Deep Ecology's Basic Principles

Arne Naess and George Sessions, April 1984
Death Valley, California

  • 1. The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have a value in themselves. These values are independant of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes.

  • 2. The richness an diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also vaues in themselves.

  • 3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital 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 adhereing to an increasing higher standard of living. There will be a profound difference between big and great.

  • 8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have and obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.

Think Like A Mountain