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In Concert: Related Movements

In Concert: Related Movements

Other movements of thought emerging in our time, namely ecofeminism, ecojustice, and ecopsychology, share premises with deep ecology. Although they are sometimes set at odds with deep ecology, they share its recognition of the interdependence of all life forms, and much of its critique of the Industrial Growth Society. Many activists and thinkers identify with more than one of these overlapping movements, each of which brings distinctive concerns and perspectives.


Obvious parallels exist between the ways that entrenched power structures treat nature and the ways they treat women. Ecofeminism emerged in the 1970s, as scholars, writers, and organizers illumined these parallels and explored their common cultural roots. Many incisive voices argue that the war against nature waged by the Industrial Growth Society arises from more ancient patterns of domination. They question deep ecologists' focus on anthropocentrism as the source of our pathology, and challenge them to discern the androcentricism (patriarchy) which under-lies it. Their insights help us recognize the mindset bred by centuries of male rule—the dualism and objectification, the divorce of mind from body, of logic from experience; and they offer more holistic ways of knowing. Defender of the redwoods, the late Judy Ban was an ecofemi-fist who personified the deepest values of the movement. Despite assaults that shortened her life, she persisted in her commitment to non-violence, her compassionate concern for the loggers' future, and her penetrating analysis of the corporate forces destroying their livelihood and the land itself.


As ecofeminism brings the issue of gender to our understanding of the environmental crisis, the ecojustice movement brings issues of race, class, and poverty. The old divide between activists in defense of social and economic rights and those in defense of nature no longer holds. It is increasingly evident that their goals are inseparably linked and mutually reinforcing. The wreckage and contamination caused by the Industrial Growth Society degrade humans and habitats alike: polluting industries are located and toxic wastes are dumped where poor people and people of color live. The farm workers sprayed by pesticides, the miners poi-soned by uranium, the forest dwellers whose homes are clearcut... all are largely people of color. Their race and poverty make them easier for a prejudiced society to overlook. The ecojustice movement has effectively challenged environmentalists to broaden their awareness to the suffering of humans as well as trees and dolphins. Through its outreach to larger sections of society, it holds promise for a vastly wider participation in the work of the Great Turning.


Western psychology has virtually ignored our relationship to the natural world. Our connection to the source of life does not figure in its definition of mental health, nor is our destruction of our life-support system included in its list of pathologies. It has failed to ask Paul Shepard's rather obvious and haunting question: "Why does society persist in destroying its habitat?" Now the new discipline of ecopsychology addresses this failure and studies the human psyche within the larger systems of which it is a part. It explores how our cultural alienation from nature engenders not only careless and destructive behavior toward our environment, but also many common disorders such as depression and addiction. Psycho-therapists within the movement recognize how their profession has blinded itself to the larger context of their clients' lives and pathologized their pain for the world. These pioneers break new ground as they help clients find strength and meaning through experiencing their interconnect-edness with all life, and acting on its behalf.