Living Richly in an Age of Limits


This is Bill Deval’s third and best book about Deep Ecology. Starting with a semi-autobiographical history of the second half of the twentieth century, he recounts the cultural development of America, based on a confident profligacy that was ultimately increasingly questioned by the realisation of the environmental damage that it was causing.  

This sets the tone for the book, which aims to analyse various aspects of people’s lives so as to propose how they may be aligned as close as possible to Deep Ecology principles. In a chapter headed “philosophical Roots for Greening our Lifestyles”, Devall first examines the nature of the idea “lifestyle” and then goes on to draw on the various wisdoms of Deep Ecology proponents from Barry Commoner to Joanna Macy and from Arne Naess to Aldo Leopold. What is unique about this book, however, is the way it offers advice on how to experience nature in our lives, how to think on a grand ecological scale (Thinking like a watershed/bioregion) and then how to bring valid ecological principles into our home making. 

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Art and ecology discussed in a fundamental way


First published in 1972, but still highly relevant, ’The Comedy of Survival’ by Joseph W Meeker does not fit ‘comfortably’ within the normal pattern of books on nature and the environment. In fact its main thrust is within the arts and in particular literature. What the author is aiming to do is point in the direction of a synthesis between art and ecological engagement and philosophy. I have not come across another book which tackles this complex and difficult subject area, for which it must be a seminal text. Meeker, however, touches on deep aspects of our attitude to and understanding of nature and the environment as he tries to develop what he sees as an explanation of our fundamental attitudes to the more than human world through artistic conventions. Along the way, his thoughts certainly challenge the reader’s preconceptions about how we understand and relate to nature. Continue reading Art and ecology discussed in a fundamental way

A comprehensive guide to Deep Ecology


Published in 1995, this book is a comprehensive compendium of writing about the Deep Ecology movement that emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This is the best book I have read about the movement, because of its breadth of coverage and the selection of important writers included. Covering such subjects as ‘What is Deep Ecology’ and ‘The Historical Roots of Deep Ecology’, the book also includes key texts by Arne Naess, who first defined the idea of Deep Ecology, and chapters covering related movements, the political aspects and critical writings on the differences between ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ ecology.

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The economics of compassion & survival


Kate Raworth’s Book is written in a language nearest to the one that economists understand, but at the same time sets out truths (such as that economics is embedded within society and in turn within the ecology of the world) that the culture of economics currently for the most part denies. With its ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’, the book surgically kills off the misguided holy cows of  current economics. Continue reading The economics of compassion & survival

If you are looking for food for thought, here is a feast!


Jeremy Lent set out to prove a theory about humanity that interprets the history of the human race as a search for meaning based on certain long-term “big ideas”. Whether he proves this theory or not, this wide ranging account of history and prehistory throughout the world creates a wonderful background for developing an understanding of where we have come from and who we are. Continue reading If you are looking for food for thought, here is a feast!

Bluntly expressed, but carefully honed, here are messages that are impossible to deny!


This is a very readable book. Not because Berry writes in an easy journalistic way, he certainly doesn’t, but because the book feels like someone is just talking to you in a very direct way about their life and values. It makes the reader think hard about the way both s/he and Mr Berry see the world. His point of view is, at the same time, both radical and conservative. It is hard hitting and he certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Continue reading Bluntly expressed, but carefully honed, here are messages that are impossible to deny!

A radical look at human history over the last 10,000 years


Paul Shepard (1925-1996) regarded this book as his most important. With convincing arguments and resonating descriptions of certain periods of human progress and modern humanity’s addictions and delinquencies, it postulates that, during the last 10,000 years, we have not taken the right steps towards greater adult maturity.

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