We just lost two million hectares of forest and two years to prevent runaway climate change…

…but at least they released the trailer for the new Star Wars film.

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Children are choking to death and being prepared for evacuation as forest fires ravage Indonesia in what is probably the most severe environmental disaster of the 21st century. Endangered orangutans are losing their homes and food sources, which, obviously, has a severe knock on effect for their survival. Every day, the carbon emissions from these fires equals those from the USA, and we all know how much Americans love to be “green”.

“Apocalyptic hellish scene” said Ben Henschke of BBC Indonesia. This is a tragic event of unparalleled proportion, but what is this culture talking about? Star Wars!

What is the (extremely) probable cause of this devastation? Corruption and corporate greed! Already there is palm oil being grown illegally on the decimated remains of the forest homes of orangutans. Palm oil giants, sourcing from independent smallholders, are profiteering from what is choking children to death, but what trends on Twitter? Star Wars.

“It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.”

― Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance

Lierre Keith on “Peak Moment” discussing The Vegetarian Myth

In March 2011, the popular video series “Peak Moment” interviewed Deep Green Resistance author Lierre Keith about her book The Vegetarian Myth. Keith summarizes, with well-researched eloquence, some of the primary myths of vegetarianism:

  • Eating vegetarian is good for our bodies
  • Eating vegetarian is good for the earth
  • Eating vegetarian will stop world hunger

Keith, formerly a long-time vegan herself, explicitly acknowledges and honors the morals, values, and passion that vegetarians and vegans bring to the struggle against factory farming and unethical and destructive food production. But she asks them to examine these “vegetarian myths” to get to the root causes of our horribly dysfunctional systems. Throughout the conversation, she stresses the primary problem of civilization and its prerequisite of agriculture, which requires a shocking amount of energy to fight nature. Maintaining monocrops is a never ending war. Whether to feed caged animals on concrete, or to directly feed humans, this is a war we can’t afford to win.

Read a transcript of the interview or watch the video below, and if you’d like to learn more, we highly recommend reading the full book: The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.

For more videos featuring Lierre Keith, the other DGR authors, and DGR members, visit Deep Green Resistance on Youtube or our Member Appearances page for both audio and video.

Building a relationship with the land

Originally posted by Suzanne Williams at Elephant Journal

Born and bred in London, I’m a city girl through and through.

But there is something fundamentally missing from city life that I believe is absolutely vital to our continued existence on this planet; a meaningful relationship with the land.

However, when the ground is covered in cement and buildings nobody asks, “What relationship do I have to this land?” I don’t think anyone even notices the land at all, except when struggling up a hill with their shopping.

A relationship with the land is vital, however, because without it we are going to continue to consume and abuse the very environmental systems that support us and we may kill ourselves off completely.

Recently I got the opportunity to do an Integral Permaculture internship at an eco-village in Spain.

In big letters at the bottom of their website it said, “Don’t ask yourself if you like it here, ask yourself if the land wants you here!”

What a strange and alien concept to a city girl like me. However, it gave me the chance to go on a quest and find out what a relationship to the land really means.

Before we begin let’s look at some history.

For about 3,000,000 years our ancestors lived in a balanced relationship with nature.

We would take what we needed and leave the rest, for all the other types of life, accepting that sometime there would be bountiful abundance and sometimes we’d have to go without. If the hunter gather cultures we know of give us any ideas, we respected and revere the spirits of all living things and saw ourselves as belonging to the earth—instead of it belonging to us.

This worked pretty well until about 10,000 years ago, when we invented agriculture and were forced by circumstance to no longer see nature as abundant.

Instead, we began to see it as an enemy who came and killed our crops or stole our chickens. And what’s more, we decided that we were more intelligent than the planet and we should start running the show ourselves.

Fast forward to today and on the surface we’ve done pretty well. We can genetically modify our food to make it more resilient, keep thousands of chickens in giant barns away from other animals and use artificial fertilisers, stimulating abundant growth whenever we want.

