Saturday, April 29, 2006

Eden Project

Eden Project, summer 2002

"I've been to Vietnam today, then the West and South Africa, then the Caribbean, California, etc, etc

Isnt it amazing you can travel that much within one day Image
I went for a one day trip to the Eden Project. For you who dont know, Eden Project is a massive environmetal centre in the South-West of England. Its huge, its amazing, and its for educational and charity purposes.

Đây dường như là niềm tự hào của nước Anh cả về mặt kiến trúc lẫn kỹ thuật. Những toà nhà kính được dựng giống như bong bóng xà phòng khổng lồ (mà thực chất là biểu tượng cho tổ ong), bên trong được chia làm 2 khu vực chính: khu vực rừng nhiệt đới và khu khí hậu ôn hoà. Rừng nhiệt đới thì dĩ nhiên là có Đông Nam Á nhà mình này, và vài địa điểm ở châu Phi. Tớ chưa nghiên cứu thêm, nhưng cách nào đó mà người ta làm cho nhiệt độ và độ ẩm giống hệt như những nơi ấy trên thế giới, cây cối được mọc tự nhiên, có cả thác nước rồi nhà cửa xe đạp xe máy các kiểu. Hic, vào đó và đi vài bước đương nhiên là sweaty đầy người; quan trọng hơn, cảm giác y hệt như đi chơi ở VN vào những ngày hè nóng nực. Khu khí hậu ôn hoà thì như kiểu vùng Địa Trung Hải, Đông Phi, Tây Bắc Úc. Hoa rực rỡ và khí hậu rất dễ chịu. Thôi tớ chả kể nữa, bạn nào muốn biết thêm thì gõ eden project vào google là ra hàng đống ngay"

From Katie.

Eden Project

Keith's Eden Project Website

How the Eden Project Works

Eden Foundation

Friday, April 21, 2006

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? In honor of Earth Day 2006, the Worldwatch Institute teams up with the Washington, D.C. members of SustainUS, the U.S. youth network for sustainable development, to share some ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work.

This Earth Day, it’s time to take action.

And we really mean it. Study after study has confirmed that global warming is already occurring and that it is caused primarily by human activities. The only uncertainties are how soon and in what ways it will disrupt our existence. Stronger storms? Flooded coastlines? Harsher droughts? More disease? Not to mention that our waterways, food, and air are already polluted to unsound levels in many areas, affecting our health and quality of life every day.

But there is still time to act, and our great-great-grandchildren will thank us for living more sustainably, starting now. Fortunately, many of the steps we can take can actually make our lives better as well.

Below we offer a list of 10 things you can do today that will not only reduce your ecological footprint, but also save you money and help you live a happier, healthier life. (We call this a positive feedback loop.) Start with these, and after reading our Peak Oil forum, you can work on the rest.

  1. Re-route your commute.
    • Walk or bike to work and save money on gas and parking while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
    • If you live far from your office, investigate the option of telecommuting. Or move closer—even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
    • If your streets are not conducive to biking or walking, lobby your municipal government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in decreased traffic and pollution.

  2. Buy used.
    • Whether you’ve just moved to a new area or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items, rather than buying them new. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for clothing and other everyday items.
    • Use your creativity in gift giving, including making homemade gifts, donating to a good cause, or even regifting. (And gift green, in general.)
    • Your purchasing habits have a real impact, for better or worse. When making new purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff” and what isn’t.

  3. Buy local.
    • Shop at your local farmers’ market. Though the offerings can be more expensive, you can generally count on a higher quality product—and the entire purchase price goes directly to the farmer. Buying any goods produced locally saves energy by reducing the fossil fuels needed to transport food and other items across the country and around the globe.
    • Start a local currency program in your town. This can ensure that money stays in your local economy, valuing local services and supporting local merchants.

