Developed by Haydn Washington, Bron Taylor, Helen Kopnina, Paul Cryer and John J Piccolo
With editorial input from Patrick Curry, Ian Whyte and Joe Gray
We, the undersigned, hold and advocate an ecocentric worldview that finds intrinsic (inherent) value in all of nature and the ecosphere.
Ecocentrism takes a much wider view of the world than does anthropocentrism, which sees individual humans and the human species as more valuable than all other organisms. Ecocentrism is the broadest of worldviews, but there are related worldviews. However, ecocentrism goes beyond biocentrism (ethics that sees inherent value in all living things) by including environmental systems as wholes and their abiotic aspects. It also goes beyond zoocentrism (seeing value in animals) on account of explicitly including flora and other organisms, as well as their ecological contexts. Given that life relies on geology and geomorphology to sustain it, and that 'geodiversity' also has intrinsic value, the broader term 'ecocentrism' is the more inclusive concept and value, and hence most appropriate.
We maintain that the ecosphere, including the life it contains, is an inherent good, irrespective of whether humans are the ones valuing it. It is true that (as far as we know) humans are the only species that reflects on and applies moral values. However, we can also understand that elements of the ecosphere have co-evolved to form a wondrous complexity – and contend that nature has value for itself. Ecocentrism recognizes that humans have responsibility towards the ecosphere, moral sentiments that are increasingly expressed in the language of rights. Such 'rights of nature' are now enshrined in some national constitutions, and are variously termed Earth jurisprudence, ecocide law or animal law.
Ecocentrism is important for multiple reasons:
In ethical terms: Ecocentrism expands the moral community beyond our own species, to all life, and indeed, to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems themselves. There is compelling philosophical and scientific justification for extending moral concern to all of the ecosphere, both its biotic and abiotic components.
In evolutionary terms: Ecocentrism reflects the fact that Homo sapiens evolved out of the ecosphere's rich web of life, which has a legacy stretching back an almost unimaginable 3.5 billion years. Other species literally are our cousins and relatives (close and distant) – a biological kinship that many have recognized as conferring moral responsibilities towards all species.
In spiritual terms: Historical and social scientific analysis demonstrates that many people (and some societies) have developed an ecocentric worldview. There is strong evidence that ecocentric values are increasingly being fused into nature-based, ecocentric spiritualities. With such spiritualties, even people who are entirely naturalistic in their worldviews often speak of the Earth and its ecosystems as sacred, and thus worthy of reverent care and defence.
In ecological terms: Ecocentrism reminds us that the ecosphere and all life is interdependent and that both human and nonhuman organisms are absolutely dependent on the ecosystem processes that nature provides. An anthropocentric conservation ethic alone is wholly inadequate for conserving biodiversity. Ecocentrism is rooted in an evolutionary understanding that reminds us that we are latecomers to what Aldo Leopold evocatively called the "odyssey of evolution". Ecology teaches humility, as we do not know everything about the world's ecosystems, and never will. This leads quite naturally to a precautionary approach towards all the systems that constitute the ecosphere, so that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, a lack of full scientific certainty ought not to be used as a reason for postponing remedial action.
Although we hold an ecocentric worldview because we believe it is ethically just, we contend that it is also practical because it counters humanity's relentless drive towards 'dominion over nature'. Society's overconsumption and overexploitation of nature has led to global and accelerating degradation of the ecosphere. Ecocentrism encourages us to see the rest of life as our kin, something we should respect for its own sake as well as our own. Those with an ecocentric worldview cannot silently tolerate mass anthropogenic extinctions, nor the suffering that accompanies environmental degradation. Ecocentrism encourages empathy with life, listening to the land and, above all, taking action to protect and heal the planet. Ecocentrism can also help lead to a sustainable future by encouraging a sense of wonder about the world around us. This can help us find the ethics we require if we are to take the difficult actions needed to sustain the ecosphere that supports our society. Whether it involves solving global crises like climate change or mass extinction, or contributing to local initiatives, ecocentrism can help humanity seek sustainable solutions.
