The Ecological Citizen

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

 


 

What is anthropocentrism? (A definition)

 

Anthropocentrism restricts value to human beings, either mostly or entirely. Such an attitude frames the natural world as 'the environment', consisting of 'natural resources', 'ecosystem services', 'spiritual support' and so on. That view then permits measuring the value of the natural world in terms of its usefulness to human beings alone. Its value in its own right, to itself, and in ways that resist calibration are sidelined. So are questions of ethics respecting non-humans.

From a broader, deeper and longer point of view, such an approach to nature underwrites ecocide, whether gradual or sudden, as a result of its failure to recognise and address the natural world in ethical terms. In addition, anthropocentrism suffers from crippling limitations including the power of selfish interests, a narrow frame of reference and view of relevant non-human stakeholders, a short-term time scale, our ignorance and our fallibility.

It is sometimes argued that since humans are doing the valuing in this context, anthropocentrism is unavoidable. This is wrong. Humans may be the relevant valuers (although they are far from the only ones), but there is no good reason why what they value – what they put at the centre – must also be human.

* * * * *

For further reading, see: Curry P (2017) Ecological Ethics: An Introduction, Polity Press.

 

 


Related content

 

Rosling’s fallacy: Conservation, biodiversity and the anthropocentrism of Hans Rosling’s Factfulness
Reflection by  Andrea Cardini [Vol 5 No 2 2022: 117–22]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Sentience in invertebrates: A report on a two-part webinar
Meeting report by  Joe Gray [Vol 5 No 2 2022: 201–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Criticizing Muir and misunderstanding the foundation of American nature conservation
Long article by  Bruce A Byers [Vol 5 No 1 2021: 65–73]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Eco-social justice in an anthropocentric world
Opinion by  Nicci Attfield and James Reed [Vol 4 No 2 2021: 111–12]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

It’s not just about us: It never has been
Editorial by  Patrick Curry [Vol 4 No 1 2020: 5]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Unlearning human-centrism: A bumpy road
Reflection by  Louise Grancitelli et al. [Vol 4 No 1 2020: 11–13]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Beyond the North American Wildlife Conservation Model and towards Earth rights
Long article by  Anja Heister [Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 67–74]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The biodiversity crisis must be placed front and centre
Editorial by  Joe Gray and Eileen Crist [Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 5–6]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

De-centring humans from environmental valuation: Introducing the Life Framework of Values
Opinion by  Seb O'Connor [Vol 3 No 2 2020: 117–18]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Ecological citizen!?
Reflection by  Holmes Rolston III [Vol 3 No 2 2020: 121–3]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Religion and environmental behaviour (part two): Dark-green nature spiritualities and the fate of the Earth
Long article by  Bron Taylor [Vol 3 No 2 2020: 135–40]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Animism and ecology: Participating in the world community
Long article by  Graham Harvey [Vol 3 No 1 2019: 79–84]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Religion and environmental behaviour (part one): World religions and the fate of the Earth
Long article by  Bron Taylor [Vol 3 No 1 2019: 71–6]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Damaging thinking: A review of Timothy Morton’s Being Ecological
Book review by  Adam Dickerson [Vol 2 No 2 2019: 198–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Dandelions are divine
Long article by  Bill Vitek [Vol 2 No 2 2019: 189–93]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Holistic versus individualistic non-anthropocentrism
Opinion by  Gregory M Mikkelson [Vol 2 No 2 2019: 137–8]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Looking beyond the past to give African wildlife a future: A critical review of The Big Conservation Lie
Book review by  Tarik Bodasing [Vol 2 No 2 2019: 202–5]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The Anthropocene: Where on Earth are we going?
Opinion by  Will Steffen [Vol 2 No 2 2019: 129–30]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

On dying ecologically in the Anthropocene
Long article by  Joshua Trey Barnett [Vol 2 No 1 2018: 23–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The insanity of endless growth
Long article by  Haydn Washington and Helen Kopnina [Vol 2 No 1 2018: 57–63]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Transforming human life on our home planet, perennially
Long article by  Wes Jackson et al. [Vol 2 No 1 2018: 43–6]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

‘Any size population will do?’: The fallacy of aiming for stabilization of human numbers
Long article by  Karin Kuhlemann [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 181–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Anthropocene boosters and the attack on wilderness conservation
Long article by  George Wuerthner [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 161–6]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Becoming indigenous: A review of The Ends of the World
Book review by  Patrick Curry [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 212–3]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Ecocentrism: Left or right?
Opinion by  Patrick Curry [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 134]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Ecocentrism: What it means and what it implies
Opinion by  Joe Gray et al. [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 130–1]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

From wilderness to plastic plants: How might we get back to wildness?
Long article by  Helen Kopnina [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 191–7]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Harmony – not ‘theory’
Long article by  Haydn Washington [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 203–10]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Learning for biosphere security in a crowded, warming world
Long article by  Alexander Lautensach [Vol 1 No 2 2018: 171–8]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The Ecological Citizen: An impulse of life, for life
Editorial by  Patrick Curry [Vol 1 No 1 2017: 5–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Reasons for a reduction of humans’ impact on the ecosphere
Opinion by  Joe Gray [Vol 1 No 1 2017: 17–18]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The affliction of human supremacy
Long article by  Eileen Crist [Vol 1 No 1 2017: 61–4]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

The twilight of anthropocentrism
Long article by  John Michael Greer [Vol 1 No 1 2017: 75–82]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

Why ecocentrism is the key pathway to sustainability
Long article by  Haydn Washington et al. [Vol 1 No 1 2017: 35–41]
 Access PDF  |  More details

 

 


BACK TO TOP