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Eco-anarchism argues that small eco-villages (of no more than a few hundred people) are the correct scale of human living, and that infrastructure and political systems should be re-organized to ensure that these are created.

It combines older trends towards primitivism, bioregional democracy, feminism (as eco-feminism), pacifism, secession and intentional community. It is the dedication to these ideals that distinguish it from the more general 'big-G' Green anarchism which sees a continuing role for global institutions and global definitions of fairness and safety, or at least dialogue towards those. In general, eco-anarchists reject the notion of humanity as a whole and human dignity in particular.

One of the most influential pieces of eco-anarchist literature is Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which relates conversations between a man and an ape. This is typical of eco-anarchist literature, in which such concepts as Great Ape personhood and bioregional democracy are often taken for granted, as pre-requisites to a more peaceful society. This book won a contest run by Ted Turner to find alternatives to the traditional "eat the rich" opposition to capitalism. This sponsorship and peaceful coexistence strategy makes some other anarchist movements suspicious, as they reject collaboration with groups they see as enemies. Other authors espousing eco-anarchism include Derrick Jensen, Murray Bookchin, and John Zerzan. For those interested in Daniel Quinn, his more recent non-fiction book "Beyond Civilization" is an excellent supplement to "Ishmael", and a more explicitly anarchist text for its focus on hierarchical and economic factors as the key to our ecological & social crises. A highly recommended book, broken into one section per page for clarity. (Note that Quinn denies any identification with anarchism on his website Q&A page at, but I suspect this is to sell more books.)

What differentiates the eco-anarchist from the primitivist is this focus on the village and its social capital, as opposed to technology and its acceptance or rejection. What differentiates the eco-anarchist from the big-G "Green" or small-g "green" anarchist is that the focus is strictly on ecological integrity and decentralization, with no import of rules from larger bodies into the ecoregion, or into the eco-village itself.

Some eco-anarchists consider the village, like the bee hive, to be the unit of human life, as opposed to the family or kin group. Assumptions about family are considered to be more important to eco-anarchists than assumptions about work roles.

Some eco-anarchist sympathizers work on elder care issues and are involved in the Eden Alternative and Kallimos movements to create villages that include many generations of people, including elders who need care, their extended families, and the professional medical staff who care for elders and children. Both movements were founded by Dr. William Thomas, and have so far been largely a North American movement. This is seen as a way to fund eco-villages and reconcile the use of modern medical technologies with small scale living.

See also: Green anarchism, bioregional democracy, primitivism.