  4. Compost your food scraps.
    • Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, which can save you money if you live in a municipality with a “pay as you throw” system. In the process, you create free, healthy fertilizer for your garden (or your neighbor’s—or lobby for a community garden!)
    • If you don’t have a yard or space for a compost pile, try indoor ‘vermiculture,’ or worm composting.

  5. Change the thermostat setting and install energy saving devices.
    • Setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer can translate to substantial savings on your utility bills.
    • Install low-flow showerheads and take shorter showers to save water and the energy used to heat it. Or, consider eventually installing a solar hot water heater on your property.
    • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible and use a drying rack or clothesline.
    • When incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with longer-lasting, low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs.
    • With the money you save from making these changes, consider buying wind energy from your local utility or purchasing renewable energy offsets. Renewables offer our best hope for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a host of other pollutants. In some cases, “green energy” options can be cheaper than electricity from conventional sources!

  6. Skip the bottled water at the grocery or convenience store.
    • Filter your tap water for drinking rather than using bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of container waste.
    • Check out this recent update and life cycle analysis for the latest on bottled water trends.

  7. Make your own cleaning supplies.
    • Using simple ingredients such as baking soda, soap, and vinegar, you can make cheap, easy, and non-toxic cleaning products that really work! Save money, time, and your indoor air quality.

  8. Think twice about new electronics.
    • E-waste from discarded cell phones and computers is a growing environmental problem. Mounds of electronic refuse are being shipped abroad illegally for ‘disassembly’ by workers with little protection against the mercury and other toxic substances they contain.
    • Keep your electronics as long as possible and dispose of them responsibly when the time comes.
    • Buy higher-quality items and don’t give in to ‘psychological obsolescence’ marketing campaigns.
    • Recycle your cell phone and support good causes at the same time!
    • Ask your local government to set up a responsible recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

  9. Add one meatless meal per week.
    • While strict vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, even the most devout carnivores can cut back on meat consumption without cramping their style—and save money in the process. Industrial meat production requires huge energy inputs and creates noxious waste problems. The proliferation of factory farms is damaging the environment, and the global nature of the industry creates conditions that promote the spread of diseases such as avian flu, potentially costing society billions.

  10. Use your local library and other public amenities.
    • Borrowing from libraries, instead of buying personal books and movies, saves money and printing resources. Consider donating the money saved to your local library.
    • Be an active civic participant and ensure that the public spaces and facilities in your town are well maintained. This will promote a healthy, sustainable community.

A Positive Agenda for Earth Day


by William C. Dennis

Each year on Earth Day, various environmental organizations come forth with new tales of how humans are wrecking our planet and arguing that we should be ashamed of the decline in environmental quality we see around us. Friends of Liberty have been rightly suspicious of these laments because, on many margins, the quality of human material existence over much of the world is clearly improving. However, there is no reason why we should not develop our own program for improvements in high quality environmental amenities. We can be conservationists without buying into a lot of the collectivist baggage that comes along with some contemporary environmentalist concerns. Here are five ideas for an environmental agenda, suitable for children and adults alike, worthy of support from people of many different political persuasions.

  • Backyard conservation. One of the great underutilized environmental resources in America is the suburban backyard. Since we are a nation of property owners, our environmental interests should first be directed to our own private lands. Instead of vast expanses of a monoculture of closely cropped lawn grass, these spaces can be turned into mini-wildernesses with plantings of native trees and flowers, ponds, un-mowed edges, and bird and bat nesting boxes. You can be sure that lots of animals will move in and establish residence, from swallowtail butterflies to red backed salamanders, from black rat snakes to red bellied woodpeckers. Even large mammals will come if you wish. For example, I see foxes regularly along the urban byways of my home in Virginia. Different places will have a different cast of wild players. With a little effort and a few dollars, in the midst of both city and suburbia, it is possible to surround ourselves with a complex natural ecology. Local gardening, hardware, and wild bird stores, as well as a wealth of online merchants, stand ready to help you plan your mini-wilderness or your formal garden, and to sell you tools, devices, seeds, plantings, and much more to get the job done. Creative capitalist enterprise can supply the means for whatever enhancement of environmental quality your imagination desires.

