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He concluded one letter to me in December 1996, about an apparent dispute I had with him on what I saw as his inconsistent views on so-called sustainable development.He wrote: Industrial societies cannot be reformed, green societies will not be industrial, but they may of course have industries.
Naess, to provoke, had called for a world population of 100 million people. 270.) The distinction between shallow and deep ecology made by Naess, although perhaps an invidious comparison which some have called self-serving, nevertheless became a signature and part of the language of ecophilosophy and radical environmentalism.
In fairness to Naess, he saw these two terms as argumentation patterns and not applied to people.
His unifying personal interactive style was very different from that of the late social ecologist Murray Bookchin, whose intellectual life was marked by many rancorous arguments, as Bookchin policed the interpretations of his works.
Naess came through in his writings not only as a deep thinker — and sometimes as an obscure writer but also as someone who was gentle, humble, and yet mischievous and playful.
We knew through many stories, that Arne, as well as a philosopher, was also an environmental activist, a boxer, and climbed mountains in Norway and around the world.
He did much of his thinking and writing in isolation, at a self-built work hut high on a Norwegian mountain, where lifes necessities: water, food, shelter, warmth, clean air and perhaps solitude — what he called in his philosophy human vital needs — came into much sharper focus.
In my own case I was inspired like so many others and came to critically adopt, and try to apply and propagate the deep ecology philosophy, starting in 1985.
My involvement in forestry and wildlife struggles in the late 1970s and the early 1980s in British Columbia and Nova Scotia had brought me to a position which made me open to Naess and ready to critically embrace his ideas.
He also saw that self-respect for an individual was important, before a principled non violent stand could be taken and the consequences accepted.
I had received a few personal letters and communications from him, about some essays which I had written and on various theoretical points/disputes which I had raised. Arne had an ability to bring out the positive in any clash of what could seem to be contending views.