breathing with the alder: C fitzgerald 2011

breathing with the alder: video still   c fitzgerald, 2011

Update 2021: I wrote the below post when I began my doctoral studies. I now teach a unique ONLINE course – the Haumea Essential Ecoliteracy 7-week course – to help creatives and art professionals across the world understand the ecology emergency and what it means for the creative sector- see more here: please note, course places fill quickly, but I do maintain a waitlist. Thank you!

A very useful glossary of ecocritical terms can be found in Lawrence Buell‘s excellent overviewthe Future of environmental criticism – environmental crisis and literary imagination‘ (2005)

Most ecocritical thought has developed in literary studies. Only very recently, post 2004, has activity occurred in film / media studies theory.
3 key terms from this work include
  • ‘anthropocentrism : the assumption or view that the interest of humans are of higher priority than those of non-humans. Often used as an antonym for biocentrism or ecocentrism. Can cover a multitude of possible positions., from positive conviction (strong anthropocentrism) that human instersts should prevail, to the belief that zero-degree anthropocentrism is not feasible or desirable (weak anthropocentrism). So it is entirely possible without hypocrisy to maintain biocentric values in principle while recognizing that in practice must be constrained by  anthropocentric considerations, whether as a matter of strategy or as a matter of intractable self-interestedness.
  • biocentrism : the view that all organisms, including humans, are part of a larger biotic web or network or community whose interests must constrain or direct the human interest. Used as a semi-synonym for ecocentrism and in antithesis to anthropocentrism. But even most self-identified biocentrists or ecocentrists recognise these ethical paradigms as ideals toward which we strive, rather than actualities likely to be implemented in practice.
  • ecocentrism : the view in environmental ethics that the interest of the ecosphere must override that of the interest of individual species. Used like the semi-synonymous biocentrism in antithesis to anthropocentrism, but whereas biocentrism refers specifically to the world of organisms, ecocentrism points to the interlinkage of the organismal and the inanimate. Ecocentrism covers a range of possible specific ecophilosophies. In general, ecocentrists hold that ‘the world is an intrinsically dynamic, interconnected web of relations” with “no absolute dividing lines between the living and the nonliving, the animate and the inanimate”. The origins of modern ecocentric ethics are traceable to Aldo Leopold, inventor of the “land ethic,”  which enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals” (Leopold, 1949). ‘