Shifting Paradigms: From Technocrat to Planetary Person

Drengson, Alan
Revised paper, which was first published in Environmental Ethics 3 (1980) 221-240. It was revised and reprinted in The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology (1995), edited by Alan Drengson and Yuichi Inoue. North Atlantic Press, Berkeley California, pages 74-100.

In this essay I examine the interconnections between two paradigms of technology, nature, and social life, and their associated environmental impacts. I will discuss how we are moving from the technocratic paradigms to the emerging ecological paradigms of the planetary person. The dominant technocratic philosophy which now guides policy and technological power is mechanistic. It conceptualizes nature as a resource to be controlled fully for human ends and it threatens to drastically alter the integrity of the planet’s ecosystems. In contrast, the organic, planetary person paradigm conceptualizes intrinsic value in all beings. Deep ecology movement principles give priority to community and ecosystem integrity and help to guide the design and applications of technology according to principles which follow from ecological understanding. I will describe this shift in paradigms and how it affects our perceptions, values, and actions.