Democracy & Nature, Vol. 4, No. 2/3
The Metaphysical Uncertainties of Political Ecology
Abstract: This essay examines main currents of political-ecological thought. Three trends of ecologism are identified: firstly, the 'ecocentric', which comprises the pre-war naturalist thinkers, as well as the post-war New Right, volkisch ecology, Deep Ecology and part of Ecofeminism. Secondly, the 'anthropocentric', which is currently cultivated among ecosocialist theorists. Lastly, Social Ecology, which claims a common ground between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. A critical analysis of all three trends reveals an incompatibility between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism which leads to either utilitarianism, or naturalism, but not to a happy blend of civilisation and nature.
The paper argues that between utilitarianism and naturalism stands a third possible approach to the humans-nature relationship, the 'theocentric', as it is found among the classic moral religions. It is suggested that theocentrism could be the absent medium able to delineate a common ground and thus to harmonise the social and the natural environments.