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Deep Ecology


One: Published Policy

Principal Spokesperson: Platform Chair

View Deep Ecology(external link) in the official 2004 platform.

Deep Ecology


Deep Ecology is the name for a way of thinking that views human beings and human economic activity as just one part of the larger life-system of our planet. We depend on nature to support life and we must not allow short-term interests to threaten the delicate balance of nature.

All life on earth shares an amount of land, water, air and sunlight that will never increase. Yet many governments share the deadly misconception that human societies can grow without bound. The Green Party of Canada seeks to promote an understanding of the finite carrying capacities of our planet and to emphasize the impact human activities have on neighboring ecosystems. By drawing and respecting the boundaries of responsible and non-destructive behavior, we can begin to live up to the challenge of Deep Ecology.


Fact:Humans are consuming about 50% of the earth?s total net biological productivity on land and 50% of the available supply of freshwater. Many scientists expect our population to double in the next 50 years.


Bioregional Stewardship


Bioregions are like city-states for non-humans. Within their boundaries, plant and animal species are all dependent on one other. Without acting to preserve the fundamental integrity of the ecosystem, preserving individual species will be difficult if not impossible.

The Green Party will:
  • Create offices for bioregional stewards, under the mandate of Environment Canada.
  • Seek intervener status in legal actions that impact the health of the ecosystem.
  • Advocate for the maintenance of natural corridors.
  • Work with local environmental groups to reduce pollution levels in the air, water and soil.
  • Educate and promote sustainability.
  • Monitor species diversity, pollution levels and ecosystem health.
  • Advise municipal governments on ecological issues.


Applying the Precautionary Principle


When we apply technologies without fully understanding the short and long term consequences, we put our future at risk. When faced with so many unknowns we should take the path of caution.

The precautionary principle is a ?safety first? attitude for our whole ecosystem. Canada signed the Rio Declaration in 1991, which mandates precaution, but has done little to implement this preventative approach to environmental illness, pollution or the loss of biodiversity.

The Green Party will apply the Precautionary Principle to:

  • Regulating genetically engineered products and foods.
  • Developing standards for human reproductive technologies.
  • Approving new drugs for human use.
  • Federal environmental assessment rules.
  • Regulating pesticides and other persistent organic pollutants.
  • Warning consumers about food and drug safety.
  • Emissions regulations protecting our freshwater resources.


Two: Speaking Points

A list of "Sound Bites" that can be used by candidates

Three: A Backgrounder

See Acid Rain for and article submitted by Neil Adair

Version: 10
First Cut Edit

Deep Ecology


Quote:

Humans have already directed 60% of the earth’s biological productivity to our own use. We are effectively starving every species that we have no economic use for.


Deep Ecology
Deep ecology is a name for a paradigm which sees that human beings and human economic activity is just a part of the larger life-system of our planet, that humans are not “entitled’ to dominate life on earth, but should rather be the responsible stewards of this life-system.

Green Party of Canada policies are based on a deep regard for the intrinsic value of all life, both human and non-human. We must promote the understanding that, as humans, there are finite limits that we must live within the overall ecological and energetic carrying capacity of the planet. All life is sustained by a fixed amount of land, water, air and sunlight. Humans have a responsibility to ensure a diversity and richness of ecosystems can exist within these finite limits.

Create Bioregional Stewardships

Bioregions are like city-states for non-humans. Within their boundaries, plant and animal species are all dependent on each other. Without acting to preserving the fundamental integrity of the ecosystem, preserving individual species will be difficult if not impossible. Under the mandate of environment Canada, The Green Party will create offices for bioregional stewards who will:


monitor pollution levels in the air, water and soil.
seek intervenor status in legal actions which would impact the health of the ecosystem.
lobby government on behalf of non-human species.
monitor and document the impact of human activity on the ecosystem.
advocate for the maintenance of natural corridors
Educate and promote sustainability.
Coordinate and liase with local environmental groups.

Apply the Precautionary Principle

When we apply technologies without fully understanding the short and long term consequences, we put our future at risk. When faced with so many unknowns we should take the path of caution.


= comment by Mark Reed, Jan. 28, 04 ==
I generally agree with this plank. However, I have two concerns. First is the plank's name, "Deep Ecology". Second is a serious discrepancy between this plank and many other planks.

1. the name "Deep Ecology"
My view is that we ought not use this term. Deep Ecology, is the name coined by philospoher Arne Naess for a particular way of thinking, in much the same way that the term Buddhism describes a way of thinking. By referring explicitly to Deep Ecology, we risk alienating some ecological/Green thinkers who have problems with it. For example, many ecological feminists (or ecofeminists) critique DE on two counts: 1) DE tends to posit that all life forms are one, as interconnected elements forming a web of life, as if we are 'one gigantic self'. This concept is universalist and holist. It leaves little room for the concepts of difference, relationality, and agency, all of which accommodate conscious, proactive beings in a flourishing ecology. 2) DE may be opposed to anthropocentricism, but it is andropocentric. By advocating 'biocentric egalitarianism', it overlooks or ignores human problems of sexism, racism, classism, etc.

These points can be and are debated. Nevertheless, they are issues that we raise simply by using the term Deep Ecology. We can avoid misunderstandings and the alienation of some (potential) Greens by using another term. I offer only one term in its place: Green Ecology. However, others might have better ideas.

2. Discrepancy
Quoting from the draft plank: "Greens recognize that the health and productivity of the Earth and its naturally evolved ecosystems are essential to human society." , "greatly value and respect non-human forms of life as entities with their own intrinsic values and rights to flourish." , and "recognize that other plant and animal species have the same claim to a flourishing life as do humans." This is fine. However, we can't then, without some explanation, talk about natural resources, forestry, fishing, live stock, etc. as we do in so many other planks. The move from the concept of property to stewardship is a big step in the right direction. But it is only one step. In my view, we have to explain how the satisfying of human needs (desires, actually) has priority over the flourishing of even a single animal. We need a stated rationale. (I don't have one and could never provide one that I believe in.) Maybe we don't need to address this right now, but it is, I believe, a serious gap in our platform that our political and ideological opponents can use to pry apart our planks.

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