The Ecological Citizen

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


Long article

Harmony – not ‘theory’

Haydn Washington

The Ecological Citizen Vol 1 No 2 2018: 203–10

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First published: 1 January 2018  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


Academics love theory, but theory can become ideology. Much of recent theory in ecology has not been kind to non-human nature. This paper considers ecological theories about nature, from the superorganism idea to 'adaptive management' and then to recent theory such as 'new conservation' and 'critical social science'. Most recent theory (other than Gaia) comes from an anthropocentric perspective, where nature is just a resource, and the problems of this are detailed. The author argues that we should instead focus on the harmony we feel when we step into natural places. He makes the case that our harmony with nature should be our mission, our goal, our vision and our path. We must find an ethics of harmony, he contends. The United Nations' Harmony with Nature programme represents a promising start.



Anthropocentrism, Conservation, Ecological ethics, Harmony with Nature, Nature