Everyone (even academics seeking objectivity) are influenced by their worldview, ethics and values. To date, most Western thought has been rooted in an anthropocentric worldview. Despite great progress on some environmental fronts, it has become increasingly clear that an anthropocentric worldview provides an insufficient basis for preserving ecospheric diversity. We maintain that a transformation towards an ecocentric worldview is a necessary path for the flourishing of life on Earth, including that of our own species.
We, the undersigned, are convinced that the future of our living planet is dependent upon the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature, and strong support for ecocentrism as a worldview. We all have a duty to communicate this whenever possible and to undertake, promote and endeavour to inspire action in accordance with this worldview. ■
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Number of signatories: 277
Last updated: 27 April 2017
Dr Haydn Washington – Adjunct Lecturer (PANGEA Research Centre, UNSW), Australia. Prof Bron Taylor – Professor of Religion, Nature and Environmental Ethics (University of Gainesville, Florida), USA. Dr Helen Kopnina – Assistant Professor, Anthropology (Leiden University and the Hague University of Applied Science), Netherlands. Paul Cryer – Conservationist (Applied Ecology Unit, African Conservation Trust), South Africa. Dr John J Piccolo – Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (Karlstad University), Sweden. Dr Patrick Curry – Independent Scholar and Writer (The Ecological Citizen), UK. Ian Whyte – Naturalist (The Ecological Citizen), Canada. Joe Gray – PhD Candidate (Royal Holloway, University of London), UK. Karen Whyte – Artist, Canada. Romita Das – Organic Gardener, UK. John Ben Soileau – PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology (University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign), USA. Jeff Todd Titon – Professor (Brown University), USA. Michael Martin – Assistant Professor of English (University of Charleston), USA. Rosemary Gianno – Professor (Keene State College), USA. Theresa Burriss – Chair, Appalachian Studies (Radford University), USA. Sandy Irvine (Green Party, England), UK. Engelbert Fellinger – Communications Professional and Teacher, Netherlands. Howard Clifford (Land Trusts), Canada. Brian Miller – Retiree, USA. Dr John R Coulter – Retired Scientist and Environmentalist, Australia. Eva Schlunke – Artist, UK. Jacob D Christensen – Eco-citizen, Taiwan. Dr Marsha Quinlan – Associate Professor, Anthropology (Washington State University), USA. Geoff Mosley – Australian Director of CASSE (Centre for Advancement of Steady State Economy), Australia. Jonathan Miller – Ecologist, Australia. Oscar Askling – Kalkningshandläggare (Länsstyrelsen Värmland), Sweden. Jenny Goldie – Science Journalist, Australia. Dr Lisa Roberts – Living Data Program Leader (University of Technology Sydney), Australia. Carina van Rooyen – Senior Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies (University of Johannesburg), South Africa. David Edward Robertson – Concerned Retiree (University of Queensland), Austraila. Dr Jane O'Sullivan – Honorary Senior Research Associate, Australia. Michael D Sitka-Sage – Educator (Simon Fraser University), Canada. Robert Taylor – Retired Wildlife Conservationist, Australia. Noa Lincoln – Assistant Researcher (University of Hawai'i), USA. Reingard Spannring – Sociologist and Educational Scientist (University of Innsbruck), Austria. Prof Michael Paul Nelson – Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (Oregon State University), USA. Reed F Noss – Naturalist, USA. Mrs Regine Herzog, Guatemala. Lory S Kaufman – Writer, Canada. Dr David Blackwell – Retired