The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

The affliction of human supremacy

Eileen Crist

The Ecological Citizen Vol 1 No 1 2017: 61–4

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First published: 1 July 2017  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


This article dissects the motivations behind and consequences of the worldview of anthropocentrism, or human supremacy. Firstly, the author presents the just-so stories arising from the notion that the impact of humanity stems from our species' essence. Instead, the author argues, it is socio-cultural conditioning – specifically, the human-supremacist credo propagated by the dominant culture – to which we must turn in order to properly understand humanity's impact. Next, the typical beliefs arising from human supremacy are exposed, as are examples of its products: ideational and physical displacements. The author also discusses the wisdom of limitations, the danger of shifting ecological baselines and general ignorance of the current mass extinction event. Finally, after cautioning against the cult of techno-fixes, a brighter future is presented, which would be made possible by rejecting the human-supremacist credo.



Anthropocentrism, Human supremacy, Shifting baselines, Techno-fixes