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Environmental Ethics

Volume 2, Issue 1, Spring 1980

Russell Goodman
Pages 73-80

Taoism and Ecology

Although they were in part otherworldly mystics, the Taoists of ancient China were also keen observers of nature; in fact, they were important early Chinese scientists. I apply Taoist principles to some current ecological questions. The principles surveyed include reversion, the constancy of cyclical change, wu wei (“actionless activity”), and the procurement of power by abandoning the attempt to “take” it. On the basis of these principles, I argue that Taoists would have favored such contemporary options as passive solar energy and organic fanning.

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