Copyright © 2016 - 2018, The Troy Press
Copyright © 2016 - 2018, The Troy Press

Introduction To Environmental Columns

My name is Jeff Hoffman and I will be writing environmental columns for The Troy Press. This column will be an introduction to my points of view and the types of columns you can expect from me.

I am an Earth First! deep ecologist first and foremost. "Earth First!" in this sense means that I value all life equally; that is, I don't value human life as better or more important than any other form of life. It also means that I don't compromise in defense of Mother Earth, as the old Earth First! logo goes. Being a deep ecologist means that I recognize that all forms and species of life have their own intrinsic value, totally apart from any benefits that they may have for humans. And by "first and foremost" I mean that I give absolute priority to the natural world, the Earth, and wildlife, above all other human concerns like economics or social issues. I realize that all issues are important to someone or they wouldn't be issues, but priorities can be just as important as which side one is on and these are mine.

None of this makes me a progressive in the traditional sense of that word. I agree with progressives and the left on most issues, but our priorities are totally different. For example, I would not agree to sacrifice non-human life and a portion of the natural environment to provide jobs for humans, even the most downtrodden ones. Humans as a whole are thriving, while the natural world and all that lives there are suffering, with some species facing extinction or already becoming extinct. Considering this situation, I cannot in all good conscience support any human endeavors that harm the natural world or anything that lives there.

I also do not agree with the western views on what is life. Everything in the natural world is alive: the land, air, water, and sky, along with the plants and animals are all part of our wonderful web of life and all deserve our respect if not our love. Additionally, I feel that we are all one with everything and each other, so that any attack on the natural world is an attack on me because I'm a tiny part of that world, as is everyone else. For example, if I were to see a tree being logged (a polite term for "killed"), I would feel that as an attack on me.

The natives in the movie Avatar, whose characters come from traditional indigenous people living in the rainforests of South America, come pretty close to capturing my point of view. This is the foundation of my attitude and should alert you to what you can expect from my columns.

Finally, I am vehemently and unequivocally anti-war. As some of us Earth First!ers said when we were protesting the first Iraq war, war is bad for all species, and industrial war even more so. Almost all war is immoral killing of humans, and it's also killing of other species and destruction of portions of the Earth.

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