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Platform Principles of the 
Deep Ecology Movement

by Arne Naess & George Sessions

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In April 1984, George Sessions and Arne Naess summarized fifteen years of thinking on the principles of the Deep Ecology movement while camping in Death Valley, California. In this great and special place, they articulated these principles in a liiteral and somewhat neutral way, hoping that they would be understood and accepted by persons coming from different philosophical and religious positions. 

Readers are encouraged to elaborate their own versions of deep ecology, clarify key concepts, and think through the consequences of acting from these principles. 

The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth; intrinsic value; inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

4. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.

6. Policies must therefore be changed. The changes in policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.

7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent worth) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.

8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.

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