A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
I am a Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design) Student at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. I became interested in deep ecology this year, while doing research for my year project (I am looking at the relationship between humans and nature) and have since been reading about deep ecology as much as possible. I now consider myself as a supporter of deep ecology but I am currently struggling to translate this support into a practical form.
I am trying to convey my interest in deep ecology (and possibly 'uncivilization') in a practical and visual form which will inspire other students to become exited about deep ecology as well.
Since I am studying Graphic Design my question is if this is possible through design? How can I inspire other students to want to take interest in deep ecology, and would this at all be useful? Do you think there is a place for designers (like me) to become a part of the practical activist part of deep ecology?
I am well aware of the deep/shallow distinction, and also realize that many 'design solutions' fall under shallow ecology, thus I am trying to avoid shallow 'solutions'. This is why I am trying to find a way to make sure I use deep ecology in my work, or 'promote' deep ecology through my work.
If you have any thoughts on how I can incorporate deep ecology into my practical work, or what the role of a designer in this context could be, please let me know.
I would love to hear any comments or advice.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree.
I am happy with my 'temporary' conclusions since they do serve my conceptions and perceptions. In this respect I do not feel included in your 'we'. For me, natural evolution and where this process has taken humans thus far is completely natural and a part of Nature since it is a part of the organic and inorganic world within the boundaries of Earth. I concur that I do not fully understand the full extent of the ecological relations between all life-forms on Earth but I do not feel the same way as you do in respect to the impact of human development/evolution. Of course there are both positive and negative impacts and within the constraints of available resources and the struggle to survive and the duty to protect our 'sustaining' environment, humans have, do and will adapt accordingly.
What is important to me is to do what I feel is right and thus lead by example. Consequently I live a low impact, low consumerist lifestyle, I grow my own food and aspire towards a high degree of 'sustainability' with others. As far as I perceive, humans generally are conscious of their relationship with Nature and so like other life-forms are constantly modifying their relative position within the life/death relationship in order to maintain a balance that serves both humans and other life-forms. Obviously sacrifices are made and indeed must be made. In this regard you may well differ in your position in relation to me and countless others.
What life-forms do you feel should sacrifice in order to meet your objectives?
Wolfbird what are your objectives to achieve the ideal that you are constantly alluding to in your critique or are you simply arguing for the sake of arguing. If you dont like battery chickens then dont eat their eggs is all I am saying. Follow your conscience but don't make the mistake of considering everyone wrong because they do not follow your will. Survival strategies and the evolutionary process is much broader and diverse than the will of a single person. You have to accept the choices of others otherwise you will be in a constant state of struggle. Industrialised lifestyles might not be for you so don't live that lifestyle. For others it might be their path. Who are you to criticise. Life-forms are individuated whether you like it or not. They have their own free will and their own conceptions of Nature. I have given you mine. If you don't agree with it fair enough. As I say sacrifices have to be made always within the life/death relationship between all life-forms. Not all people wish to live off the land and keep their own chickens but they still desire the nutrients contained within chicken eggs. What do you propose as an alternative to batteries? I believe we humans do the best we can to survive with the resources available to us and to varying degrees do feel a respect and duty to protect and preserve the environment that sustains us. You obviously disagree but you are yet to provide an alternative and so provide an adequate explanation why you disagree without resorting to rhetoric. To say Nature is a social construct when Nature is us and all around us is quite franky bizzare to say the least. Perhaps you are over analysing and consequently failing to see the wood for the trees. Everyone has some similar idea of what is meant when we say Nature. Some conceptions of Nature are broader than others - obviously mine is very broad since I believe that everything that exists on and around Earth is the Nature relative to the Earth. Also I believe in muti-culturalism and the different lifestyles that supports these different expressions of living. I believe in this because I have faith in ecological diversity to provide the best chances of survival for all life-forms but as I have said, sacrifices do have to be made. How can I question the evolution of Nature here on Earth. All I can do is accept it for what it is. As I understand it, you wish to model the human species as a mono-culture that conforms strictly to your code of ethics and your sense of right and wrong. This is your choice and I do not oppose you in your endeavour. Go ahead and be what you wish others to be.
The question of what is the nature of Nature is that an underlying intelligent process is directing and creating an environment in which life-forms can subsist. In my mind, we are all that intelligent process! How can it be otherwise unless a life-form beyond the boundaries of Earth is directing and creating an environment in which we can subsist. Enter the Sun and its Nature which also is an intelligent process. Now we have two intelligent processes interating with one another, perhaps even communicating with one another. Where does this process of interacting begin and end when all the intelligent processes of the Cosmos are included. Now we enter the field of metaphysics and the Nature of Reality both of which must include intelligent processes. As of yet we do not know where these intelligent processes originate and perhaps never will but that does not stop them existing! In the same way, we might not know the nature of Nature on Earth but here it is in full view working according to its own objectives nevertheless. Simply put, we are EXPERIENCE, but we really don't know why :-) but we are still able to do experience nevertheless :-)
Sorry wolfbird but I do think you are living in a hysterical fantasy of your own making. I am not claiming anything is perfect but I certainly don't see the world as you see it. Gaia is easily coping with human civilisations but it appears you are not!
We as Nature produces ourselves. Nature creates Nature.
I am yet to see your intelligence in the form of mature responses to the questions that I have asked you. So far you have failed to outline your definition of Nature, failed to outline your objectives towards achieving what you conceive as an ideal world for future generations and are yet to produce an alternative set of human survival strategies to those currently in use.
My biggest concern about you and people like you is your inability to share OUR WORLD with others who hold different opinions and different perceptions to yourself. If you want clean water then go and live by clean water. There is plenty of it about. If you want an un-polluted environment then go and live there. There are plenty of places in this world where you will find that.
I know we do not know each other whatsoever (we doesnt seem to stop you from making judgements about me or more to the point judgements about your fantasy notion of me) but I bet you contribute in some way to the situation that you seem to be incessantly moaning about. Do you have a car, do you use electricity, do you live in a house made from bricks and mortar, do you buy foodstuff that comes in plastic packaging, do you travel by plane, bus or train, do you use a computer (of course you do), do you use human-made technology to cook, eat, sleep, wash and stay warm. If you do then you are simply a hypocrite and all the negative WORDS you write is really a conversation with yourself. You are the designer of your own uncivilisation. Enjoy :-)
This conversation began with an enquiry into the ways in which a philosophy of deep ecology can be practically applied.
Your response, Steve, seems to be a complete rejection of that philosophy and it's promotion of a biocentric approach. Instead you promote the same old lazy anthropocentrism that justifies itself with remarks like "We as nature produces itself." Following up with the breathtaking assertion that "Gaia is easily coping with human civilisations" - phew, there was I worrying that poor old Gaia was suffering an unprecedented human-caused mass species extinction and that its atmosphere was fast heading towards what the climate scientist James Hanson calls the Venus Syndrome - but no, all is well in your world.
To be honest Steve, I think wolfbird has gone pretty easy on you.
I beg to differ Bert. My arguments attempt to build deep ecology into social science. For example, respecting differing opinions is a mirror to bio-diversity which as you know is an ecological process or a process of Nature that equips species and bio-systems with a plurality of survival options but also ensures high levels of inter-dependancy to cultivate rich envirnoments. People may hate this, but radical liberalism possibly offers the closest match to these sorts of ecological concepts.
I understand the frustration of trying to create paradigm shifts, I have and am on that one myself to some degree but my temporary conclusion is, as I have already stated, I must live my life by my own conscience and will and do my best to let others live theirs. For me this maintains a high degree of plurality and so greater chances of survival. This organisation is trying to do the same thing from a more spiritual pont of view http://www.enlightennext.org.uk/blog/about/ and there are plenty of New Age treastises trying to articulate the same thing.
Personally in large parts I think it is all abit of con and rests on the idea that we need saving. Somehow the 'new' human has to manage evolution by activating a cultural shift of some sort. Generally, for a human to try to do this generally requires leaders and followers, just like this organisation. Leaders to say that we need to change and evolve but in truth all they are doing is re-stating the obvious that we are always evolving anyway and followers who have high levels of frustration in their lives and require transformation. This transformation game has been played in different ways throughout human history.
Well for me any cultural shift will only come about by reconfiguring ourselves towards our deepest convictions which may mean having to undergo alot personal transformation, whether it be radically changing our own personal lifestyle to align with our own deepest ethics or to change our location in order to be an environment we wish to dwell in. However, expecting others to do our transformation for us does not really count in my opinion.
So Bert, rather than not being apt at polemics (although maybe I am), for me polemics is a rather monologic way of seeing ourselves within the context of Nature. Personally I prefer dialogoue or even better plurologic.
Wolfbird, be the change you want to see. Novel concepts and original ideas are hard to come by but they are out there. Imagining the impossible does not come easy and requires alot of hard work and dedication. Don't think that it is going to be offered to you on a silver platter. Perhaps you need to study Ecology or something similar at a higher degree level in order to lay the foundation of knowledge that is required to come up with the something new that you so crave.
Waiting for evolution to happen is not really how it works in my experience. Evolution happens by being and becoming so don't think camping in a field for a week, which in itself is an un-sustainable activity, is going to get you any closer to the truth you seek.