In a world that seems to be rapidly escalating in environmental crisis, it seems vital to offer some positive deep ecology values and alternative approaches that can be of tangible help – no matter where we live in the world. We may not all be able to act directly on the larger global and macro levels but we can initiate changes in our own lives, no matter how simple. Sometimes, it can be as simple as reconnecting with nature and attuning to the beauty and wonder. By doing so, we have a chance to feel and re-experience who we are at the core – an integral part of the magnificent web of life. Recovering this authentic connection to nature and ourselves, we could then engage with the complex challenges of our world in ways that come naturally to us, individually as persons, or as part of larger communities. However, accessing natural places of pure wilderness, forests, seas, and mountains, may not always be easy or possible. Our vision is to cultivate and reward ancient deep ecology in Nepal Himalaya to promote human resilience to wildness, wildlife and wilderness !
The eight-tier platform of ‘Deep Ecology’
1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs.
4. 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.
5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
7. 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.
8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.
Since their inception, these articles of the first charter of ‘deep ecology’ have become keystones of ‘green’ movements around the world. Their pertinence and value has only increased in time as we enter the era of ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ across the planet. However, a lesser known fact is that for Arne Naess, ancient Himalayan deep ecological manuscripts has been a source of creative inspiration for his eco-philosophy and it is from here that he drew most of his original ideas on conservation and the autonomy of nature.
A key influence for Naess in developing ‘deep ecology’ was a study of the Vedas – especially the ‘Rig Veda’ and ‘Atharva Veda’. As well, he studied the Upanishads in great depth and detail. The main ideas he got from these ancient texts were about the nature of ‘atman’ or ‘self’ and how it pervaded all reality like a web or net – especially the natural world. The soul, or ‘self’ was not an isolated and discrete reality but a unified field of awareness. In fact, it was like a quantum field that radiated out as the natural world and also internally as awareness.