So why do we all have this sneaky feeling, along with all that evidence, that something is going terribly wrong?

We need to face facts. Industrial civilization has severed our relationship with the land.

We have achieved many things in the process, but now it’s time to re-establish our relationship with the land in the way that indigenous tribes have been pleading us to do for centuries.

Each individual’s journey will be personal to them. I don’t think it can be explained in a 10 point list of “Things To-Do.” We need to get to know the land in our own way.

However, here are some things that have helped me over the last few weeks that might help you too.

Walking barefoot.

When we walk barefoot we are in immediate connection with the land. It’s not such a good idea in a city but in a muddy field or a grassy meadow our feet pick up all kinds of information about the land that we only have a vague idea about when walking in shoes.

One of the key practices in permaculture is observing.

What is growing where? Who is already living here? Which birds? Lizards? Insects? Plants? Humans? When I sat and observed I could see how this intricate dance of life played out in perfect synchronicity and where I fitted in.

Sometimes I talk to trees.

Yes I know, it’s a cliché, however the responses I “imagine” are always insightful, informative and sometimes in an uncanny way. Indigenous people have use intuition and “imagination” to directly communicate with living things for millions of years. When you want to know if the land wants you there then ask it.

If we imagine it telling you to bugger off, then listen and bugger off. (This is something we can do in a city, although perhaps not out loud.)

Sometimes I notice that we humans think we are a parasite on this planet.

But I don’t think that’s true. We grew from this planet and I think we have the ability to live in balance with all the other creatures in a cooperative and respectful way, like we did for millions of years.

It’s only recently (10,000 years) that we thought we’d have a go at taking control of our lives and the environment. It’s been fun, but it doesn’t work and we need to use this amazing consciousness we have to remember how we used to live with the land all those years ago.

I wonder if the land misses us?

Myths of Biofuels presentation by David Fridley

In 2007, David Fridley of Lawrence Berkeley Labs and San Francisco Oil Awareness presented a well researched and thorough debunking of the idea that biofuels are sustainable, environmentally friendly, good for farmers, or a path to energy independence. Fridley and his audience approach the issue from an industrial-human-centric standpoint concerned about peak oil, rather than from a holistic earth-centric and anti-civilization perspective, but his presentation is excellent for what it is. This is a great way to get up to speed on the dramatic, across the board problems and limitations of biofuels.

Saba Malik on Resistance Radio

Saba Malik is on the board of Fertile Ground Environmental Institute, a non-profit dedicated to political and environmental education, and on the advisory board of Deep Green Resistance. She is a mother of two and has been a feminist and anti-racist activist for most of her adult life. Derrick Jensen interviewed her for the May 25th airing of Resistance Radio.

In this interview, Saba Malik and Derrick Jensen discuss misogyny, ecocide, and the relationship between the two. Malik explains that a mindset of domination links the various forms of oppression we see in civilization. This mindset seizes on perceivable differences between groups to create classes, with one class justified in exploiting the other. This began with agriculture: the formation of sex classes gave men the “right” to use women for labor, offspring, and sex. As civilization expanded, this relationship was used as a model for dominating other “races” of humans and other species.

Play the embedded audio below, or listen to the interview on the DGR Youtube channel.

Download mp3

Browse all of Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio interviews.

Statement for March Against Monsanto 2014

The annual March Against Monsanto is coming up May 24th. Kim Hill of Deep Green Resistance Australia wrote this speech for the March, supporting direct action and questioning the value of begging those in power to change.

Life itself has been stolen from us.

Genes, the very basis of life, no longer belong to the living beings who embody them, but to institutions that convert life into profit.

Our basic needs, of food and water, no longer come from the land where we live, but from distant corporations that use the exact same food and water as a dumping ground for their wastes.

Monsanto executives take up positions of power in the US Food and Drug Administration, and Environmental Protection Authority. These bodies, instead of protecting our food and water as they were intended to do, now protect the interests of those who are causing the harm.

Governments exist within the rules of Free Trade Agreements and The World Bank, institutions that exist to protect the profits of corporations. Governments have little power to create change.

So we cannot ask governments to act.

In India, 250,000 farmers have committed suicide by drinking Monsanto pesticides after their Bt cotton crops, sold to them by Monsanto, failed, and they were no longer able to provide for their families. Monsanto obstructs labelling laws, and suppresses the results of research that are not in its favour. It is not going to listen to the demands of the people. The purpose of a corporation is to make profit, regardless of the costs to other people and living beings. It is not possible for it to act in any other interest.

So we cannot ask corporations to act.

Even if Monsanto were stopped, there are plenty of other biotechnology companies ready to take their place. The entire economic system is structured to see living beings only as an opportunity for profits, or as standing in the way of profits. For life to continue, the entire system needs to be dismantled.

It is up to us to act.

As human beings, we are part of a natural community of rivers, forests, soil and myriad living beings. This community provides our food and water.

We need to act, not as consumers, not as citizens, but as humans.

We are accountable not to profits or institutions, but to the land that provides for us.

Actions that ask governments and corporations to change – rallies, petitions and letters – can never be effective on their own. Those who are profiting from the theft of life itself need to be physically stopped.

Every day, people are taking real action, by destroying GM crops, sabotaging equipment and infrastructure, and engaging in cyber-attacks against corporations. These actions are essential to stop Monsanto and all those profiting from the destruction of living communities.

On behalf of those whose lives have been stolen and manipulated for profit, those who cannot speak and cannot act, we need to give our full support to the people who are risking their own lives and freedom to defend life itself.

Thoughts on "Pandora's Seed"

The following is from Bud Nye, A Deep Green Resistance supporter in Washington State:

_____________

After reading Pandora’s Seed, Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival (2007), by Spencer Wells, here are some of my thoughts:

Early in the book I sensed a technotopian slant. Sure enough, as I read more it became clear that, like so many technological utopian people today, Wells seems seriously to believe that we can steal energy from Earth’s ecosystems at the scale of our fossil fuel use without massively damaging those living systems with their billions of living beings.

He seems to have no awareness of how destructive dams are, for example, and he holds by the magical, grandiose idea that we can do to wind, tidal, and other sun powered ecosystems what we have done to the river systems, and we can presumably do it without causing similar kinds of damage with similar unintended consequences: largely unacknowledged atrocities.

As much good information as he provides in his book, Wells ultimately supports, and subtly but powerfully encourages others to support, the Earth-killing megamachine of the now global military-industrial-scientific-congressional complex. He makes this crystal clear with his statement in the last chapter, after listing a number of movements that have worked against the machine, that “Over the past half century another anti-progress trend has been spawned, one more widespread and potentially dangerous than the more limited moments of the past….”

At best, he is clearly ignorant of the fairly obvious fact that we must learn to live within the limits of daily sunlight–while ALSO allowing millions of other animal and plant species, many billions of living beings, to use that daily sunlight–or we will perish. At worst, he is fully aware of these real, biological limitations and is an industrial corporate shill consciously and actively spreading their propaganda as widely as possible.

The truth about Wells probably lies somewhere between these two extremes, with a complex mixture of both. Positive, optimistic thinking actively encourages and supports willful blindness, and Pandora’s Seed serves as a good example of this. Please don’t get me wrong. I think that this book does offer much of value.  Unfortunately, Wells severely shoots himself in the foot with his unwarranted optimism about his often mentioned future “several hundred years from now” (apparently blissfully ignorant of the  Canfield ocean CO2 level preconditions that will have developed by  around 2100), and the alleged, politically correct “alternative energy  sources”.

I do wonder what others think.
_____________

Adapted from Humanity, A Moral History of the Twentiety Century by Jonathan Glover (1999):

Rational self-interest can be turned upside down. In ordinary life restraining social pressures make killing unthinkable. In industrial capitalism and civilization the effect of their removal, or even reversal, is dramatic.

