Earth At Risk, sponsored by Fertile Ground Institute in November 2014, featured many of today’s most important activists and thinkers in environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, radical feminism, and anti-racism. With keynote speakers Derrick Jensen, Alice Walker, Vandana Shiva, Chris Hedges, and Thomas Linzey; plus multiple panels, the event was full of insightful and inspiring discussions.
Besides Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance members Saba Malik, Kourtney Mitchell and Doug Zachary spoke on panels; and Dominique Christina performed two sets of her award winning slam poetry.
Will Falk wrote a report-back on the event: Earth At Risk 2014: The Proper Diagnosis. Until now his writeup was the only way to experience the event vicariously for those of us who missed it, but Fertile Ground just made all 12 hours of the presentations available.
View the videos below, or visit our member appearances page and enter “earth at risk” into the filter box to browse only the presentations involving DGR members. You can also download audio files of those panels and keynotes.
Derrick Jensen interviewed Stella Strega Scoz, a DGR member in the Canary Islands, for the December 6th episode of Resistance Radio. Scoz heads the Integral Permaculture Academy, which takes a radical approach to permaculture practice and teaching.
Balanced resistance movements have both the outward action and the inward support and strength of strong community behind them. A system in harmony with the living world, promoting reconnection to it, and resisting the oppressive dominant systems must be built with an awareness of the current circumstances, an inclusion of indigenous wisdom from many sources and experts in applicable fields, and a heart-felt love of life.
Integral Permaculture covers all this ground and more, while working toward food sovereignty and other forms of independence from civilization. The study of Integral Permaculture in tandem with a deep green resistance is an important part of building a stable culture of resistance.
Listen to the Resistance Radio interview below, or listen on our Youtube channel.
Chris Hedges, one of the great intellectuals of our time, opens this important interview with two quotes. James Baldwin says of the rebel and the artist that it’s not so much that they have a vision, but that they’re propelled by it. Hannah Arendt writes of people who resist that “It’s not those who say ‘This shouldn’t be done.’ or ‘We oughtn’t to do this.’ It’s those who say ‘I can’t.'”
Hedges uses these quotes as a launching point into an important conversation with Derrick Jensen about rebels, revolutionaries, and revolt. How do people willing to defy power develop, and what contributes to their success or failure in fighting injustice? Are such people born with a unique spark required for them to stand up against those in power? Can this impulse be cultivated in them, or in those willing to follow the rebel? What conditions need be present in society to launch a larger movement of resistance? Can these conditions be cultivated? What are the differences between rebels working for the good of others vs abusers who call themselves victimized rebels? What are the dangers of using violence in a struggle for liberation?
Jensen and Hedges discuss the difficulty of getting a radical or even progressive message out to people in these days of society in decay, spectacle, and unwillingness to hear uncomfortable truths. Between the entrenched political parties shutting out any discourse critiquing power, the control of mass media by corporations carefully filtering what gets through, and even the erosion of intellectual freedom in universities, the process of building an opposition to business as usual is painful and deadly slow. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, we must work harder (and smarter) than ever to break down these corrupt structures, restore local decision making, and rebuild healthy communities.
Hedges believes the system is irredeemable, and any attempt to work with or within it is a waste of precious time we don’t have. Everything we do now must be oriented towards overthrowing the system and corporate power. If we don’t overthrow it soon, we’re faced with the extinction of not just the human species, but all others as well.
Hedges has many insights into our current crises of political, economic, and moral systems; and into what is necessary to correct our course. Listen to his June 21, 2015 interview below, download mp3, or listen on our Youtube channel. For more of his brilliant analysis, read his latest book Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt or any of his many other books.
Will Falk attended the 2014 Earth At Risk conference as a representative of the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network and of Deep Green Resistance. So many great speakers and panels were involved that Falk can only give summaries, but his report back captures the excitement and energy of seeing how the various social justice and environmental topics are all linked together, with huge potential for building alliances.
Deep Green Resistance just completed a $10,000 fundraising campaign to create a feature length documentary on the need for organized resistance to the dominant system of industrial civilization: On the Side of the Living. Thank you to all who contributed money or helped spread the word!
Two videos that give an idea of what the documentary will address:
The Deep Green Resistance Strategy gives a good introduction to our general approach to strategic activism.
Exclusive interview with Doug Zachary of Veterans for Peace.
Chris Matera founded and works in his spare time for Massachusetts Forest Watch, fighting against destruction of New England forests. Derrick Jensen interviewed him for the November 30 episode of Resistance Radio, discussing the many forces pushing for logging.
As expected, the timber industry puts out carefully crafted propaganda designed to confuse well meaning but ignorant people. Companies claim clearcutting will counteract stressors, correct forest imbalances, and otherwise improve forest health. They claim clearcutting will improve habitat for cute animals (already overabundant because of past logging), not mentioning the threatened species who will suffer further harm. They claim they need to clearcut trees now to prevent future hurricanes from knocking them down.
Less immediately transparent is the propaganda around biofuels, billed as clean and green, but really just another excuse to clearcut forests. Matera says that burning green trees is 50% more carbon polluting than burning coal, and has a similar impact on air quality. He warns people to critically examine claims of energy sustainability, usually heavily based on this habitat destruction and pollution even worse than coal.
Perhaps most surprisingly for many listeners, Jensen and Matera reveal big green NGOs such as The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and The Nature Conservancy as more of a problem than a help. Time and time again, grassroots activists have clashed with such NGOs backing environmentally destructive practices like biofuels via deforesting. Jensen and Matera discuss the dynamics and details of this serious obstacle to environmentalism.
Almost every Sunday, Derrick Jensen interviews an activist, biophile scientist, land restorationist, or other person similarly engaged in building a culture of resistance. The interviews are always worth listening to, packed with interesting information and insights drawn out by Jensen’s experienced questions.
The interviews are available as mp3 downloads or audio streams from our Resistance Radio archive page, and we’ve now made them available on Youtube as audio with a still image of the interviewee, accessible to those who prefer to browse Youtube or want to add the episodes into playlists. We’ll keep adding new interviews as they’re released. See them all at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube channel, and please share these important conversations widely!
In a thematic follow-up to the interview with Culum Brown, Derrick Jensen’s August 17 Resistance Radio episode features Con Slobodchikoff. Slobodchikoff studies Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs as a model for understanding animal language, and shares some delightful and amazing observations on the complexity of their relationships and communication. For example, the prairie dogs can tell each other the equivalent of “Here is a tall thin human walking slowly wearing a blue shirt coming towards us.”
Jensen and Slobodchikoff discuss the reasons for mass die-offs, habitat destruction, and ongoing intentional eradication of prairie dogs, a topic especially heartbreaking (but important) in light of their intelligence and highly developed social structure. They also examine their role improving pastures and prairies as a keystone species in their landbases, a great bonus to their being just plain cute.
The conversation touches on many other subjects, including language in other species, what actually constitutes language, the assumptions and inherent values of science (Slobodchikoff was pressured to deafen young prairie dogs to see how it affected their language development; he refused), and the many ways science and other institutions of civilization reinforce the arrogant myths of human supremacism.
For the August 10th episode of Resistance Radio, Derrick Jensen interviewed Culum Brown, an Australian scientist. Brown has specialized in the behavioral ecology of fishes, with a focus on their ability to learn and remember things like environmental hazards, specific places of danger, and the social behavior and trustworthiness of other individual fishes (within the same species and across different species.)
With a combination of fascinating anecdotes and scientifically researched conclusions, Brown counters the popular notions that fish are stupid, can’t learn or remember, and can’t feel pain. (In fact, he says pain receptors in humans evolved and are nearly indistinguishable from those of fish; the only reason we can feel pain is because they can.) Jensen and Brown also explore the question of whether fish feel emotions, and if so, which ones. The interview debunks some assumed foundations of human supremicism and ethically demands that we change how industrial civilization treats fish.
For the July 20 episode of Resistance Radio, Derrick Jensen interviewed Dahr Jamail, an award winning reporter for truthout.org. He began his career driven by the obvious lies surrounding the invasion of Iraq, not understanding the apathy of Americans all around him, but compelled to spend his small savings on a laptop, camera and a plane ticket to the middle east. Since then, he has continued to write about US imperialism, including oppposition to it by veterans; and about environmental issues from the BP oil spill to fracking to his current focus on anthropogenic climate disruption (climate change.)
Jamail and Jensen discuss important facts on how quickly climate disruption is advancing, its current and predicted impacts, and how official assessments consistently underestimate the harm in general caused by industrial civilization. They address the interplay of multiple aspects of ecocide and the insane lack of appropriate response by most civilized humans. The interview is an excellent fact-based reality check on our dire situation, and also inspiring as an example of one person finding his way to an appropriate response. As Jensen says, “The big distinction is not between those who believe we need militant resistance and those who believe that militant resistance isn’t necessary. I’ve always thought that the big distinction is between those who do something and those who do nothing.”