  • Get to know the neighborhood. Just as we try to get to know the history of our nation, gain some appreciation for the art, music, and religions of the great civilizations of the world, acquire some knowledge of math, science, and literature, and involve ourselves with institutions of the free civil society, so too should we get to know something of the natural world in which our humanly created culture is embedded. Without some knowledge of the parts of the natural world, one really can�t come fully to appreciate the world in which we live. The geology, topography, soil types, and weather patterns of our neighborhoods influence which plants and animals make a home in our midst. Many interesting plants and animals that are already present in our lives are missed by busy suburbanites on their hasty travels. As a result, they think nature is in worse shape than it is in reality. If you don't know what is what, and where to look, you will miss most of the natural world around you. I also use the wildlife in our midst to teach my children an important lesson about life: only kill aggressors or potential aggressors, and even then act prudently. So, launch preemptive strikes against mosquitoes and deer flies; learn to enjoy the crane flies, lacewings, and June bugs; try to avoid white-faced hornets altogether.

  • Spend some quiet time with the land. Get off the power mower; turn off the radio; leave the Walkman behind. Begin to listen to the spring bird calls. Pretty soon you will be able to hear different birds as clearly as the trained ear can pick out the cello notes from those of the violin in a symphony concert. Pull a chair out into the grass and see how many different creatures from bugs to bats you can see in half an hour of observation. Go for a dawn walk on a spring morning, breathe in the scents of nature, and be prepared for the unsuspected surprises you will see as the earth awakes again for another day.

  • Litter. There is no excuse for littering. That is just using someone else�s property as one�s own trash heap. Teach children not to litter as a matter of learning the importance of protecting property rights and as a lesson in aesthetic enhancement. Since not everyone will heed this admonition, the environmentally conscious will want to pick up other people�s litter when they come across it. Generally, we do a pretty good job at keeping our own spaces neat and tidy. Common grounds are another matter. Perhaps you will even want to help kids join with others to clean up a section of a stream, or park, or some other public place. I pick up sidewalk trash while out walking my golden retriever. Lots of the world�s problems stem from people improperly invading other people�s space or from abusing a common pool resource. A good anti-litter message can teach children a lot about how to live peaceably with their neighbors, engaging in free and voluntary exchange, giving each his due, staying out of other persons spaces, and respecting the rights of all.

  • Materials recycling. The economics and the energy budgeting of recycling is extremely complex, changing daily with world prices for energy and commodities, but clearly if someone is simply interested in conserving raw materials, much of government-managed recycling is wasteful, involving the consumption of more energy, time, and other resources than can be justified by the end products that come out of the process. The heavy, energy inefficient, and noisy trucks with expensive crews that pick up newspapers, glass, and plastics in my neighborhood must cost more, measured by both monetary and environmental standards, than they produce in environmental gains. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with recycling if it gives one aesthetic and moral pleasure, anymore than there is anything wrong with going to the opera or climbing a mountain, two other activities that many people find puzzling. Better to recycle on your own nickel, however, (as you probably would with the opera or the climbing trip) rather than using coerced tax dollars. Best of all, recycle things that you can use yourself instead of sending them to government collection centers. For instance, in my neighborhood where builders are replacing lots of older houses with new luxury homes. I have been salvaging stones, bricks, interior trim, and garden flowers to use at my own house. With a little thought, people probably could turn up lots of such opportunities.

We can make every day an earth day while promoting the expansion of liberty as well.

William C. Dennis lives in Virginia and is working on a book on the environment of liberty.