Industrial capitalism and civilization-building also require overcoming the moral resources. Capitalists and civilization builders need to escape the inhibitions of human responses: of respect and sympathy for others. They need to escape the restraints of moral identity: of their sense of not being a person who would wound and kill other living beings.

Mostly, the moral resources fail to prevent killing via industrial capitalism because they are neutralized. Capitalists, and the many associated, supporting military, scientific, and congressional civilization-building bureaucrats, need to produce something close to a “robot psychology”, in which what would otherwise seem horrifying acts they can carry out coldly, without inhibitions by normal human responses.  Sometimes the moral resources are not so much neutralized as overwhelmed.

There are the altered emotional states induced by industrial activities such as mining, dam building, oil and coal extraction, deforestation, desertification, ocean life mining, committing assassinations, genocide and mass extinctions, and so on.

The control and dominance inherent in industrial capitalism and civilization-building have a deep emotional appeal. People find actions that they would never have thought themselves capable of suddenly appearing, as if they were suddenly released, or as if they were the result of an inner explosion.  Distancing from other living beings–both within our own species and, certainly, from all other species–is part of a defensive hardness.

Note this today: A very sad thing happens here now–to everyone. It happens slowly, gradually, and at a distance so no one notices when it happens. We begin slowly with each unnoticed and unaccounted for death and casualty until there are so many deaths and so many wounded, we start to treat deaths and loss of limbs, both of our own and of other  living beings, with callousness, AND IT HAPPENS BECAUSE THE HUMAN MIND  CAN’T HOLD THAT MUCH SUFFERING AND SURVIVE.

Few of us seem willing to comprehend the horror now unfolding around us and within us via civilization and industrial capitalism. And, as in war, fewer still have the willingness to act in order to stop the killing.
Bud Nye Tacoma, WA

Soil

One measure of the state of balance in a human society is its treatment of soil. Topsoil is the fertile basis of land life. Without soil, there are essentially no creatures larger than lichens, mosses, and microorganisms.


It takes a forest approximately 1000 years to create 1 or 2 inches of topsoil. In extremely fertile conditions, grasslands and forests can create topsoil at double this rate.

The last 10,000 years, the length of agricultural civilization as a way of life, has been an unmitigated disaster for soil. In many regions, the soil has been completely eroded, compacted, denuded, salinized, or otherwise destroyed. This has been the fate of the “Fertile Crescent”, of North Africa, Ethiopia, the Mediterranean regions of Europe, much of Eastern Europe, and of much of the interior of China, Mongolia, and India.

Other regions have ‘merely’ suffered a massive decline in soil health and thickness – this includes all the major food-growing regions of the world: the Sahel, the American Great Plains, the Pampas, and a wide swathe of Central Europe and Eastern China.

Healthy soil is rich in organic matter, very well aerated, holds and captures water (humus), and rich in life forms (there are sometimes more than 1 billion living creatures in one teaspoon of healthy soil). The soil is the skin of living Earth.

In a natural state, the lands tends towards a climax ecosystem – a mature system that maximizes biodiversity, soil production, and complexity. When a disturbance occurs, such as a flood, a fire, or a civilization, bare soil is exposed. Exposed soil is a planetary emergency. It is an open wound on the skin of Earth.

Like our body responds with blood and clotting, Earth responds with a first aid crew – weeds, grasses, and other quick-growing annual plants. These plants quickly cover the soil and begin to heal the wound, preparing the soil for perennial grasses, shrubs, trees, or whoever else belongs there.

If you measure the balance of a society by its relationship with soil, the current globalized industrial civilization is drastically out of balance. Over the past 40 years, about 30% of the total agricultural land has been so degraded it is no longer usable. That land will take hundreds or thousands of years to recover, if it can ever do so.

A healthy human culture is one that cultivates relationship with climax communities and encourages their continued growth and flourishing, and does not destroy them.