Bill Devall and George Sessions both authored a book called Deep Ecology: Living as If Nature Mattered (1985). Widely known for his writings on deep ecology, Bill Devall dedicated his life to protecting nature (1939-2009). He was inspired by the works of Arne Naess and Gary Snyder. By no means was Bill’s effort to saving nature only devoted to authoring books. As a deep ecologist, he was involved in the practice of conservation and environmental action at both the local and national levels. At the local level, he was a founding member of the North Coast Environmental Center based in Arcata, CA, and was very active in efforts to establish recycling and the protection of the local beaches, forests, and endangered species. Nationally, he was actively involved in the protection of the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest. He was frequently the target of anti-environmentalists in their writings who associated his conservation work and philosophy with Earth First. Bill was also a teacher.
Born in Kansas City, he went to the University of Kansas-Lawrence for his undergraduate degree, followed with graduate degrees at the University of Hawaii and the University of Oregon. He taught briefly at the University of Alberta-Edmonton an
And we not only give ourselves these so called rights, we praise those who do the most - those who get rich by doing it, encouraging others into the same. And unfortunately for mankind, those with the most ability to help with big changes are those in positions of power within our various societies, and most don"tmt seem to care. Many deep ecologists call their perspective alternatively "ecocentrism" or "biocentrism" (to convey, respectively, an ecosystem-centered or life-centered value system). Western Culture has become increasingly obsessed with the idea of dominance like for example with dominance of humans over nonhuman nature, masculine over the feminine or wealthy and powerful over the poor and weak. 5) Interference from humans is excessive. This idea is in contrast to the dominant individualism of our culture, where seeing ourselves as separate from our world makes it easier not to be bothered by what's happening in it. What may seem tiny and insignificant by itself always adds to a larger context, so that every time we act for life, we put our weight behind the shift towards a life-sustaining culture. It"tms okay for vital needs like wood from trees for shelter for example, but not for using it in excess for all different kinds of unnecessary wooden heels. Those who have experienced such a transformation of consciousness (experiencing what is sometimes called one"tms "ecological self" in these movements) view the self not as separate from and superior to all else, but rather as a small part of the entire cosmos. The dominant response is to deny or distract ourselves from any uncomfortable feelings about the state of the world, and to carry on with 'business as usual'. All things have their own intrinsic value independent of awareness, interest, or appreciation of other cognitive beings. But there will inevitably be those who utterly deny that such changes can or should be implemented. They trace this tragic situation to anthropocentrism (human-centeredness), which values nature exclusively in terms of its usefulness to humans. When we integrate our beliefs, ideas and values into our behavior, we bring them alive and give them the power to influence our world. George Sessions is now seventy-four years old and is currently the chairman of the philosophy department at Sierra College in Rocklin, California.