The Wilderness Idea: A Critical Review

by Kofi Akamani

Environmentalism has come a long way since its inception in the era of the industrial revolution. Major milestones such as the transformation of the environmental movement in the 1960s, and the adoption of the sustainable development agenda in the late 1980s, have intensified debates among competing perspectives on alternative ways of addressing environmental problems at the local and global level. One issue around which environmental debates have been particularly heated and confused is the �Wilderness Idea.� Perhaps owing to a lack of appreciation of the origins of the Wilderness Idea as well as its relationship with the Deep Ecology Movement, critics have often been quick to blame the problems of wilderness preservation projects in developing countries on the deep ecology movement. This article seeks to examine the wilderness idea from an historical perspective and also to establish the likely position of the deep ecology movement on some major criticisms that have been leveled against the wilderness idea. The aim is to clarify some common misunderstandings and also to establish that deep ecology is not an apologist of the status-quo but rather truly belongs to the alternative environmental movement seeking pragmatic, long-term solutions to our environmental problems.

Historical Background of the Wilderness Idea

The idea of wilderness could be very flexible indeed, but what has come to be commonly held and practiced, and what this paper seeks to discuss, is the perceived notion of wilderness as �an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man is a visitor who does not remain� (Callicott 2003). Attempts by various people to protect or preserve what they see as pristine, untouched nature could be traced way back into time.

When the perception of the existence of environmental crises first emerged in early 19th century Britain during the era of the industrial revolution, nature romanticists such as William Wordsworth responded to the excesses of industrialization and urbanization by agitating for a return to natural environments and peasant agrarian livelihoods. In his 2000 Environmentalism: A Global History, Ramachandra Guha identifies this movement as the beginning of environmentalism. This form of environmentalism in Britain, referred to by Guha as the �back-to-the-land movement� that aimed at the protection of sacred natural landscapes and traditional life patterns from the industrial revolution, only achieved modest gains in protecting sensitive ecosystems and cultural artifacts before being overshadowed by a new form of environmentalism from Germany which had just emerged as the nerve center of industrialization by the mid 19th century. Known as �Scientific Conservation,� this German brand of environmentalism aimed at the efficient utilization of natural resources through the application of science and technology. Ideas on forest management were borrowed from German scientists and applied worldwide, but with lesser degrees of success than what was practiced in Germany. The Wilderness Idea finally emerged in the United States in the late 19th Century to protect what was left of the American �wilderness� from the westward movement of the European settlers. To this effect, Yellowstone, the first national park, was established in 1872. Around that same time, the need to protect wildlife in the British Colonies in Africa and Asia from British trophy hunters appeared imperative. In this direction, the first international environmental conference was held in London in 1900 (without a single African representative). Following this, the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire was formed in 1903 and charged with responsibilities such as the regulation of hunting seasons, the designation of protected species, and the establishment of game reserves and national parks in the colonies. Although these developments do not indicate that the wilderness idea is distinctively American, it was in the United States that the wilderness idea was nurtured and where it flourished. In view of the fact that most old growth forests in Europe had already been decimated and replaced with tree plantations, the wilderness idea has since assumed an �Australian-American bias�(Nelson 2003:414).

Adherents of wilderness preservation weren�t without obstacles in creating protected wilderness areas in the United States. They had to contend with their conservationist adversaries over national policies. According to Eugene Hargrove's 1986 essay �Beyond Spaceship Earth,� by the beginning of the twentieth century, there existed two irreconcilable factions in the environmental movement: the conservationists concerned with the proper use of nature; and the preservationists, concerned with the protection of nature from use. Two notable figures at the opposing ends of this divide were John Muir, the preservationist, and Gifford Pinchot, the conservationist. A number of factors created the favorable environment within which the wilderness idea thrived in the United States.

