Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 13, No. 5, May 2017
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page


The Ecological Crisis is a Catalyst for Cultural Evolution

One Sacred Community, by Mary Southard, CSJ
Courtesy of Ministry of the Arts


Statement of Commitment to Ecocentrism, by Haydn Washington, Bron Taylor, Helen Kopnina, Paul Cryer, and John Piccolo

Reflections and Chronicles From The End of Time: Shipwrecked, by Carlos Cuellar Brown

The Problem With Freedom, by George Monbiot

Rebuild Human Civilization with a Culture of Economic Harmony, Social Harmony, and Ecological Harmony, by Carmine Gorga

Neoclassical Economics – The Dogma Faces Scrutiny, by Bruno Roberts-Dear

Reclaiming Commons through Land Value Tax, or a Wing and a Prayer, by Patrick Noble

Nature Unleashed ~ Remedial Environmental Art, by Mary O'Brien

Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, by Kate Raworth

The Commons of Humanity, by Mohammed Mesbahi

Global Push for Earth Observations Continues, by Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)

Long Live Mother Earth!, by Julia Carreon-Lagoc, and Tears of Mother Earth, by Tim Donna

The Sustainable Development Goals ~ An opportunity for business to do better, by Ruth Mhlanga

Pope Francis Explains 'Integral Human Development', by Nicolas Senèze

The Free Banquet ~ The Case for Universal Basic Income, by George Scialabba

A Conversation Between A Man And A Woman About Misogyny, Patriarchy And Why Women Hate Women, by Mallika Nawal and Arjun Dhar

Originary Feminism, by Eric Gans

Habemus Mamam! ~ Religious Patriarchy is an Obstacle to Integral Human Development, by Luis Gutierrez


Advances in Sustainable Development

Directory of Sustainable Development Resources

Strategies for Solidarity and Sustainability

Best Practices for Solidarity and Sustainability

Fostering Gender Balance in Society

Fostering Gender Balance in Religion

Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature


Statement of Commitment to Ecocentrism

Haydn Washington, Bron Taylor, Helen Kopnina, Paul Cryer, and John Piccolo

The Ecological Citizen, 14 April 2017
Creative Commons License

We, the undersigned, hold and advocate an ecocentric worldview that finds intrinsic (inherent) value in all of nature and the ecosphere.

Ecocentrism takes a much wider view of the world than does anthropocentrism, which sees individual humans and the human species as more valuable than all other organisms. Ecocentrism is the broadest of worldviews, but there are related worldviews. However, ecocentrism goes beyond biocentrism (ethics that sees inherent value in all living things) by including environmental systems as wholes and their abiotic aspects. It also goes beyond zoocentrism (seeing value in animals) on account of explicitly including flora and other organisms, as well as their ecological contexts. Given that life relies on geology and geomorphology to sustain it, and that 'geodiversity' also has intrinsic value, the broader term 'ecocentrism' is the more inclusive concept and value, and hence most appropriate.

We maintain that the ecosphere, including the life it contains, is an inherent good, irrespective of whether humans are the ones valuing it. It is true that (as far as we know) humans are the only species that reflects on and applies moral values. However, we can also understand that elements of the ecosphere have co-evolved to form a wondrous complexity – and contend that nature has value for itself. Ecocentrism recognizes that humans have responsibility towards the ecosphere, moral sentiments that are increasingly expressed in the language of rights. Such 'rights of nature' are now enshrined in some national constitutions, and are variously termed Earth jurisprudence, ecocide law or animal law.

Ecocentrism is important for multiple reasons:

In ethical terms: Ecocentrism expands the moral community beyond our own species, to all life, and indeed, to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems themselves. There is compelling philosophical and scientific justification for extending moral concern to all of the ecosphere, both its biotic and abiotic components.

In evolutionary terms: Ecocentrism reflects the fact that Homo sapiens evolved out of the ecosphere's rich web of life, which has a legacy stretching back an almost unimaginable 3.5 billion years. Other species literally are our cousins and relatives (close and distant) – a biological kinship that many have recognized as conferring moral responsibilities towards all species.

In spiritual terms: Historical and social scientific analysis demonstrates that many people (and some societies) have developed an ecocentric worldview. There is strong evidence that ecocentric values are increasingly being fused into nature-based, ecocentric spiritualities. With such spiritualties, even people who are entirely naturalistic in their worldviews often speak of the Earth and its ecosystems as sacred, and thus worthy of reverent care and defence.

In ecological terms: Ecocentrism reminds us that the ecosphere and all life is interdependent and that both human and nonhuman organisms are absolutely dependent on the ecosystem processes that nature provides. An anthropocentric conservation ethic alone is wholly inadequate for conserving biodiversity. Ecocentrism is rooted in an evolutionary understanding that reminds us that we are latecomers to what Aldo Leopold evocatively called the "odyssey of evolution". Ecology teaches humility, as we do not know everything about the world's ecosystems, and never will. This leads quite naturally to a precautionary approach towards all the systems that constitute the ecosphere, so that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, a lack of full scientific certainty ought not to be used as a reason for postponing remedial action.

How ecocentrism can lead us to a sustainable future

Although we hold an ecocentric worldview because we believe it is ethically just, we contend that it is also practical because it counters humanity's relentless drive towards 'dominion over nature'. Society's overconsumption and overexploitation of nature has led to global and accelerating degradation of the ecosphere. Ecocentrism encourages us to see the rest of life as our kin, something we should respect for its own sake as well as our own. Those with an ecocentric worldview cannot silently tolerate mass anthropogenic extinctions, nor the suffering that accompanies environmental degradation. Ecocentrism encourages empathy with life, listening to the land and, above all, taking action to protect and heal the planet. Ecocentrism can also help lead to a sustainable future by encouraging a sense of wonder about the world around us. This can help us find the ethics we require if we are to take the difficult actions needed to sustain the ecosphere that supports our society. Whether it involves solving global crises like climate change or mass extinction, or contributing to local initiatives, ecocentrism can help humanity seek sustainable solutions.


Everyone (even academics seeking objectivity) are influenced by their worldview, ethics and values. To date, most Western thought has been rooted in an anthropocentric worldview. Despite great progress on some environmental fronts, it has become increasingly clear that an anthropocentric worldview provides an insufficient basis for preserving ecospheric diversity. We maintain that a transformation towards an ecocentric worldview is a necessary path for the flourishing of life on Earth, including that of our own species.

We, the undersigned, are convinced that the future of our living planet is dependent upon the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature, and strong support for ecocentrism as a worldview. We all have a duty to communicate this whenever possible and to undertake, promote and endeavour to inspire action in accordance with this worldview.

To read and sign the statement, go to:


Sign the statement

View the list of signatories

|Back to SUMMARY|      |Back to OUTLINE|

Page 1      Page 2      Page 3      Page 4      Page 5      Page 6      Page 7      Page 8      Page 9

Supplement 1      Supplement 2      Supplement 3      Supplement 4      Supplement 5      Supplement 6

PelicanWeb Home Page

Bookmark and Share

"They love truth when she shines on them;
and hate her when she rebukes them."

St. Augustine (354 - 430 CE)


Write to the Editor
Send email to Subscribe
Send email to Unsubscribe
Link to the Google Groups Website
Link to the PelicanWeb Home Page

Creative Commons License
ISSN 2165-9672

Page 1      



Subscribe to the
Mother Pelican Journal
via the Solidarity-Sustainability Group

Enter your email address: