Murray Bookchin is a social critic, environmentalist, and writer. A self-described anarchist, he is often seen as the founder of "social ecology."
Bookchin was born in New York in 1921. In the 1950s, he emerged as an early environmentalist by raising concern about the effects produced by human interaction with the environment. His 1951 article, "The Problem of Chemicals," depicted the probable negative effects of chemicals on the environment and examined the link between these effects and human health.
Bookchin went on to formulate a theory of social ecology. Claiming that sound ecological practices
could result if, and only if, they were preceded by sound social practices, Bookchin emphasized that neither of these developments could occur without the other. He saw himself as an anarchist, convinced that natural ecology and anarchy were directly and naturally related.
Bookchin has also been a harsh critic of modern cities. Among his many works on this subject are Crisis in Our Cities (1965) and The Rise of
Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship (1987.) In these, Bookchin questions the standards of urban life; in the latter work, he also advances green ideas for the next century. In addition, Bookchin has been a firm critic of "deep ecology," which he believes lacks the sense that ecological problems are rooted in society. As an alternative, Bookchin again advocates social ecology
as rational, revolutionary, and radically green -- and as a means of involving citizens and incorporating them into environmental solutions.
Murray Bookchin's collected works