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Wisdom in the Open Air: The Norwegian Roots of Deep Ecology

Copyright Date: 1993
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Wisdom in the Open Air
    Book Description:

    An introduction to Nordic deep ecological thought and its impact on the evolving worldwide environmental movement.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8465-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-ix)
    David Rothenberg
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction: Deep Ecology from Summit to Blockade
    (pp. 1-35)

    What is deep ecology? Put simply and broadly, it is the belief that today's environmental problems are symptomatic of deeper problems in our society, and that this belief requires an effort to solve these fundamental problems, not just retrofitting our current practices to be in line with environmentally correct mores.

    It means, for example, that we should not stop with the building of more fuel-efficient automobiles, but question whether we need to be so dependent on these machines at all, and devise a society that would not need so many of them. It means not only developing methods of sustainable...

  5. Chapter 2 Peter Wessel Zapffe
    (pp. 37-63)

    When Peter Wessel Zapffe penned this homage to Stetind, a stark horn of granite jutting out of the sea in northern Norway, the population of that country was but three-fourths of its current four million. Before most Norwegians had begun to think of nature's beauty as something that required protection, Zapffe was already warning against the roads, dams, and tourism that threatened to desecrate nature's quiet sanctuary. And though a sensitivity to natural grandeur was nothing new in Norway, Zapffe was the first Norwegian thinker to develop a philosophical critique of man’s relationship with the environment; he is in that...

  6. Chapter 3 Arne Naess
    (pp. 65-111)

    There is a photograph of Arne Naess being carried away by policemen in flat-topped caps during the Mardøla demonstration. He is smiling gently, and seems to be enjoying the whole thing or accepting the whole procedure as being inevitable. Another photograph, from twenty years before, shows an Arne Naess with a heavy, bushy beard, staring intently with furrowed brow at a copy of Spinoza'sEthics,taken inside a tent high in the Himalaya.

    These two images show but two extremes of Arne Naess’s multifaceted Self, in theory and praxis, in reflection and in the public view. Both are a mixture...

  7. Chapter 4 Sigmund Kvaløy
    (pp. 113-153)

    Sigmund Kvaløy has been called, with no exaggeration, Norway’s leading environmentalist.¹ For the past twenty-five years there have been few ecological maelstroms he was not somehow mixed up in, and the ideas, protests, and organizations he initiated have permanently changed the face of Norwegian ecopolitics. Determined to integrate philosophical thought and political action, Kvaløy confounds those who would make a neat distinction between the theory and practice of ecophilosophy.

    Kvaløy’s involvement with ecophilosophy and ecopolitics began shortly after taking his philosophy degree with a dissertation on communication theory and electronic music. Shortly thereafter, encounters with the concrete canyons of New...

  8. Chapter 5 Nils Faarlund
    (pp. 155-175)

    An important strain in deep ecological thinking is Self-realization: a “strong identification with the whole of nature in its diversity and interdependence of parts.”¹ The notion of Self-realization is closely linked to the idea of a “sense of place”;² both imply an empathetic identification with our home environment and a desire to protect it.

    But there is a step missing here. Fine principles like “love thy place as thyself” are easy to agree with, but often have about as much existential impact as a Wiffle ball. It is not enough to agree that we should love our place; we have...

  9. Chapter 6 Finn Alnæs
    (pp. 177-191)

    Finn Alnses is one of Norway’s foremost contemporary novelists. And he is the one literary figure to be explicitly involved in the country’s ecological movement of the 1970s. From his practical efforts in the Mardøla action to his more artistic presentations of ecological questions in his novels, he has shown how literature in particular and the arts in general can be closely allied with the issues of deep ecology. In two sentences he sums up a creative philosophy that directs his artistic treatment of nature: Our old spectator attitude to nature is now unthinkable, because we now know that everything...

  10. Chapter 7 Johan Galtung
    (pp. 193-209)

    Johan Galtung has been called many things: “the most prominent social scientist Norway has produced in the modern age,” “the worldwide intellectual advocate of the suffering and the oppressed,” or “the kind of professor who is constantly moving from one university to another, and when he does, both institutions gain in status.”

    Most of Galtung’s extensive work is stamped with his penchant for symmetric systems and clever models that make everything look far too simple and straightforward. These elaborate world models and systematizations of concepts as broad as “peace” and “development” are never meant to be taken as doctrine or...

  11. Chapter 8 Erik Dammann and The Future in Our Hands
    (pp. 211-227)

    Over the past fifteen years, an alternative movement has developed in Norway called The Future in Our Hands (FIOH). It is relevant to our book for several reasons: unlike some of the more theoretical or analytical work discussed here, it seeks directly to reach a wide range of people at all levels in society, those interested and involved in the process of changing toward a more self-reliant, Earth-touching way of life. Many of its goals are similar to those of the deep ecologists, but some of its premises and methods of argumentation are different. But because of the direct desire...

  12. Chapter 9 Conclusion: Deep Ecology as a Force for Change
    (pp. 229-240)

    From Zapffe to Dammann, it seems we have traversed a rocky path from pessimistic realization to hope that something can be done. Ideas have been presented in poem, story, argument, and discussion, and all aim to serve as an impetus toward change. We have seen in the Introduction how the achievements of Norwegian environmental activists have been impressive — both in terms of single-issue victories and in broader systemic changes that flowed out of waterpower controversies. But the question after the course of ideas is, How deep has Norwegian ecology really been?

    Tracing the influence of a system of thought is...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 241-248)
  14. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 249-252)
  15. Index
    (pp. 253-257)