13 Dec
2016

Shallow is not necessarily bad

I recently used the short phrase “shallow new greens” in a comment on a forum and was pulled up for being pompous. That’s the trouble with throwaway comments; they often don’t convey the intended meaning.

I can see how someone could take it that way so perhaps some expansion is in order. ‘Shallow’ refers to Arne Naess’s late 70’s distinction between shallow and deep ecology. It is not necessarily a value judgement – shallow seas are sometimes warmer and more benign to life than the deep ocean, a shallow wound can be less damaging than a deep one. ‘New greens’ would have been better written as neo-green as I was meaning not new members of the GPEW, some of whom certainly take a deep ecology perspective, but rather the general position of the latest incarnation of the political wing of the broad green movement in the UK.

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21 Nov
2016

Developers vs Conservationists

Came across this in an essay by Arne Naess called “The World of Concrete Contents”. It is a pretty abstruse philosophical essay but this passage stood out:

“Confrontations between developers and conservationists reveal differences in estimating what is real. What a conservationist sees and experiences as reality the developer does not see – and vice versa. A conservationist sees and experiences a forest as a unity, a gestalt, and when speaking of the heart of the forest, he or she is not referring to the geometrical centre. A developer sees square kilometres of trees and argues that a road through the forest covers very few square kilometres, so why make such a fuss? And if the conservationists insist, the developer will assert that does not touch the centre of the forest. The heart is saved, he or she thinks. The difference between the antagonists is one of ontology rather than one of ethics.

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