Skip to content
ACE2358 Thinking Like a Mountain: An Introduction to Deep Ecology (Evening, online delivery only) is a Course

ACE2358 Thinking Like a Mountain: An Introduction to Deep Ecology (Evening, online delivery only)

Starts Feb 2, 2023

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description


Course Overview

Arno Naess, the Norwegian philosopher, mountaineer and Gandhi scholar was the first to use the term “Deep Ecology”. Deep ecology thinking asks questions like - What if we can expand our individual sense of self to embrace all living beings? or What if environmental protection could arise from a deepened identification and empathy with all living beings rather than moralistic arguments or a sense of duty? This course will offer participants a chance to engage with accessible deep ecology writings that go beyond a concern with our human place in nature to think about every part of nature on an equal basis.

The phrase “Thinking like a Mountain” was coined by Aldo Leopold and relates to the development of his thinking on human–ecological relationships, which led him to believe that it was an ecological and evolutionary necessity for humankind to extend human ethics from the human sphere to cover all living beings.

The call at the heart of deep ecology is to dissolve the boundaries of what we perceive as our self and to realize our profound interconnectedness with all that exists. This call carries immense power with it. Now, more than ever, we need this power, as it not only helps us to change the way we act in this world, but to change the way we perceive, think and feel.

The lecture delivery – while focussed on examining deep ecology writings and practices - is accompanied by visual and photographic presentations of Irish landscapes. These will vary from the Gearagh, where Diarmuid has undertaken extensive research, to mountain landscapes where Diarmuid has worked for 20 years providing outdoor training and environmental education. Relevant material from interviews Diarmuid has undertaken during research will also be integrated into the lectures.

There will be a short reading that participants will read during non-course hours each week and this will be discussed in the lecture the following week. This provides a practical opportunity for participants to critically engage with the readings and a forum where they can share their thoughts and insights with other participants.


Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Thurday evenings 7-9pm for six weeks from 2 Febuary to 9 March 2023.

Online over Microsoft Teams

Closing date for appliations: Monday, 23 January 2023


Week 1: Thinking Like a Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Origins of the Deep Ecology. Movement. The first lecture is a general introduction to the writers and thinkers that will feature in the following weeks. This will begin with considering the origins of the term ‘deep ecology’ and its roots in the writings of writers such as Aldo Leopold.

Week 2: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Other Writings. Arno Naess. This week will examine the origins of the modern environmental movement and the emergence of deep ecology thinking in the work of Arno Naess and his idea of ‘the ecological self’.

Week 3:  The Work That Reconnects: Joanna Macy. Here we’ll consider the work of Joanna Macy and the transformative practices that have become known as ‘The Work That Reconnects’.  

Week 4: Thomas Berry and Deep Time. This week will explore the thinking of Thomas Berry focussing on selected chapters of his book ‘The Great Work: Our Way into the Future’. Berry wonders about our moment in time in the context of 4 billion of earth life and evolution.

Week 5: Robin Wall Kimmerer and ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s thinking is both mythic and scientific, sacred and historical. It is rooted deeply in indigenous knowledge. She explores the reciprocal relationship between our species and plants.   

Week 6: Tim Robinson and John Moriarty and  Review of the Course. This lecture will explore some of the work of these two Irish writers in the context of the preceding weeks. We will also review the ideas explored of the course.

This course was featured in Adult Continuing Education's  yearly newspaper and you can read the article at the following link, page 3.



Course Lecturer

Diarmuid Crowley teaches the 1st year ‘Environmental Geography’ module and the 3rd year ‘Geography of Heritage’ module in the Geography Department in UCC. His research interests are human–ecological relationships with a focus on nature conservation and protection. His MRes Research Masters “The River in the Forest: Conservation Conflict in the Gearagh, County Cork” (2018) investigated conservation issues in the Gearagh through the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders. Diarmuid has also worked for 20 years providing outdoor training and environmental education.



Entry Requirements 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Contact Details for Further Information