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What is ‘Deep Ecology’?

By: Mads McElgunn, ELA Director

One of my favorite newsletters, The Overview from Atmos Magazine, recently published an article on Deep Ecology that piqued my interest. As ELA continues to expand and evolve, one of the main goals of this publication is to foster a deeper sense of community and to help in building a community of practice. So what is Deep Ecology and how can it help in this effort? 


Deep Ecology is an environmental practice and social movement based on the belief that humans must radically change their relationship with nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness, to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value. This may sound like an impossible, uphill battle, however, this community is one that is abundantly curious and concerned with our ecological landscapes. 


As land stewards, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to our environments, the plants we choose to grow, and where we choose to grow them. However, caring for the land is a community practice. Creating a curious, well-informed approach is at the heart of the ELA mission and vision. Incorporating this idea of Deep Ecology into our communities may help inspire people to take action in their landscapes. 


I do not doubt the ELA community’s ability to see the inherent value nature offers each of us and its impact on our communities. Landscaping, caring for the land, and ecology is deeply rooted in community, and I think many of us already practice Deep Ecology without realizing it. 


One of the goals of this newsletter is to create greater recognition of our shared values as part of the ELA community, and offer space for more interconnectedness to explore these values. As an organization, ELA is always evolving in an effort to grow and expand our reach. As we continue to transform and soften some of the inevitable tensions that come from change, Deep Ecology can serve as an important reminder of why we are all here. We all want to leave a positive impact on our landscapes and in our communities.


To practice Deep Ecology is to understand the connections between our natural environment and ourselves. If any group of individuals can handle the task of creating community support and culture change, it is this incredible ELA community.


It is truly a privilege to work with, interact with, and speak with ELA members. The two things I have most commonly heard in my short time with ELA, are that the community is naturally curious and excited and that we all feel responsible for the land. These two qualities alone are what provide a strong foundation for the ELA community to be successful in achieving goals and objectives – be they company professional, community, personal, and even organizational goals.


As we all continue to move forward, a deeper understanding and connection to Deep Ecology as a root for our inspiration and motivation is sure to only strengthen this already amazing community.