One major factor was that wilderness was considered a symbol of American cultural identity, or national treasure, which rivaled the rich culture of art and architecture in Europe (Miller 1997, Nash 1969). The work of pioneering figures in the wilderness idea such as John Muir, and the Sierra Club he founded in 1892, also contributed significantly to the wilderness idea. John Muir�s motivation for the protection of wilderness areas was based on the notion that �wilderness maintained a separate value as a 'fountain of life,' independent of its utility as a resource� (Gottlieb 1993: 24). He was particularly obsessed with the spiritual benefits that the wilderness provides for urban dwellers escaping the city. Wilderness preservation was also supported by elite members of the American society who appreciated the beauty of the wilderness and the opportunities it provided for what was considered a fundamental frontier value -- hunting. One such elite wilderness lover was Theodore Roosevelt, a former American President who once stated that �every believer in manliness and therefore in manly sport, and every lover of nature, every man who appreciates the majesty and beauty of wilderness and of wild life, should strike hands with the farsighted men who wish to preserve our material resources, in an effort to keep our forests and our game beasts, game-birds, and game-fish-indeed, all the living creatures�(Cited in Nelson 2003: 415). By the 1920s and 1930s, tourism and recreation had emerged as the propeller of the preservation argument (Gottlieb 1993). This was due to a number of factors such as the growing affluence of Americans, the rising vehicle ownership rate, and the increasing vehicular access to National Parks. For instance, from the 1920s the number of cars entering Yosemite increased by more than tenfold in less than ten years (ibid).

Things came to an abrupt end during the World War and the immediate post-war era during which ecological concerns (both conservation and preservation) were relegated to the background in what Guha (2000) refers to as the �age of ecological innocence.� The preservation argument was further boosted in two ways in the 1960s following the publication of Rachel Carson�s book, Silent Spring, in 1962 and the resultant rise of the modern environmental movement. One was that the growing membership of the modern environmental movement was largely comprised of young and wealthy people whose concern about the environment was for leisure and tourism purposes. The other was the emergence of the ecological argument for wilderness preservation. Similar publications from ecologists such as Julian Hauxley and Garette Hardin sought to strengthen the need to preserve wilderness due to their eco-systemic functions.

By this time, the approach of the major environmental groups such as the Sierra Club had transformed from protests to forging closer ties with politicians and thereby influencing environmental policy through lobbying, mobilization, and deal making (ibid). The success of the preservationists could be measured by the existing national parks and legislations including the Wilderness Act of 1964. However, the transformation of the conventional environmental groups gave rise to alternative groups such as the environmental justice groups concerned with the environmental problems in human settlements, and those preferring the use of radical approaches for wilderness preservation such as Earth First!. Today, the conventional environmental groups still remain powerful and continue to exert a global influence on environmental policy in the era of globalization and enhanced information and communication technology.

Wilderness Preservation and Deep Ecology

As the discussion above has indicated, a number of arguments have been used by nature lovers to seek the protection of wilderness areas over the years. In 1972, distinguished Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess wrote the pivotal article �The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements.� Naess�s distinction between deep ecology and shallow ecology generated interest among academics and also won the support of radical nature lovers in the United States who quickly embraced the principles of deep ecology as sound philosophical bases for wilderness preservation. This loose group of supporters later became known as the deep ecology movement.

In Naess� classifications, the shallow ecology movement considers humans as separate from their environment, and the environment available for human domination. It is therefore narrowly concerned with the fight against pollution and resource depletion and its major objectives are centered on the health and wealth of people in the developed world. As distinguished from the �anthropocentric� views of shallow ecology depicted above, deep ecology upholds the principle of �biocentric egalitarianism� where humans are considered ordinary members of the biotic community and of equal value as the non-human others. Again, owing to the interdependence of all life forms, deep ecology favors the protection of a diversity of life forms to ensure the goodness or �self realization� of the entire biotic community rather than the exploitation of resources to meet human needs. Thus, the need to protect all life forms for their own sake and for their vital eco-systemic functions has since provided a strong argument for preservationists.

In all, eight points were developed by Arne Naess and George Sessions as principles constituting the deep ecology platform. The points as given in Naess and Sessions (1999:8) are as follows:

  1. The flourishing of human and nonhuman life on earth has intrinsic value. The value of nonhuman life forms is independent of the usefulness these may have for narrow human purposes.