Educator, Canada. Dr Nejm Benessaiah – Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Maryland), USA. Dr Daniel O'Neill – Lecturer in Ecological Economics (University of Leeds), UK. Sam Bliss – PhD Student (University of Vermont), USA. Coyote Alberto Ruz Buenfil – Writer, Eco-activist and Historian (Rights of Mother Earth – Mexico), Mexico. Dr Rupert J Read – Reader in Philosophy and Chair of Green House (UEA), UK. Victor Anderson – Research Fellow (Green House), UK. Brian G Henning – Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies (Gonzaga University), USA. Sam Earle – PhD Candidate and Researcher (UEA/Perspectiva), UK. Steve Kiser – Citizen of Planet Earth, Netherlands. Linda Mosquin – Retired Teacher, Canada. Dr Ted Mosquin – Naturalist and Retired Ecologist, Canada. Cynthia Twyford Fowler – Associate Professor (Wofford College), USA. Frederick W Schueler, PhD – Research Curator (Fragile Inheritance Natural History), Canada. Cathel Hutchison – PhD Candidate, School of Architecture (University of Dundee), UK. Bernard Walke – Earthling, Canada. Wallace Platts – Student of Nature, Cayman Islands. Britt Roscoe – Environmental Planner, Canada. Lucille Kelly – Student (La Trobe University), Australia. Jack Stillwell – Retired Historian, USA. Vivek – Environmentalist (Centre for Science and Environment), India. Liam Lilly, Planet Earth. Emilie Hall – Marine Biologist, UK. Christopher Padley – Local Government Election Candidate, UK. JM Louro – Human Being, Portugal. Hannah Gray Kent – PhD Researcher (University of Leeds), UK. Michael Stanton – Environmental Social Scientist, USA. Gavin O'Donnell – Environmental Sciences Student (UEA), UK. Jeannie Baker – Children's Book Artist and Author, Australia. Rosalie Chapple – Ecologist (Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute), Australia. Anna Schlunke – Steady Stater, Australia. Matthew Washington – Treasurer (Centre for Advancement of Steady State Economy NSW), Australia. Tom Butler – Vice President (Foundation for Deep Ecology), USA. J Baird Callicott – University Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus (University of North Texas), USA. Kathleen Dean Moore – Author, USA. Luciana Figueiredo Jones – Citizen of Planet Earth, Australia. James Magnus-Johnston – Director (CMU Centre for Ecological and Economic Resilience), Canada. Phil Jones – Science Teacher, Australia. Dr Gary Luck – Professor of Ecology and Interdisciplinary Science (Charles Sturt University), Australia. Martin Johansson – Fish Keeper, Sweden. Larni Gryphon – Clinical Teaching Associate (James Cook University), Australia. Ruth Armstrong – Postgraduate Researcher (University of Leeds), UK. Erwin Dreessen, PhD, Canada. Natasha Oklobdzija, Australia. Erik Assadourian – Senior Fellow (Worldwatch Institute), USA. Denise Mendes de Figueiredo – Retired Dentist, Brazil. David Casagrande – Professor of Environmental Anthropology (Lehigh University), USA. John Seed – Activist (Rainforest Information Centre), Australia. Ann Pancake – Writer in Residence (University of Hawai'i Manoa), USA. Rosemary Bunting – Environmentalist (Open University), UK. Linda Heron – Chair (Ontario Rivers Alliance), Canada. Jessica Yuille – Environment Coordinator (Brahma Kumaris Australia), Australia. Manon Danker – Environmental Sociologist, Netherlands. Natália Britto dos Santos – PhD Student, Economics for the Anthropocene (York University, Toronto), Canada. Timothy Crownshaw – PhD Student (McGill University), Canada. Melissa Nicole Harnett – Student (Massey University), New Zealand. Jonathon Porritt (Forum for the Future), UK. Mitchell Thomashow – Independent Scholar and President Emeritus (Unity College), USA. Matthew Burke – Graduate Student, USA. Joshua C Farley – Professor of Ecological Economics (University of Vermont), USA. Adam Gilbertson – Anthropologist (UNC Chapel Hill), USA. Hal Anjo – Naturalist, USA. Michael H Stalder – Retired California State Park Ranger, USA. Sabrina Reiniger – Nature-lover, Germany. Christian Reiniger – Human, Germany. Ms Julie Favell, Australia. Renae Barton – Artist, Beekeeper and Ecocentrist (Bee House Art), USA. Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis – Professor, History of Science (University of Florida), USA. Mark M Thompson, PhD – Retiree, USA. Robert Boschman – Professor (Mount Royal University), Canada. William P Mueller – Director (Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory), USA. Herman Daly – Emeritus Professor, School of Public Policy (University of Maryland), USA. Gareth Newnham – Producer (Grasp The Nettle Films), USA. Peggy Sue McRae – Artist, USA. Daniel C Kline – CEO (ParaTechnica), USA. Robin M Wright – Doctor, Department of Religion (Univeristy of Florida), USA. Simmons Buntin – Editor-in-Chief (Terrain.org), USA. Tiago Costa Nepomuceno – PhD Candidate in Education and Environmental Philosophy (University of São Paulo), Brazil. Stephen Mulkey – Program Director (NSF), USA. Bonnie Ralston – Educator, USA. Paul Sieracki – Geospatial Analyst and Wildlife Biologist, USA. Jack Lindsay Coxon – Student (La Trobe University), Australia. Kristina Tiedje – Associate Professor of Anthropology (Université Lyon 2 - France), USA. Dominic – Technical Support Worker, UK. Jorge Domingos Bastos Moreira – Environmentalist and Researcher (Ecologia Espiritual), Portugal. Lukas Hardt – PhD Student (University of Leeds), UK. Ms Paula Sapage, Portugal. Alexandra Monteiro Marcelino – Lawyer, Portugal. Elisabeth de Boisgelin, UK. Daniel J Shevock – University Music Teacher (Penn State Altoona), USA. Ana Patrícia Oliveira Alves – Empregada de Mesa, Portugal. Jack Hunter – Anthropologist (Sector39), UK. Gabriela Tymowski-Gionet – Associate Professor (University of New Brunswick), Canada. Grant Hugh Potts – Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy (Austin Community College), USA. Dr Lorraine Code – Distinguished Research Professor Emerita (York University), Canada. Michael Parkes – Awakened Person, Canada. Andrew Jameton (Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate and Physicians for Social Responsibility), USA. Philip Cafaro – Professor of Philosophy (Colorado State University), USA. Damien Delorme – Philosopher (L'IRPhiL, Université Lyon 3), France. Ruth Thomas-Pellicer – Independent Philosopher, Spain. Olinda Neves – Teacher of Biology and Geology, Cabo Verde. Ronnie Zoe Hawkins – Environmental Philosopher, Costa Rica. Dr Anita Norman – Postdoctoral Research Associate (San Diego Zoo Global), USA. Fred Hageneder – Naturalist, Author and Musician, UK. Dr Elisabeth Sommer – Retired Professor of Linguistics (University of Central Florida), USA. Alexandra Gomes – Analyst, Portugal. Keelah Lam – Environmental activist, Australia. Zana Briski – Artist and Academy Award-winner, USA. Steven Matema – Social Ecologist (African Conservation Trust), South Africa. Geoff Clinning – Technician (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife), South Africa. Julie Carlisle – Community and Environmental Project Developer, South Africa. Mike Wibberley – Psychotherapist, UK. Martin Drenthen – Associate Professor (Radboud University), Netherlands. Pete Ruinard – Conservation Manager (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife), South Africa. Melanie Andrej – Writer, Independent Scholar and Teacher, Austria. Koos de Koeijer – Entrepreneur, Netherlands. Dave Gardner – Director of the GrowthBusters Documentary (GrowthBusters), USA. George F Schlosser – Conservation Lawyer, USA. Sarah E Robinson-Bertoni – Lecturer (Santa Clara University), USA. Paul Havemann – Natural Resources Manager (John Muir Institute of the Environment), USA. Anna Cimini – Research Assistant (Brown University), USA. Peter S Goodman – Conservation Ecologist (Wildlife Conservation Solutions), South Africa. Darren Frederick Speece – Historian (Sidwell Friends School), USA. Lorraine Code – Distinguished Research Professor (York University, Philosophy), Canada. Marcus Intinarelli – Organic/Biodynamic Farmer (Thompson Creek Farm), USA. Alcide Gonçalves – Landscape Architect, Portugal. Joel Kassiola – Professor of Political Science (San Francisco State University), USA. Prof PG Harris – Chair and Professor of Global and Environmental Studies (Education University of Hong Kong), Hong Kong. Stephen R Griego – Instructor and PhD Candidate (University of New Mexico), USA. Sílvia Brandão – Artist, Portugal. Ross D'Orfani – Student, USA. Star Char Lema – Co-Founder, Sacred Rose Council (School of Sacred Arts and Sciences), USA. Gwyn Wahlmann, USA. Mike Vandeman – Wildlife Activist, USA. Irene Mommers – Director, Nutrition and Health (BeBright), Netherlands. Wanda Ballentine, USA. Paul Sandford – Druid and Interfaith Minister, UK. Linda Cooper – Volunteer Co-ordinator (Brahma Kumaris), Australia. Paul Jennings – Conservationist, South Africa. Michael Bull, Australia. Lauren Barwick – Earth Guardian, South Africa. Hardy Loubser, South Africa. Dr Tanmoy Bhattacharya – Professor (University of Delhi), India. Paul Beswick – Peacenik, UK. Patricia Ferguson – Retiree, Australia. Maria João – Ecologia, Portugal. Alf Seegert – Professor (University of Utah), USA. Dr Anna Grichting – Assistant Professor, Architecture and Urban Planning, Qatar. Leslie Adams – Global Citizen taking action for Biodiversity (BioDiversity Matters), Canada. Cormac Cullinan – Environmental Lawyer (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature), South Africa. Grant Lowe – Self-employed, Canada. Stephen McKevitt – Retired Historian, USA. Alison Whalley (Green Party, England and Wales), UK. Luis Gutierrez – Editor (Mother Pelican Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability), USA. Marjie Tomter – Director/Coordinator (Ozaukee Washingotn Land Trust/OzaukeeTreasures Network), USA. Pip Hayes – Mother, Doctor and Population Activist, UK. Michael G Hanauer – Overpopulation and Sustainability Activist (Future Generations), USA. Daniel Janzen – Professor of Conservation Biology (University of Pennsylvania), USA. Priscilla Mattison – Attorney, USA. Christine Holland Cummings – Citizen of Earth, USA. Alasdair Wilson – Community Activist, UK. Dr Sailesh Rao – Executive DIrector (Climate Healers), USA. Marcus Bussey – Senior Lecturer in History and Futures, Australia. Sterling Lee Slavick Barlow – Author and Retired Science educator, USA. Albert Rich – Applied Logician, USA. David Taylor – Director (EarthSpirit), UK. Dr Michael A Giannelli – Retired Psychologist and Animal Advocate, USA. Michele Chavez-Pardini – Mediator, USA. Mark Hixon – Hsiao Endowed Professor of Marine Biology (University of Hawai'i), USA. Jonathan Boyne – Librarian (University of Hawai'i), USA. Christian Bulesz – Thinker, Netherlands. Meg O'Mahony – Retired Educator, Canada. Peter Carter – Director (Climate Emergency Institute), Canada. Taehyun Park – Professor (Kangwon National University of Korea), Republic of Korea. Christopher J Aitchison – Citizen, Australia. Abhik Gupta – Professor (Assam University), India. Freda van den Broek – Naturalist, USA. Ms Kelly Pomeroy – Retired, USA. John Broussard – Retired, . John J Finazzo Sr – President, USA. Bonnie Shemie – Self-employed, Canada. Rob Harding – Environmental Activist, USA. Timothy William Read – Master's Student and Social and Environmental