change, we will have problems.

  1. Human Interference:

The present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening. This topic calls us to self-responsibility. Yes, we must admit that we have not behaved very well.

  1. Policy Change:

Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting situation will be deeply different from the present. It is necessary to make changes that can be applied at the public level, in the law, that are in accordance with a more sustainable and egalitarian society.

  1. Quality of Life:

The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great. Quality of life is obtained through simple life. Here, Arne again invites us to simplicity and to review our consumption options.

  1. Obligation of Action:

Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes. If you agree with any of these points, then…get to work!