The Minority Tradition and Direct Action as a Departure from the Technocratic-industrial Ideology

The minority tradition refers to a societal structure that is self-regulating and lacking in a centralized authority that employs large forces of police or military to regulate and control unwanted behavior. Many primal cultures operated in this manner and proved to be successful in meeting the social and psychological needs of its people as evidenced in anthropological studies of indigenous cultures throughout history. Examples of this today include small communities engaging in collective activities such as communal farming, childcare, education, spiritual practices, bargaining for goods and services, sharing of possessions such as autos, tools and dwellings, reducing the size of institutions and working on selective projects that benefit all members of the community.

Personal Concerted Action

In order to address the current environmental crisis effectively, individual action is vitally necessary and can be directed towards increasing ecological consciousness, taking-action within the political arena or working directly with environmental and other organizations that promote the sustainable use of natural resources and the preservation of habitats for fauna and flora. An evaluation of one’s personal lifestyle is a good place to begin by asking some fundamental questions. 

1. Do my possessions or purchases encourage an active and productive lifestyle, self-reliance and social involvement or do they result in my being dependent and passive?

2. Are the things that I consume useful and satisfying or do I consume things that I don’t really need?

3. Is my present career and lifestyle fraught with debt, maintenance and repair costs and expectations from those around me or from the values of society?

4. Do I think about how my use of the world’s resources affects others and the planet?  

Some of the primary forms of personal direct action include: working in political contexts; forming coalitions, protesting, being involved in the women’s movement which encourages feminine values such as (love, compassion, receptivity, caring, cooperation, listening, patience, nurturing, deep feeling, affirmation), working with religious organizations, questioning technology and its practices, working in green politics and taking part in global action. There are numerous resources to guide one in choosing a course of involvement and action that are easily attainable in most communities and especially through environmental agencies. Detailed information about this process is outside the scope of this discourse so I have not attempted to delve into this matter.

In conclusion, humanity is responsible for our current environmental problems, thus we are obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure we are changing our ideologies and lifestyles such that we incorporate ecological thinking and action in everything we do. In turn, our habitat will be more likely to sustain and nurture us and allow us to continue to achieve our evolutionary destiny as well as that of the Earth’s. 


Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered by Bill Devall and George Sessions, 1985 by Gibbs M. Smith, Inc. The Minority Tradition and Direct Action, pp. 17-39. Accessed 26 June 2020.

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