An ecocentric worldview is needed. Personally, I think that little is to be gained in putting down today’s dominant anthropocentric paradigm, other than to say it has utterly failed life, and therefore must be abandoned. Energy should be directed towards outlining a new, life-affirming, paradigm. I’ve long been of the opinion that what’s needed is a set of parameters which would enable an ecocentric, life-supporting society to function. Wherever within the parameters society would settle, and where its changes over time will be, are best to be left indeterminate.
It is crucially important to realize that the preservation of the community of life has the highest priority. If the means of existence are preserved, life has millions of years ahead of it. If they are not preserved, the future term of life, as we know it, will be very short (Doug Woodard, personal communication).
It seems to me that a good set of the most basic principles would lead in the right direction and provide the basic foundation for a new community, and also they would lead away from the problems created by today’s great ‘isms’.
Making my decisions – do least harm
Since enabling an ecocentric, life-supporting society is so important, it seems obvious to me that my first principle should be to try to consider the effect of my every decision on all other life forms at both the individual and species levels. If harmful, reconsider, and, if possible, don’t do it. This first principle of mine is considerably modified by the third point of the Deep Ecology platform which states: “Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.” No one need starve to do no harm. However, least harm is a valid, and urgent, objective. As an example, one could eat organic, to remove killing pesticides from the Earth, and/or become vegetarian to reduce the amount of farmland needed to support oneself, not to mention to reduce suffering.
All living creatures are worthy of reverence and respect; this fact makes the protection-of-life requirement, while sometimes difficult to implement, much less than onerous. All are easy to love, and, equally, beings in their own lives.
A further set of ideas to live by includes using:
- the precautionary approach – if there’s doubt or uncertainty about the results of an action, don’t take it or at least be very careful about taking it;
- the weight of evidence principle – if a mass of evidence points to harm, one should not wait for ‘complete’ evidence before taking action;
- the principle of reverse onus – proof of safety is required before an action can be taken, rather than having to prove harm after the action has happened.
Implementing the ideas of frugality and simplicity would ensure more life space for others and removing all toxins and killers would allow them to thrive.
It’s important to get started NOW, today; even if one feels a great deal less than perfect at it (and I do), start, and progress. Remember, it’s a constantly receding horizon we’re headed for, not a fixed point or boundary. It becomes surprisingly easy, a sad statement really, to find ways that cost one nothing, or almost nothing, but that reduce harm to others. Start implementing them, and more will follow easily for quite a while.
Please write me with your comments and/or success stories (care of the Ecocentric Alliance).