To say that humans are separate from Nature is to deny the laws of ecology. The deep ecology movement sees humans as having some unique and special qualities. There is nothing in the movement that is anti-human, that denigrates humans, either as individuals, as communities or as a species.

The critique of modernism and of humanism in the deep ecology movement is that humanism has confused ‘bigness’ with ‘greatness’. Humanists attempt to develop bigger societies, bigger technology, and claim that with bigger technology humans are becoming greater. Greatness, in deep ecology, is cultivated through an understanding of humility.

The quotation above is edited from an extract from an interview with the writer Jan van Boeckel, published in Resurgence Issue 199, March/April 2000. Read the full article here.

Bill Devall (1938–2009) was an American sociologist and an early writer on deep ecology (the term coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arnie Næss in 1973).