  2. Richness and diversity of life forms are values in themselves and contribute to the flourishing of human and nonhuman life on earth.

  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

  4. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

  5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.

  6. Significant change of life conditions for the better requires changes in the policies. These affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures.

  7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of intrinsic value) rather than adhering to a high standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.

  8. Those who subscribe to the forgoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.

Influenced by these principles, some radical groups in North America and elsewhere have gone ahead to embark on acts of sabotage against development projects that impact adversely on wilderness areas. With the rise of the deep ecology movement and the rebirth of radical preservationist groups in America, the deep ecology movement has often been blamed for the problems associated with wilderness preservation projects in the third world such as Africa and India. In the ensuing section, I shall examine these criticisms and establish to what extent they differ from the principles of deep ecology.

Wilderness Preservation and the Third World

This section offers a reassessment of the criticisms of wilderness preservation in the third world using the case of the Kakum National Park in Ghana which is typical of the many projects across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Philosophical: To begin with, the very philosophical viewpoint of man as separate from nature that gave rise to the notion of wilderness as untouched nature is disputable. Going by this definition, Antarctica was the only continent-sized wilderness on the planet as far back as 1492 (Callicott 2003). It has been found that when the European settlers arrived in North America, there was no wilderness because Native Americans actively managed forests with fire. It was however the drastic reduction of human population due to the outbreak of European diseases that gave rise to the formation of wilderness (Macy and Bonnemaison: 2003). Deep ecology on the other hand rejects this mechanistic view of humans as separate from the environment in favor of the holistic view of man as an integral part and of equal value as the nonhuman members of the biotic community. It is the domination and wanton exploitation of the environment to meet the selfish and short term needs of man that deep ecology rejects.

Cultural: Stemming from the philosophical viewpoint of man as separate from the environment, the execution of wilderness preservation projects around the globe has been characterized by the separation of indigenous people from these protected areas where they once lived. The wilderness idea has therefore been accused of both ethnocentrism and misanthropy, whereby western-based international conservation agencies such as the World Wildlife Fund tend to place a greater premium on forests and animals rather than the cultural needs of tribal people. Such is the case at the Kakum National Park in Ghana, a prominent eco-tourism destination in Africa where indigenous communities such as Mfuom and Abrafo were relocated from their cultural roots to make way for the project even though their livelihoods in the past had minimal adverse impact on the ecosystem (Babson 2005). A similar account has been given of the Wasa National Park in Cameroon (Drijver 1992). As opposed to this shallow approach, deep ecology favors both ecological and cultural diversity and hence, seeks to protect tribal cultures from invasion by industrial societies. �Deep cultural diversity is an analogue on the human level to the biological richness and diversity of life-forms. A high priority should be given to cultural anthropology in general education programs in industrial societies� (Naess 2003: 267).

Ecological Management: On the ecological front, the idea of wilderness as untouched has also been attacked for not being the best ecological management practice there is. This is because studies have indicated that ecosystems are dynamic rather than static and hence would not remain the same even without any form of human activity in them. In fact, when left completely unmanaged, old growth forests could experience a decrease in quality because canopies formed by overgrown trees would impede the fast growth of tree seedlings. Besides, such forests become increasingly vulnerable to severe damage in the case of fire outbreaks (Clark 1995). In opposition to the situation at the Kakum National Park where local people are not even allowed to extract medicinal herbs or non-timber forest products from the reserve (Babson 2005), deep ecology recognizes that �in some cases low to intermediate human presence can actually increase biodiversity, particularly if settled agriculture is not involved� (Harding 1999).

