Deep Ecology and the Conservation of Nature

Deep Ecology is a philosophy of nature which sees that underlying the environmental crisis there is a psychological or spiritual disease stemming from the illusion of separation between humans and the rest of the natural world. The late Arne Naess, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy from Oslo University, Norway who coined the term "deep ecology" pointed out that our "ecological ideas are not enough to protect the Earth, we need ecological identity, ecological self". With a presentation which includes music and poetry, John Seed shows us how to nourish our ecological identity and align ourselves with Earth.

The experience of deep ecology leads to a deepening of our love for the natural world and empowerment and vision for the protection of Nature. In the 2nd part of this presentation, John will speak of this and show a couple of short films about projects for the protection of nature in S India including the reforestation of Arunachala in Tamil Nadu and the protection of the worlds largest remaining population of wild Asian elephants in the Nilgiris.

How the Australian Rainforests were Saved - the Influence of Gandhi

The world's first direct action in defense of rainforests took place at Terania Creek in northern New South Wales, Australia in 1979. Strongly influenced by Gandhi's principle of satyagraha, the actions were hugely influential and led to the NSW government's historic legislation in 1982 protecting the majority of the sub-tropical rainforests there. Those of us who participated in this campaign were local people from the region with no previous experience of environmental activism. But some had travelled in the Himalayas and heard about the successes of the Chipko movement so we decided to embrace the trees and see what happened. As a result after 2 years and some 200 arrests for non-violent civil disobedience, the campaign had touched the hearts of the people of New South Wales: an opinion poll found that over 70% of the people wanted an end to rainforest logging, the courts ruled in our favour, and the state government passed historic legislation protecting the majority of NSW rainforests in a string of national parks which stretched over 800 km from the Queensland border almost to Sydney.

This was followed in 1982 by a similarly successful campaign in Tasmania. Some of us NSW campaign veterans accepted an invitation from the Tasmanian Wilderness Society to help set up a blockade in that island state in the far south of Australia, to try and stop the damming of the Franklin and Gordon Rivers and subsequent flooding of the heart of the temperate rainforest wilderness there. We set up the base camp up river and conducted trainings in non-violent direct action.

This turned into the biggest environmental action in Australian history - over 3000 people came from all over the country to participate (if we compare Australia's population to that of India, this would be like 150,000 people converging to protect an icon of nature in your country). Over 1500 were arrested before this area too was protected, the dam stopped and national parks declared.

Finally in 1986, the protection of the tropical rainforests of Queensland was assured using similar strategies and moral principles with the blockade at Cape Tribulation in the far north of that state.

Using film and music as well as spoken word, John Seed moves from this historic drama to discuss the state of India's and the world's rainforests today.