“environmental philosophy and social movement based in the belief that humans must radically change their relationship to nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness to human beings to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value. Sometimes called an “ecosophy,” deep ecology offers a definition of the self that differs from traditional notions and is a social movement that sometimes has religious and mystical undertones. The phrase originated in 1972 with Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, who, along with American environmentalist George Sessions, developed a platform of eight organising principles for the deep ecology social movement. Deep ecology distinguishes itself from other types of environmentalism by making broader and more basic philosophical claims about metaphysics, epistemology, and social justice.”
Deep ecology, challenges a basic belief embedded in many prevailing Western, post Cartesian philosophies, that human beings are the central or the most significant entities in the world. Anthropocentrism, sees humans as separate from and superior to nature, having an intrinsic value, while other entities from the natural world are seen as resources to be exploited. For example, post modern philosophy places humanity as one dominant pole in relation to everything else. Similarly, correlationism subscribes to the view that reality subsists in a human/thing relationship.
In general terms as someone that spends a great deal of time in nature and feels a deep connection with it, I find it difficult to disagree with the principles of deep ecology. On the other hand, I would resist any affinity to a movement that might be considered religious, feminist or taking a political environmental stance. I do not wish to detract from the intent in my photographic practice to reveal the essence of Skye, through deep observation and understanding.
Having said that, I can see some similarities in thinking between the basic philosophical principles of deep ecology and flat ontologies such as speculative realism. In particular, there is an implicit acceptance in flat ontologies of the equal value of objects whether they are human or other. For example, Graham Harman argues that reality subsists within ‘things’ and ‘things’ can be anything (large or small). Those things or objects cannot touch each other, as they would lose their independence as objects, were they to do so. Bruno Latour on the other hand, sees relationships between objects as where reality resides. For me, this flat ontological approach implies equality in the intrinsic value of things, which include natural forms.
Madsen, Peter. Deep Ecology, Environmental Philosophy. Encyclopaedia Britannica. [Accessed 7 March 2020].