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SC2033 Thinking like the Mountain: Developing a Deeper Understanding of Ecology and Environmentalism is a Course

SC2033 Thinking like the Mountain: Developing a Deeper Understanding of Ecology and Environmentalism

Ended 4 Mar 2021

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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 spring 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 the 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 to dissolve the boundaries of what we perceive as our self and to realize our profound interconnectedness with all that exists 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 and towards this world, but to change the way we perceive, think and feel. 

This course offers participants the opportunity to explore accessible writings and practices that explore a radical shift in human consciousness – a fundamental shift in the way people relate to the environment. 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 both 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.

The lecture delivery – while focussed on examining deep ecology writings and practices - will be accompanied by visual and photographic presentations of Irish natural 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.

Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Thursdays 7-9pm for six weeks from 28 January to 4 March. 


Week 1: Thinking Like The Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Origins of the Deep Ecology Movement

Week 2: Rachel Carson and “Silent Spring”

Week 3: Arne Naess

Week 4: The Work That Reconnects: Joanna Macy

Week 5: The Ecological Self: Joanna Macy

Week 6: Thomas Berry and Deep Time

Course Lecturer

Dr Diarmuid Crowley. Diarmuid teaches the ‘Geography of Heritage’ module to 3rd Year students 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.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: