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Shallow and deep ecologism

  • Published
    12th May, 2022

Heat waves are known to have been a reality for hundreds of years. But the long­term effects of climate change have exacerbated them, making the waves more extreme, frequent and prolonged. As India continues to grapple with the unrelenting waves, it becomes pertinent to unpack two strands of environmental philosophy that reinvent the relationship between nature and humans — shallow and deep ecologism.

Two styles of ecologism

  • Evolution of concept- The concepts emerged in the 1970s, when Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss sought to look beyond the popular pollution and conservation movements of his milieu to address environmental degradation
  • Shallow ecologism- He terms the powerful and fashionable fight against pollution and resource depletion as shallow ecologism or environmentalism. Exponents of this philosophy believe in continuing our present lifestyle, but with specific tweaks aimed at minimising the damage to the environment.
  • Deep Ecologism- Deep ecologism believes that humans should radically change their relationship with nature. Its proponents reject shallow ecologism for prioritising humans above other forms of life, and subsequently preserving the environmentally destructive way of life in modern societies.
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