This post is an update to the Statement of Commitment to Ecocentrism that I made on April 28, 2020.
Although I have signed this statement, I want to point out that it neglects to acknowledge the roles of Indigenous peoples around the world in promoting values closely related to ecocentrism. (I do not mean to oversimplify the diverse Indigenous cultures of the world, but most would find resonance with the idea of the “intrinsic (inherent) value in all of nature and the ecosphere.”) The First Nations peoples of Turtle Island and have been especially vocal in this regard. One significant example that comes to mind is “A Basic Call to Consciousness: The Hau De No Sau Nee Address to the Western World,” which was written primarily by John Mohawk (Sotsisowah), a historian, writer, and activist of the Seneca Nation, and was presented in Geneva, Switzerland in 1977, as part of the International Non-Governmental Organization Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. More recently, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass has reached thousands and thousands of readers. Also, in the past decade, Indigenous water protectors using the Lakota words Mní Wičóni, “water is life,” have stood up against the petroleum industry. Adrián Villaseñor Galarza has also written of the “ancestral deep ecology” of the Indigenous peoples of Central and South America. The establishment of systems of human supremacy over the past several centuries–systems that are now global in scale–has gone hand in hand with colonization and genocide of Indigenous peoples and the destruction of their lifeways. Proponents of ecocentrism today have an obligation to learn from and ally with Indigenous peoples, many of whom are front-line defenders of the ecosphere.