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Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 3, Fall 1990

David M. Johns
Pages 233-252

The Relevance of Deep Ecology to the Third World
Some Preliminary Comments

Although Ramachandra Guha has demonstrated the importance of cross-cultural dialogue on environmental issues and has much to tell us about the problems of wildemess preservation in the Third World, I argue that Guha is partly wrong in claiming that deep ecology equates environmental protection with wilderness protection and simply wrong in calling wilderness protection untenable or incorrect as a global strategy for environmental protection. Moreover, I argue that the deep ecology distinction between anthropocentrism and biocentrism is useful in dealing with the two major problems which Guha identifies as undermining the health of the planetoverconsumption and militarism. Although it is true that preservation of wildemess will not be successful unless human social dynamics are taken into consideration, nevertheless, a biocentrism which integrates critical social theory can provide the basis for an ethic that undercuts the environmental degradation from overconsumption and militarism more effectively than a human-centered system.

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