Animal liberationists should, by default, care about protecting the Earth and its animal inhabitants, but the Earth liberation struggle is often overlooked by the animal rights movement in favour of focusing on the exploitation of animals through bloodsports, the farming of animals for food/clothing and vivisection. The impact our society has on wild, free-living animals and Nature as a whole is paid little attention, and veganism is hailed as the sole, perfect solution for liberating animals.
Most mainstream ecologists and conservation biologists speak about Nature in anthropocentric terms of “resources” and “ecosystem services” that must be preserved for humans, allowing us to exploit the Earth in a “sustainable” way leaving behind enough resources for future human generations. However, radical ecological ways of thinking such as deep ecology see things in ecocentric terms, where all forms of life have inherent value and a right to survive and thrive without threat, regardless of how useful or desirable they are to humans. Social ecology suggests that the root cause of environmental exploitation is the hierarchical, capitalist society we live in. Ecofeminism highlights how the fights for liberation of both women and the Earth are inextricably linked through their exploitation and oppression by the patriarchy. Ecofeminists often reject the gendering of Nature through the use of the terms “Mother Nature/Earth” – the patriarchy has defined both women and Nature as beings who merely exist to give birth, or provide resources/life for society.
Being vegan and anti-speciesist, therefore, is not enough to end the exploitation of all non-human animals and the ecosystems in which they live. Capitalism, the patriarchy and anthropocentrism strip animals of the freedom to live unthreatened in their natural homes, as vital parts of intact ecosystems without which they would not survive. We need to cultivate our ecological consciousnesses, understand the importance and complexity of ecosystems and Nature, and consider where we fit in as human animal inhabitants of the Earth.
We should seek to involve ourselves with Earth liberation, feminist, and anti-capitalist activism, and encourage solidarity with these struggles; creating an intersectional movement. Liberation of the Earth and Nature will not occur while humans live in a hierarchical, patriarchal, anthropocentric society.
“The notion that man is destined to dominate nature is by no means a universal feature of human culture. If anything, this notion is almost completely alien to the outlook of so-called primitive or preliterate communities. I cannot emphasize too strongly that the concept emerged very gradually from a broader social development: the increasing domination of human by human.”
– Murray Bookchin