8.1 Ecocentrism
It is commonly believed that the ecocentric root of modern environmentalism is 'nourished by the philosophies of the romantic transcendentalists of mid-nineteenth- century America'.  These advocated a democracy among God's creatures, such that nature was respected for its own sake, above and beyond its usefulness or relationship to man. Therefore man had a moral obligation towards nature not simply for the pleasure of man, but as a biotic right'.
However, while man might not be necessary to nature, the ecocyntric says that nature is necessary for man.  Natural architecture has a grandeur which both humbles and ennobles man and stimulates him to emulate it. Wild nature ... is an integral companion to man'  necessary for his emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing in the face of pressures from sophisticated and artificial urban living. While there is not necessarily any biological or economic justification in the bioethical value system ecocentrism is wide enough to embrace also the views of those who argue for nature on more pragmatic and rational grounds.
This argument, from an essentially scientific ecosystems perspective, puts man within nature, as part of natural ecosystems. Consequently, anything which man does affects the rest of the global system and "^reverberates through it - eventually back on to him. So, for his own sake, he should not plunder, exploit and destroy natural ecosystems - because in so doing he is destroying the biological foundation of his own life. Man is seen as subject to biological laws just as much as is the rest of nature, and so he must contribute to the stability and mutual harmony of the ecosystems of which he is a part. The biological law of carrying capacity has already been mentioned in this respect, but other 'laws' governing population size and dynamics, or laws of thermodynamics or laws governing systems behaviour (e.g. diversity equals stability) are held to apply also to social and economic man. Indeed, the whole paraphernalia of systems terminology is applied by the ecological school - sometimes to extremes which are faintly ludicrous.
If we see the goal of our system as that of capital formation through the pursuit of profits, then it is usually 'economic' to replace labour with machinery in doing work. But if the goal of our system is to produce happy and fulfilled people, then it makes economic sense to support an organisation of work which creates jobs but does not necessarily maximise profits. Schumacher was much concerned with work, and the need for it to be fulfilling and creative.  To improve the quality of work as part of an improved quality of life he proposed to reject the notion that 'high' (i.e. sophisticated and capital-intensive) technology is of merit for its own sake. He sought to encourage the development of simple machines which could be accessible to - and owned by - the majority of people, and which could be mixed in with manual labour to derive a partially-mechanised production process that would generate work. Thus the division-of-labour/production-line philosophy of classical economics would be deliberately destroyed. Schumacher's ideas have been put extensively into practice in the Third World as well as in Europe, and he elaborated upon them in Good Work (1980), published after his death.
Limits, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, small-scale production, low-impact technology, recycling, zero population and economic growth -these are all key words in the standard ecocentric vocabulary, which is liberally sprinkled through the three landmark publications described above. The Blueprint and Small is Beautiful are undoubtedly 'ecocentric' in outlook, though Limits has technocentric as well as ecocentric characteristics.
In discussing the ideological cross-currents of environmentalism, 'conservative ecocentrist'  is distingished from 'liberal ecocentrist'.  The former embraces the morality of limits and of lifeboat ethics, and the adherents of ecocentrist ideology belong to the no- growth school and to the ecological planners and amenity protectionists.  The latter are classed as a 'radical ecological activists' - i.e. an 'environmental educator' or citizen, who generally 'seeks fundamental changes in the values, attitudes and behaviour of individuals and social institutions through example and enlightenment, not by revolution or chaos'. The reveal themselves, to be politically more to the right than the former.