Theorists of Green Politics

Ernst Friedrich Schumacher (1911–77) A German-born UK economist and environmental thinker, Schumacher championed the cause of human-scale production and advanced a ‘Buddhist’ economic philosophy (economics ‘as if people mattered’) that stresses the importance of morality and ‘right livelihood’. His key work is Small is Beautiful (1973).

Arne Naess (1912–2009) A Norwegian philosopher who was influenced by the teachings of Spinoza, Gandhi and Buddha, Naess was the leading advocate of ‘deep ecology’, arguing that ecology should be concerned with every part of nature on an equal basis, because natural order has an intrinsic value. His writings include Ecology, Community and Lifestyle (1989).

Garrett Hardin (1915–2003) A US ecologist and microbiologist, Hardin is best known for the idea of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (1968). He developed an uncompromising form of ecologism that warned against the dangers of population growth and freedom. Hardin’s chief works include The Tragedy of the Commons (1968) and Lifeboat Ethics (1974).

Murray Bookchin (1921–2006) A US libertarian socialist, Bookchin highlighted parallels between anarchism and ecology through the idea of ‘social ecology’, and was also strongly critical of the ‘mystical’ ideas of deep ecology, which he dubbed ‘eco-la-la’. His major works in this field include The Ecology of Freedom ([1982]) and Re-Enchanting Humanity (1995).

Carolyn Merchant (born 1936) A US ecofeminist philosopher and historian of science, Merchant portrays female nature as the benevolent mother of all undermined by the ‘dominion’ model of nature that emerged out of the scientific revolution and the rise of market society. Her main works include The Death of Nature (1983) and Radical Ecology (1992).

Vandana Shiva (born 1952) An Indian ecofeminist activist and nuclear physicist, Shiva is a trenchant critic of the biotechnology industry. She argues that the advance of globalization has threatened biodiversity and deepened poverty, particularly among women. Her writings include Monocultures of the Mind (1993) and Stolen Harvest (1999).

James Lovelock (born 26 July 1919) is a British independent scientist, environmentalist and futurist. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system