The Ecological Citizen

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



What is the difference between ecocentrism and biocentrism?


Ecocentrism recognises and respects the ultimate value of the Earth as a whole, including its living ecosystems, wild places, natural processes and creatures, as the matrix of life. Integral to all of those are non-organic components which are a key part of (for example) soil, water, air and so on. Ecocentrism thus explicitly acknowledges that they too are appropriate objects of ethical concern.

In contrast, biocentrism – as the word implies – puts the living elements of the Earth at the centre of concern but leaves the non-organic dimension as merely implicit or assumed. From an ecocentric point of view, that is to underestimate the latter's importance and value.

In practice, biocentrics tend to concentrate on the importance of living organisms, that is, animals of all kinds. These are included within ecocentric concern, but alongside more holistic entities such as ecosystems, places and processes.

* * * * *

For further reading, see: Mosquin T and Rowe S (2004) A Manifesto for Earth. Biodiversity 5(1): 3–9.



Related content


Is there moral justification to eat meat?
Long article by  Gregory F Tague[Vol 6 No 1 2023: 60–5]
 Access PDF  |  More details


The price of wildlife: Trophy hunting and conservation in Africa
Opinion by  Merrill Sapp[Vol 6 No 1 2023: 9–11]
 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


Politics is not enough: Individual action and the limits of institutions
Long article by  Luke Philip Plotica[Vol 4 No 1 2020: 37–43]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Envisioning a Nietzschean land ethic
Long article by  Kaitlyn Creasy[Vol 3 Suppl C 2020: 15–20]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Excerpted chapters from On Beauty: Douglas R. Tompkins—aesthetics and activism
Excerpt by  Tom Butler and Sandra Lubarsky[Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 93–100]
 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


Ethical responsibilities in invasion biology
Reflection by  Emily C Parke and James C Russell[Vol 2 No 1 2018: 17–19]
 Access PDF  |  More details


The pricing of everything
Long article by  George Monbiot[Vol 2 No 1 2018: 89–96]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Noting some effects of fabricating ‘nature’ as ‘natural capital’
Long article by  Sian Sullivan[Vol 1 No 1 2017: 65–73]
 Access PDF  |  More details