In Arne Næss’s words, ‘think dutifully, act beautifully.’ Those words resonate so deeply with me, and a law of Ecocide can be said to be a legal expression of his intent.
In 2010 I proposed into the United Nations that Ecocide be an international Crime Against Peace. Since then, I have been taking this big idea out into the world. You can read more about the law of Ecocide at www.eradicatingecocide.com.
It has been my honour to be the 2013 Arne Naess Chair at SUM, Oslo University. SUM, Centre for Development and the Environment, is ‘an inter-faculty centre with focus on inter-disciplinary research, network activities and coordination of research collaboration within the University of Oslo, and with external institutions. The Centre shall function as a driving force (drivkraft) within the University as well as in society and the private sector. SUM works with research, teaching and dissemination of knowledge about development and the environment, with emphasis on the interface between development and the environment. SUM provides teaching at all levels and offers courses to collaborating faculty programs at bachelor, master and Ph.D. levels.’ (Source: University of Oslo Board, January 26, 2004)
The intent of the Arne Naess project is to work in the spirit of Arne Naess, and to explore together the concept of deep ecology in action. Academia today embraces many diverse and holistic approaches and when we work from a principle of ‘first do no harm‘ then the outcome can only be creative. To ‘think dutifully, act beautifully‘ is what each and every one of the people and projects that are highlighted here are putting into action. The Arne Naess Project has shone a light on some projects that will greatly benefit from a law of Ecocide that puts people and planet first.
The Arne Naess Project students are entering into a deeper enquiry; collaborating, sharing and asking the questions we do not know the answer to. Each week we met for an open space of deeper enquiry and hosting. There was one caveat: come only if it makes your heart sing. There were no essays: we played with coloured pens to explore the interconnectedness of our work, key words and clustering to bring to light the common themes, we role-played with the art of powerful questions and we learned how to build a website.
This is a shift from the norms of teaching; I have learned as much if not more from the students and we have discovered new tools to explore some of the deeper levels not normally explored. It’s a path without an end, and it is hoped that many others will follow.