Economic: The perceived notion of wilderness as untouched nature has a lot of economic implications. Even though recent studies indicate that ecosystems can tolerate some degree of resource extraction without compromising biodiversity or eco-systemic functions, the practice of excluding humans from nature reserves continues to be widespread. But since common property resources constitute the major capital for most rural people (Dasgupta 2001), the loss of traditional livelihood sources resulting from such an approach is detrimental to prospects for community development in the developing world. The situation is often compounded by the fact that tourism revenue from such projects accrue to external agencies. Not surprisingly, the affected communities have often embarked on acts of sabotage such as poaching, sometimes resulting in violent and fatal clashes with security forces. This has recently been the case at the Kakum National Park. Not even in the United States did local communities have to bear the brunt of preservation projects. Celebrated National Parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite are said to be occupying natural resource poor locations (Callicott 2003). Deep ecology offers an alternative to this trend by endorsing the careful extraction of natural resources for �vital� human needs. It also favors the incorporation of a community�s natural resources into the economy of that local community as the best means of protection. Hence a deep ecologist would support the CAMFIRE project of Zimbabwe.

Political/Administrative: Finally, wilderness preservation projects in developing regions have been characterized by a top-down approach to planning and implementation, non participation, and a disregard for local ecological wisdom. A common feature of Babson�s (2005) study of the Kakum National Park in Ghana and Drijver�s (1992) study of the Wasa National Park in Cameroon is that such projects are planned and implemented by Western-based international conservation agencies together with government agencies in the beneficiary countries using western-generated scientific theories. This approach of planning from afar is not new to the African conservation history but has existed from its very inception. Deep ecology categorically rejects this approach in favor of participation and decentralization. Commenting on the position of deep ecology on local autonomy and decentralization, Naess (1999), states that �(t)he vulnerability of a form of life is roughly proportional to the weight of influences from afar, from outside the local region in which that form obtained an ecological equilibrium. This lends support to our efforts to strengthen local self-government and the material and mental self-sufficiency� (P 5).


This article set out to clarify the origins of the wilderness idea as well as some of the criticisms that have often been made of deep ecology. In the process, the connection between the wilderness idea and American cultural history has been established. Most important, the deep ecology movement as an alternative form of environmentalism, seeking alternative approaches to the shallow conventional approaches of the international conservation societies and national governments has also been outlined. Although Arne Naess does not condemn the approaches of radical deep ecology supporters in America such as Earth First!, he certainly does not recommend the use of similar approaches in developing countries, neither have these radical American groups attempted to export their approaches this far. Having examined the position of deep ecology on the major criticisms against wilderness preservation in the third world, this paper hopes to have brought deep ecology much closer to free-market environmentalism than readers may have originally thought. People from the two perspectives can find common ground on pertinent issues such as cultural and biological diversity, local autonomy and decentralization, property rights and appropriate technology, and can hopefully agree on the redefined notion of wilderness as dynamic ecosystems with permeable boundaries, requiring ecological management, of which man is an integral part. Perhaps, what is required is further work on the appropriate institutional framework within which these two ideals could be operationalized. Compromises are to be expected in such a venture. Also, not to pay greater attention to the urban environment is to neglect the primary habitat of the majority of future populations.


Babson, S. (2005): "When To Elephants Fight: Conflict in Environmental Protection, the Case of the Kakum National Park in Ghana." Unpublished Thesis, University of Oslo, Norway.

Callicott, B.J. (2003): "A Critique of and an Alternative to the Wilderness Idea", in Light, A. and Rolston H. III (eds) Environmental Ethics: An Anthology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Pages 437-443.

Harding, S. (1999): "Comment:Naess and Guha", in Witoszek, N. and Brennan, A.(eds) Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc, Oxford, New York. Pages 334-336

Dasgupta, P. (2001): "Economic Institutions and the Natural Environment", in Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment. Oxford University Press. Pages 107-121.

Drijver, A.C. (1992): "People�s Participation in Environmental Projects", in Croll, E. and Parkin, D. (eds) Bush Base: Forest Farm. Culture, Environment and Development. Routledge, London. Pages 131-145.

