chapter  4
15 Pages

Why Society Matters

There are a number of reasons why people may think that it is obvious that society matters. These include:

• Our society is the problem. It leads us to despoil nature and/or to lose sight of our place in nature. So, for example, as Simon Schama (1995, p. 13) tells us: “Though environmental history offers some of the most original and challenging history now being written, it inevitably tells the same dismal tale: of land taken, exploited, exhausted; of traditional cultures said to have lived in a relation of sacred reverence with the soil displaced by the reckless individualist, the capitalist aggressor”. Or, to take a different sort of example, deep ecology identifi es Western societies as alienating us from our true selves through a process of social programming, substituting the ego in place of a true sense of belonging within a community of living beings (Devall and Sessions, 1985).