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As the global climate crisis and the spreading radiation from the Fukishima nuclear reactor melt-down demonstrate, the destruction that humans cause to the environment now transcends national boundaries and cannot be repaired with technological solutions or societal value systems that continue to prioritize human desires above ecological limits. For bioregionalism to work in creating a viable future, it is necessary to have a biocentric value system, in which the well-being and flourishing of non-human life has value in itself, independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes. The richness and diversity of life forms are valuable in themselves.
The philosophy of Deep Ecology posits that humans have no right to reduce the richness and diversity of ecosystems except to satisfy vital human needs. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive and is rapidly worsening. Policies that need to be changed affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. Deep ecologists believe that those who subscribe to these ideas have an obligation to try to implement the necessary changes.
This workshop on Biocentrism and Deep Ecology explains these concepts, explores what changes would need to be made, and examines activist struggles and movements within Cascadia that have pursued these goals.
BIO: Karen Coulter has been part of the Earth First! movement since 1984 and an activist since 1980. She is a naturalist who has spent the last 23 years as co-founder and director of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project getting to know the forest ecosystems and wildlife of eastern Oregon. She has spent most of every summer in the forests field-surveying thousands of acres of proposed timber sales to protect biodiversity and ecological integrity. She has also been a principal activist with the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy; a Board member of the Fund for Wild Nature; and a campaigner for Greenpeace International. She currently volunteers withPortland Rising Tide and works with Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. She has given workshops on Biocentrism and Deep Ecology at an Earth First! Organizers Conference in Florida and at an Earth First! regional rendezvous in Oregon.
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