In his mountain cabin named Tvergastein, meaning “crossed stones,” Naess developed an ecological philosophy that he called “deep ecology.” Deep ecology, in his view, is a matter of seeing the complex web of relations that connect all life-forms, objects, and events. In 1973, Naess published an article titled “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements: A Summary” in the journal Inquiry, which he edited. In that article, Naess distinguished deep ecology from shallow ecology, an approach to ecological issues that concentrated only on specific issues, such as lowering levels of air pollution or saving particular species. Whereas shallow ecology seeks solutions to economic problems through technological fixes, deep ecology insists on fundamental economic, political, and cultural changes.
The Norwegian version of Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle was an effort to present the ideas of deep ecology in a comprehensive fashion. Boston University philosopher David Rothenberg worked with Naess on an updated, revised English translation in a number of isolated retreats in Norway, including Tvergastein, whenever Naess was not on one of his frequent trips to distant countries.
Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle describes the character of the ecological crisis, introduces the ecological philosophy of “ecosophy,” discusses the implications of this philosophy for human ways of life, and considers the economic and political implications of the philosophy. Naess identifies “ecophilosophy” as the linking of ecology and philosophy. This linkage gives rise to deep ecology, the perception of the connections among all elements of the ecological system, including human beings. It also gives rise to “ecosophy,” a point of view concerning how humanity and nature are related. Naess refers to his own ecosophy as “Ecosophy T.” Most commentators on the book have suggested that the “T” refers to Tvergastein, the cabin where Naess worked out many of his ideas.