Vol 30 No 2 (2014): Whatever Happened to Deep Ecology?

Why Deep Ecology Had to Die

Ronnie Hawkins
University of Central Florida--retired
  • Green politics,
  • extinction,
  • population,
  • holism,
  • ecofeminism,
  • complexity,
  • perception,
  • hemispheric asymmetry,
  • social dynamics,
  • poststructuralism,
  • ecophenomenology,
  • whistleblowing,
  • scapegoating,
  • Naess,
  • Bookchin,
  • Plumwood,
  • Callicott,
  • Vogel,
  • Wood,
  • ...More


In this essay I trace my history of entanglement with deep ecology from its first emergence on the scene, through some vicious attacks and the loss of its early promise as a movement, to more mature criticisms and finally to its recent, ignominious purge from polite ecophilosophical discourse. I will explain the "deep reasons" why I think deep ecology had to "die" at a certain point in the history of environmental philosophy, indicate some avenues the discipline might want to take in the years ahead, and suggest that deep ecology be accorded a place of honor as an approach to living nature that can continue providing us with valuable insights.