The Ecocentric Alliance: Our history

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A mini-history of the Ecocentric Alliance

by Ian Whyte

The Ecocentric Alliance had its beginnings in the late 1980s, when environmental activist David Orton of Nova Scotia created a discussion group called "Left-Biocentrism". I met David in the mid 1980s and by that time he had already adopted the eight points of Deep Ecology. David was also strongly committed to social justice and he melded the two viewpoints into one philosophical position, which is what he called Left Bicocentrism. ("Left" he equated to both social justice and anti-capitalism, and "Biocentrism" he equated to ecocentrism.) David strongly believed that each of the components of Left Biocentrism — ecology and social justice — were necessary if either was to succeed. However, he also felt (correctly, in my opinion) that the ecological aspect was the primary component, with the human aspect being a strong, but secondary, one. In all this, David was strongly supported by his wife, Helga.

After David adopted one of his well-thought-out positions, he would neither change nor compromise it. Much of his thinking is still available at his website, which is maintained by Helga.

Over the years, a growing discussion group developed and a list server was created. It evolved into our group, the Ecocentric Alliance (a name first suggested by former member Susan Duarte).

David died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and those of us who knew him lost a good friend. An interview with David shortly before he died can be found here.