–by Helena Norberg-Hodge (Jan 31, 2019)
To me, the essence of deep ecology is moving beyond a type of environmentalism which is still based on a highly reductionist and a highly distant approach to the living world, to the natural world. To me, the essence of deep ecology is an expression of the need to develop a deep spiritual and, and – both spiritual, intellectual and physical connection to the living world around us, to the cosmos. That’s, for me, the essence of deep ecology. […]
To me, self-realization is realizing ourselves as a part of an intricate web of living relationships. And I believe that to be, as it were, our true selves. I believe that many ancient traditions have thought that truth. That is the essence at the heart of many spiritual traditions; that we are at one with the cosmos, with the living world. And… when we cut ourselves of from that reality, when we allow ourselves to think, to think of ourselves and live in a way where we feel separated from that, we become frightened little selves. We become very needy of power and control. We feel inadequate, we feel inferior, we feel unseen, unheard and… And in that process we become often hungry for power, hungry for control.
When, on the other hand, we allow ourselves – and I think this is, it’s very important for children to grow up in this way – when we develop a sense of self in relationship to the living world; when we grow up in contact with animals, with the soil, with the water, with the trees and more relating to and experiencing that, particularly as part of everyday life, then we realize ourselves as part of something alive, as part of something much bigger than ourselves. And it is a very joyous experience, it’s a very positive experience. […]
In feeling compassion for the world, for the living world, of course we feel compassion for human beings. In fact I would say, if I have to choose, if, you know, if sacrificing an insect or a snake to help a human life survive, I would do that. But I, therefore, am not saying that the snake in a fundamental way is less important than a human being. But I think it is quite natural that we feel a greater affinity to human beings and I think it’s very important that we spell out a very clear analysis which… which makes, well which makes it clear to people that we are as concerned about the human well-being as we are about the well-being of the Earth. And they are one and the same! They are inseparable. […]
I think in order to live deep ecology principles, life would not be poorer, on the contrary. When we understand, that maintaining, and now: rebuilding, diversity, the living fabric, gives us more, gives us more of everything. It gives us more food to eat, it gives us more building materials, it gives us more options as a global human family. So that, it might mean a life that is quite different from the urban consumer lifestyle, but I think at a level which answers most people’s needs, their heartfelt needs, people would actually find life richer. And they would find it richer for those spiritual reasons, but also in pure material terms, when it comes to what we really need to survive, which is healthy, fresh food, clean water, clean air, adequate clothing, adequate shelter. Now of all of those things we would have more, and we would have greater comfort.
— Helena Norberg-Hodge. Excepted from the transcript of the film: The Call of the Mountain: Arne Naess and the Deep Ecology Movement. [Drawing gifted from One Earth Healing Arts]