Is Becoming Ecocentric Possible?


It seems that today many environmentalists think it is best to become as ecocentric as possible.  As we learned in class, Native Americans and Eastern Traditions are the closest examples we have of it.  They are very concerned with essential sameness which means that everything has a reciprocal and equal relationship.  Both humans and nature are inextricably intertwined.  Though some of their practices may be unsustainable today with large population sizes, it is still important to learn from them.

One concern people not as aware of the environment might have is that changing our ideologies from anthropocentric to ecocentric is not possible to be able to keep advancing with technology, medicine, and civilization in general.  If we succumb to living with the land and being more conscious, we may have to largely revert our ways.  We would have to largely redo the economic and political system, and this would take decades.  Ideologies are deep-seated, and to be able to change them much work need to be done.  It is possible that the public will never think differently.  The question is, is this even possible?  It would be great to say that everyone wants to live sustainably, but with the American-way we are so obsessed with materialistic culture and being better.  We are an individualistic culture, where Native American and Eastern cultures are largely collectivist.  We are so fast-paced and preoccupied with “success,” making this ecocentric type of lifestyle would be quite challenging.  How could we even approach this change?  I have already seen some small changes toward being more sustainable just on campus, like more recycling opportunities as well as groups rallying against investment in fossil fuel companies.  The thing is, these things are miniscule compared to what would need to be done nationwide, and a college campus is quite contained and easily influenced (compared to the federal government at least).  Would incentives, subsidies, or just straight up changing of laws be best?  We have to look at people’s motivations, whether by reward or punishment, and make sure these actions put forward can reach and affect everyone in a positive way for the environment.

Annelise Wilimitis (Blog 5)


10 thoughts on “Is Becoming Ecocentric Possible?

  1. Unfortunately I do not see a more ecocentric world being possible unless there were incentives for doing so. The world comes down to money and if it costs money or doesn’t make money most people will not care since they do not see a tangible benefit or immediate return.

    One of the more interesting things from one of the Native American tribes was a principle of balance in the world. All life on earth was in constant balance where the death of an animal would be the birth of another. It was also taken from the perspective that when a person died, the world would become balanced again from the animals that person had to kill in their lifetime. The concept of natural balance like this is now something condensed to a line in the history books rather than a possible facet in the way people think about the natural world.

    Josh Obermeyer


    • I do agree that “money makes the world go round” or something like that. The thing is, people sometimes have emotional ties to things like cute endangered animals (for instance, the Giant Panda is now only threatened not endangered because of high donations and desire from the public to change it). I wonder if the information is presented to the public in a way that makes them want to change their behavior because of an emotional or intellectual response (like responsibility or stewardship), if this could work.

      I wonder if that theme of balance in Native American culture was condensed because of the largely unbalanced American life and not wanting to display it as such. Just a thought.


  2. I enjoyed your post but it is highly unlikely that our world will ever become more ecocentric. As others mentioned we live in a money oriented world. This is one of the main reasons or THE reason that individuals stop caring about the environment. When people say money talks they really mean it because everything that destroys natural life is from a money driven cause. We could use a tip or two from the Native Americans..


    • I disagree that money is the ONLY reason we stop caring about the environment. I think we also become more selfish with our time and our advancement with our jobs and our personal success. I wonder if there is a way to put money at the environmental advantage and make it the solution instead of the problem?


  3. As you said, it would be difficult to become completely ecocentric, though I think using that as an excuse to not attempt to make a difference is a cop-out. There are many things individuals can do to be more ecocentrc- ride bikes or public transportation instead of cars, be vegan or at least eat less meat, buy used before you buy new, recycle, compost, etc. If more people begin to live like this then the demand for as many resources will decrease and the way companies run will have to change. With a shift in the general mindset, advances in technology can be made in a more sustainable way.

    -Katie McNulty


    • I definitely agree with you that small personal changes can have larger effects, especially with our relationships with other people. If people see you making eco-friendly choices, it is bound to have positive repercussions in others’ lives. I wasn’t trying to say that small actions like recycling don’t make a difference, but in the bigger picture a lot more needs to be done for the earth (and our lives in it) to become better. We need to increase the demand for more environmental alternatives through our lifestyle choices, so that the government and businesses realize that we want this change.


  4. It is totally possible to live an ecocentric lifestyle but I believe as a society we have come to far to create an ecocentric society plainly due to the awesome technologies that have been recently introduced. Instead of finding joy in living on sustenance from the earth each individual wants more and more and is becoming more consumeristic as time goes on.

    Grant Moss


    • I’m confused on what you mean with your first sentence. Are you saying that we can’t change to ecocentric because we can’t stop being reliant on technology? If that is what you’re saying, just think about medicine. There are witches and holistic teachers that know much about natural remedies that are used in the medical field that have the same effect. Though administration and other aspects may be different, we have come so far that I definitely think there is a way to shift from anthro- to ecocentric.


  5. One thing that i have learned is that people do not like change. If you ask someone to change up their morning routine, they will probably be pretty upset and be pretty angry about it honestly. so getting someone to give up their cars and take public transport for an example is an extremely hard process because people don’t like change. Hopefully someday people will be more open minded and ready to change to protect the earth.

    – Tom walters


    • I agree that we as a people resist change. But things have usually been gradual with changes in human society. In my lifetime, I have been able to recognize changes in the mentality of the public with ideas about the environment. Recycling is more widespread, and people are become more in tune to science in my opinion. Though that book for the last section contradicts my statement, I do think change is possible as long as it is gradual. There will always be people really excited about change and people really resistant to change, but we just have to do what we can that is the best for our environment and our lives now and in the future.


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