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Have you Googled Murray Bookchin?  RSS feed

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Any fans of social ecology out there?

I personally love Murray Bookchin's work, and I think his theory of social ecology did for philosophy and ethics what permaculture did for design. I think the two are a natural fit, and share a lot in common (though I think there are important distinctions). The idea that we can glean not just design strategies and principles, but actionable ethics from observing the natural world is fascinating to me. I also like the concepts of First Nature (evolutionary nature, of which humanity is a part), Second Nature (human society and institutions specifically), and Free Nature (the state where the two are harmonized).

A lot of ecological movements and philosophies try to make you think humans are supreme beings apart from and fit to rule all other life; no more unique or special than any other form of life (i.e. all lifeforms are functionally the same); or insignificant, cancerous aberrations that should either be contained like a pathogen, outright destroyed, or prevented from making use of our natural ability to shape the environment. I like that Social Ecology breaks down these distinctions and says that humans are completely a part of the larger evolutionary nature and connected to all beings, but also a distinct, unique being with an unrivaled capacity to shape its environment (and for the better, if we dare to "fill our niche"). I believe some of these ideas influenced permaculture itself as well, as I believe David Holmgren has mentioned before.

"Well, I think the work of Murray Bookchin and his work in Social Ecology was definitely one of the contemporary ideas that was breaking out of those old leftist moulds that saw the resources that were available were something for humans to use at will, and that we could have control over things, and how we divide up the spoils – to actually say, “no we need to do that within an ecological framework”. Social justice could not exist without ecological sustainability. And people could argue the reverse." David Holmgren (https://permaculturenews.org/2016/11/01/david-holmgren-social-political-underpinnings-permaculture/)

I also think the connection between social and ecological issues is important, and attempts to build an ecological society without addressing social issues are putting the cart before the horse! What do you think?

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