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Left Biocentrism Primer

Knowledgebase > Left Biocentrism Primer

Left Biocentrism Primer


March 15, 1998

The following Primer is a result of a protracted collective discussion among a number of those who support left biocentrism and deep ecology.

– Left biocentrism is a left focus or theoretical tendency within the deep ecology movement, which is subversive of the existing industrial society. It accepts and promotes the eight-point Deep Ecology Platform drawn up by Arne Naess and George Sessions. Left biocentrism holds up as an ideal, identification, solidarity, and compassion with all life. “Left” as used in left biocentrism, means anti- industrial and anti-capitalist, but not necessarily socialist. The expressions ‘left biocentrism’ or ‘left ecocentrism’ are used interchangeably.

– Left biocentrism accepts the view that the Earth belongs to no one. While raising a number of criticisms, left biocentrism is meant to strengthen, not undermine, the deep ecology movement which identifies with all life.

– Left biocentrism says that individuals must take responsibility for their actions and be socially accountable. Part of being individually responsible is to practice voluntary simplicity, so as to minimize one’s own impact upon the Earth.

– Left biocentrists are concerned with social justice and class issues, but within a context of ecology. To move to a deep ecology world, the human species must be mobilized, and a concern for social justice is a necessary part of this mobilization. Left biocentrism is for the redistribution of wealth, nationally and internationally.

– Left biocentrism opposes economic growth and consumerism. Human societies must live within ecological limits so that all other species may continue to flourish. We believe that bioregionalism, not globalism, is necessary for sustainability. The perspective of the late German Green philosopher Rudolf Bahro is accepted that, for world-wide sustainability, industrialized countries need to reduce their impact upon the Earth to about one tenth of what it is at the present time. It is also incumbent upon non- industrialized nations to become sustainable and it is necessary for industrialized nations to help on this path.

– Left biocentrism holds that individual and collective spiritual transformation is important to bring about major social change, and to break with industrial society. We need inward transformation, so that the interests of all species override the short-term self-interest of the individual, the family, the community, and the nation.

– Left biocentrism believes that deep ecology must be applied to actual environmental issues and struggles, no matter how socially sensitive, e.g. population reduction, aboriginal issues, workers’ struggles, etc.

– Social ecology, eco-feminism and eco-marxism, while raising important questions, are all human-centered and consider human-to-human relations within society to be more important and, in the final analysis, determine society’s relationship to the natural world. Left biocentrism believes that an egalitarian, non-sexist, non-discriminating society, a highly desirable goal, can still be exploitive towards the Earth.

– Left biocentrists are “movement greens” in basic orientation. They are critical of existing Green political parties, which have come to an accommodation with industrial society and have no accountability to the deep ecology movement.

– To be politically relevant, deep ecology needs to incorporate the perspective advanced by left biocentrism.

David Orton
Coordinator, Green Web
R.R. #3 Saltsprings, Nova Scotia, Canada B0K 1P0
[email protected]

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