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  Natural morality

The ecocentric orientation
Ecocentrism is one line of thought within modern environmentalism and is described by McConnell in 1965 as 'resting upon the supposition of a natural order in which all things moved according to natural law, in which the most delicate and perfect balance was maintained up to the point at which man entered with all his ignorance and presumption'.

It sees humankind as part of a global, natural ecosystem that is subject to ecological laws, where human beings do not occupy a privileged place in nature and they constitute one of several other elements in the 'web of life'. This ecologically based morality which, T. O'Riordan calls Ego versus Eco
'natural morality', is preaching 'the virtues of reverence, humility, responsibity, and care', recognises nature as having itself intrinsic values independent of or equal to human values and was until recently a 'moral or spiritual crusade'. ³  Considering themselves to be 'deep green', ecocentrists see nature as offering more organic and holistic models of possible ways forward.

According to the ecocentric approach to sustainable living, environmental issues are not discrete entities to be evaluated separately. A converging approach between human, natural and technical systems must be ensured that will recognize nature as central to survival and progress. Humans are then asked to set differences aside and act towards its salvation by imposing limits to population and economic growth (restrictions upon man's activities). Ecocentrists' position on technology is rather complex: they lack faith in high science and larger-scale technology, which they consider to be the cause of most environmental problems, they blame consumerism as cause of our unsustainable lifestyle, however, they do advocate other, low impact technologies, which are 'alternative, soft, intermediate and appropriate', because they are either 'environmentally benign' or 'democratic' and can be 'owned, understood, maintained and used by individuals and groups with little economic or political power'. 4 Ecocentrists also believe in the co-operative capabilities of societies to establish self-reliant communities.

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³ T. O'Riordan, Environmentalism, 2nd revised edition, (Pion Books, London, 1981), p. 1
4 D. Pepper, Eco-socialism: from deep ecology to social justice, first published 1993, (Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003), p. 33


    Building Environmental Performance