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Los Angeles urban agriculture: a deep ecology and ecopsychology perspective on environmentalism

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Title: Los Angeles urban agriculture: a deep ecology and ecopsychology perspective on environmentalism
Author: Melinkoff, Alexander A.
Abstract: Humanity is on a trajectory in which environmental crises are worsening. There are many efforts directed at resolving the multitude of environmental problems, but the environmental movement as a whole remains unsuccessful in stopping the rate of ecological exploitation and degradation. Deep Ecology argues that this is because traditional environmentalism addresses symptoms and not root causes of environmental abuse. According to Deep Ecology, the process of industrial-technological modernization and the advent of urbanism have alienated human populations (primarily the consumers of more ‘developed’ nations) from Nature itself. This alienation involves a hegemonic worldview that humans and Nature are fundamentally separate, and that Nature’s value consists only in how it can be utilized by human beings. Deep Ecology asserts that successful environmentalism requires a paradigmatic shift to a worldview that all life has intrinsic worth and should not be exploited for the non-vital needs of humanity. Because the physical separation of urban lifestyles from ecosystems further deepens the current state of alienation, Deep Ecology insists that people need more contact with Nature to mend this problematic rift. The developing field of Ecopsychology overlaps with Deep Ecology and provides supportive theories. Proponents agree that experiencing Nature is an important part of a successful environmental movement. Contact with Nature facilitates appreciation for, and identification with, other species and ecosystems. This thesis has explored urban agricultural gardening as a practical application of these theories. Interviews were conducted with gardeners in Los Angeles County to explore how their gardening experiences have impacted both their relationships with Nature as well as their environmental behavior. The data suggests that gardening is a meaningful way for urban dwellers to connect with Nature. It also indicates that such a process of connecting can positively influence environmentally responsible behaviors. According to the theories of Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology, urban gardening should be promoted as a way of improving environmentalism by addressing the root causes of environmental abuse and reconnecting society with Nature.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--Humboldt State University, Social Science: Environment and Community, 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2148/1269
Date: 2012-12

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  • Masters Theses [874]
    A collection of selected Masters Theses in electronic format.

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