Activist, Australia. Matt Grisko – Educator, USA. Tarik Bodasing – Ecologist, South Africa. Melissa Everett – General Practitioner, Wales. Rob Irvine – Nonhuman Animal Ethics and Advocate (University of Sydney), Australia. Paul May – Ecocentrist, Australia. Garey Mills – Retiree, Spain. Anouk Pinchetti – Project Manager (New Systems Hub), Australia. Vanessa Smith – Direct Support Professional, Canada. Eileen Crist – Associate Professor (Virginia Tech), USA. Craig K Harris – Associate Professor (Michigan State University), USA. Jeremy T Bruskotter – Associate Professor (School of Environment & Natural Resources, Ohio State University), USA. Stephanie Moran – Artist, UK. Ricardo Rozzi – Director, Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (University of North Texas and University of Magallanes), USA and Chile. Mark Hollidge – Writer, UK. Bernard Little – Concerned Citizen, UK. Josephine F Wideman – Executive Director (Californians for Population Stabilization), USA. Liesje Barratt – Assistant Coordinator, Faith Ecology Network (CMI, Centre for Peace, Ecology and Justice), Australia. Joanna Macy, PhD – Deep Ecologist, Writer and Activist (The Work That Reconnects), USA. Maria Kay Fotopoulos – Editor and Writer (Animal Lives Matter), USA. Peter Raimondo – Transformational Guide (Purely Wild Foundation), South Africa. J Anthony Cassils – Ontologist, Canada. Steven Earl Salmony – Retired Psychologist, USA. Roger Creagh-Osborne – Mammal (Bioregion of Cornwall), UK. John A Vucetich – Professor (Michigan Technological University), USA. Sabrina Chakori – Environmental Economist, Switzerland and Australia. Patricia Vickers-Rich – Geologist (Swinburne University and Monash University), Australia. Craig Reid – Member of the Food Chain, Malawi. Wayne McLellan – Retiree, USA. Sandra Lubarsky – Emeritus Professor (Northern Arizona University), USA. Leon Trembath – Retired Fire Fighter, Australia. Dr Julia Peck – Academic Subject Leader, Photography (University of Gloucestershire), UK. Guido Dalla Casa – Engineer, Writer and Teacher (Comparative Philosophy School), Italy. Robert Sessions – Wnvironmental Activist, USA. Susan Gallinger – Citizen Scientist, Canada. William Forbes – Associate Professor of Geography (Stephen F Austin State University), USA. Fiona Weir – Retiree, UK. Andrew McLaughlin – Professor Emeritus (Lehman College), USA. Michael D Novack – Retiree, USA. Louis Beckerling – Penitent Retiree, Australia. Andrei Călin Dumitrescu – Linguist (University of Helsinki), Finland. Ryan Quinn – PhD Candidate, Australia. Tom Baxter – Communications Officer (Greenpeace East Asia), China. Gregory Moulinet – Co-Founder and Communications Director (Biocentric Society), China. Vachel Miller – Associate Professor (Appalachian State University), USA. Katarina Hovden – Recent LLM Graduate and Volunteer (Nature's Rights), Norway. Gaia Baracetti – Writer, Italy. David Molina Motos – PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Education (Universiad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), Spain. Ben Phalan – Research Associate (Oregon State University), USA. Charlotte Payne – PhD Student (University of Cambridge), UK. Olivia Bina – Principal Researcher (Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa), Portugal. Mary McAfee Sealing – Integral Ecologist, USA. David Takayoshi Suzuki – Emeritus Professor, Zoology (University of British Columbia), Canada. Rupayan Bhattacharyya – Person Interested to be part of Ecocentrism Movement (International Institute for Ecological Civilization), USA. Marc Bekoff – Professor Emeritus, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (University of Colorado, Boulder), USA. Ruud Maarschall, MSc – Board Member (Dutch Water Authority), Netherlands.