Who & What are THEY?:
While the field of ecology focuses on the relationships between organisms and their environments, social ecology is concerned with the relationships between human populations and their environments.
Social ecology is, in the words of its leading exponents, "a coherent profound critique of current social, political, and anti-ecological trends" as well as "a reconstructive, ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society". Social ecology is a profound view of ecology and of social/political systems.
Social ecologists believe that the current ecological crisis is the product of capitalism. They believe it is not the number of people, but the way people relate to one another that has fueled the current economic, social, and ecological crises that the world currently faces. Over-consumption, productivism and consumerism are thus symptoms, not causes, of a deeper issue with ethical relationships within societies.
Social ecology and anarchism
Undoubtedly social ecology is one of the most influential currents in the eco-anarchist thread within anarchism. Social ecology is associated with the ideas and works of Murray Bookchin, who had written on such matters from the 1950s until his death, and, from the 1960s, had combined these issues with revolutionary social anarchism. His works include Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Toward an Ecological Society, The Ecology of Freedom, and a host of others.
Social ecology locates the roots of the ecological crisis firmly in relations of domination between people. The domination of nature is seen as a product of domination within society, but this domination only reaches crisis proportions under capitalism. In the words of Murray Bookchin:
"The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man… But it was not until organic community relations… dissolved into market relationships that the planet itself was reduced to a resource for exploitation. This centuries-long tendency finds its most exacerbating development in modern capitalism. Owing to its inherently competitive nature, bourgeois society not only pits humans against each other, it also pits the mass of humanity against the natural world. Just as men are converted into commodities, so every aspect of nature is converted into a commodity, a resource to be manufactured and merchandised wantonly." (Op. Cit., p. 63)
"The plundering of the human spirit by the market place is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital." (Ibid., p. 65)
The University of California, Irvine offers a Bachelor's Degree in social ecology.
* UC Irvine, School of Social Ecology
* Institute for Social Ecology (ISE)
* Libertarian Communist Library Murray Bookchin holdings
* Social Ecology Research Group
* The Ecology by barrameda.com.ar
* Essay: A Social Ecology