Gottlieb, R. (1993): Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement. Island Press, Washington D.C.

Guha, R.(1999): "Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique", in Witoszek, N. and Brennan, A.(eds) Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc, Oxford, New York. Pages 325-333

Guha, R.(2000): Environmentalism: A Global History. Longman World History Series.

Harding, S.(1999): 'Comment: Naess and Guha", in Witoszek, N. and Brennan, A.(eds) Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc, Oxford, New York. Pages 334-336

Hargrove, C.E.(1986): "Introduction: Beyond Spaceship Earth", in Hargrove, C.E.(ed) Beyond Spaceship Earth. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.

Macy, C. and Bonnemaison, S.(2003): Architecture and Nature: Creating the American Landscape. Routledge, London and New York.

Miller, W.R. (1997): Urban Forestry: Planning and Managing Urban Greenspaces. Second Edition. Printice Hall, New Jersey.

Naess, A.(1999): "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements: A Summary", in Witoszek, N. and Brennan, A.(eds) Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc, Oxford, New York. Pages 3-7.

Naess, A. and Sessions, G.(1999): "The Deep Ecology Platform", in Witoszek, N. and Brennan, A.(eds) Philosophical Dialogues: Arne Naess and the Progress of Ecophilosophy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc, Oxford, New York. Pages 8-9.

Nash, R.(1969): "The Cultural Significance of the American Wilderness", in McCloskey E.M. and Gilligan, P.J. (eds) Wilderness and the Quality of Life. Sierra Club, San Francisco.

Nelson, P.M. (2003): "An Amalgamation of Wilderness Preservation Arguments", in Light, A. and Rolston H. III (eds) Environmental Ethics: An Anthology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Pages 413-436.

SCOPE Ebooks

Environmental Impact Assessment

The Global Carbon Cycle

The Major Biogeochemical Cycles and their Interactions

Effects of Pollutants at the Ecosystem Level

Climate Impact Assessment

SCOPE 29 The Greenhouse Effect, Climatic Change and Ecosystems

SCOPE 33 Nitrogen Cycling in Coastal Marine Environments

Practitioner's Handbook on the Modelling of Dynamic Change in Ecosystems

Scales and Global Change: Spatial and Temporal Variability in Biospheric and Geospheric Processes

Biological Invasions - A Global Perspective

SCOPE 38 Ecotoxicology and Climate with Special Reference to Hot and Cold Climates

SCOPE 39 Evolution of the Global Biogeochemical Sulphur Cycle

SCOPE 40 Methods for Assessing and Reducing Injury from Chemical Accidents

SCOPE 41 Short-term Toxicity Tests for Non-Genotoxic Effects

Biogeochemistry of Major World Rivers

SCOPE 43: Stable Isotopes: Natural and Anthropogenic Sulphur in the Environment

Genetically Designed Organisms in the Environment

Ecosystem Experiments

SCOPE 46 Methods for Assessing Exposure of Human and Non-human Biota

Long-term Ecological Research: An International Perspective

Sulphur Cycling on the Continents: Wetlands, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Associated Water Bodies

Methods to Assess Adverse Effects of Pesticides on Non-target Organisms

Radioecology after Chernobyl

Biogeochemistry of Small Catchments

Methods to Assess DNA Damage and Repair: Interspecies Comparisons

Methods to Assess the Effects of Chemicals on Ecosystems

Phosphorus in the Global Environment - Transfers, Cycles and Management

Functional Roles of Biodiversity - A Global Perspective

Global change: Effects on Coniferous Forests and Grasslands

Particle Flux in the Ocean

Sustainability Indicators

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Footprint Quiz

How old are you?

How big is the city, town, or place where you live?

What city has the most similar weather to yours?

Choose one:

Please enter your zip code. (Optional)

Email Address. (Optional)

Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? You're about to find out.

This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. After answering 15 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet.