The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

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Michael Tobias, ed., Deep Ecology (San Diego, CA: Avant Books, 1984)

In his introduction to Deep Ecology, Michael Tobias that deep ecology strives to understand an inherent contradiction in our appraisal of the natural world--we passionately identify with nature and simultaneously exploit it. In Paleolithic times artisans recorded the details of of death and resurrection in their cave paintings; in later Egyptian, Greek times man and nature were synthesized in their Gods. By the 18th century the Gods left nature to mankind--creating land speculators and real estate moguls. In his 19th century critique of capitalism, Karl Marx equated the exploitation of labor with the exploitation of nature; and George Marsh warned that a public disconnect with nature would lead to the downfall of American society. In the 20th century, this ecological schism has led to a conservation movement that attempts to redress human nature gone awry. In a shallow way it works to preserve nature for human use; in its deep counterpart--deep ecology it encompasses personal moods, values, and aesthetic and philosophical convictions which serve no utilitarian or rational end.

Lloyd Ackert
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