Ruin of the American West: An Interview with Chris Ketcham

Featured Image: thousands of acres of Pinyon-Juniper forest bulldozed by the BLM in Nevada / by Max Wilbert / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer for Harper’s, The New Republic, Vice, and many others. This video is an interview between him and Deep Green Resistance co-founder and author Derrick Jensen.  They discuss Ketcham’s new book “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West.” It’s the product of ten years of research and travel across the public lands of the West.


On Ketcham’s website, he describes the cover of his book as follows:

As for the image under that vast Western sky of egg-shell blue, well it’s a bulldozer that pulls a naval anchor chain across a stretch of pinyon-juniper forest in Utah, tearing out the roots of the trees, laying waste to the ecosystem…so that money can be made for a privileged few who wear cowboy hats. One of the many examples of “land management” as practiced by the federal government. Multiply this scene by hundreds of millions of acres, imagine the various forms of “management” for the profit of the few, and you might get a sense of the scope of the ecological tragedy unfolding. This land is your land…or perhaps we should amend that to “was.” And the crazy part of it is that green groups who purport to be “environmentalists” are in fact abetting the destruction. Read my book to understand what’s really going on.

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“Stand with me. Stand and fight. I am one, and we would be two. Two more might join and we would be four. When four more join we will be eight. We will be eight people fighting whom others will join. And then more people. And more. Stand and fight.”
—Derrick Jensen


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Deep Green Resistance is a radical environmental movement, dedicated to shifting activists towards strategies that have a real chance to stop the murder of the planet. Our allegiance is first and foremost to the land around us; we fight for the salmon, the pine trees, and the songbirds, not the solar panels and space shuttles so many ‘environmentalists’ have fallen in love with. We in DGR don’t want a more sustainable nightmare. We want a living world.

Deep Green Resistance recognizes that industrial civilization is incompatible with life on this planet – and when our way of living conflicts with the needs of the land, our way of living must go. This transition to a healthy and just relationship with the natural world is a massive undertaking, one that won’t be achieved with individual lifestyle changes and a green coat of paint on the latest mountain-killing mining rig. Real change will take a revolutionary heart. Anything less is a recipe for failure.

Deep Green Resistance has a roadmap for that revolution. We call it Decisive Ecological Warfare. We’ve studied the most successful movements in history, from the Irish Republicans to Mandela’s Umkhonto we Sizwe, and applied the lessons they can teach us to the fight for Earth liberation. Our goal as aboveground activists is to promote this strategic resistance, with the goal of triggering cascading systems failure within industrial infrastructure. In this mission, we are guided by a strict code of conduct, a steering committee of seasoned revolutionaries, and, most of all, an unwavering dedication to the land on which we live.


In the midst of all this destruction, it’s easy to feel hopeless. But there’s one nice thing about living in such dark times – anywhere you look, there’s great work to be done. Deep Green Resistance isn’t afraid to make the connections between open-pit mining and police brutality, between rape and deforestation, between acidified oceans and settler colonialism. We are proud anti-capitalists, anti-racists, and radical feminists, with members working on everything from pornography and prostitution to indigenous land rights and prison reform.

Whether on the front lines or behind the scenes, there is room for you in this war. So get in touch! We have members across the globe and resources in multiple languages. Head to our website, check our Facebook, or send us an email and introduce yourself. We’ll help you learn more about DGR, find opportunities for volunteering, and apply for greater involvement. You’ll also be able to download a free ebook copy of the Deep Green Resistance book.

DGR is working to create a life-centered resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary. In order to succeed, we’ll need teachers, healers, warriors, and workers. If you’re tired of the false solutions and the feel-good failures, Deep Green Resistance is for you, whatever your skills. In a fight like this, we need it all.

Remember: Deep Green Resistance is an aboveground organization, meaning we don’t engage in violence or property destruction. If you feel your talents would best be put to use in more militant actions, please do not contact us. This will keep you safer, and help us be more effective. We will not answer any questions related to any underground that may or may not exist.

“Our best hope will never lie in individual survivalism. Nor does it lie in small groups doing their best to prepare for the worst. Our best and only hope is a resistance movement that is willing to face the scale of the horrors, gather our forces, and fight like hell for all we hold dear.”

– Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance

6 thoughts on “Ruin of the American West: An Interview with Chris Ketcham”

  1. “Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach – undeterred by particulars – the ancient law of life.” — Hermann Hesse (1877, Calw/Wuerttemberg – 1962) 1933 (Orig.: “Baeume sind Heiligtuemer. Wer mit ihnen zu sprechen, wer ihnen zuzuhoeren weiss, der erfaehrt die Wahrheit. Sie predigen nicht Lehren und Rezepte, sie predigen -um das Einzelne unbekuemmert- das Urgesetz des Lebens.”)

    “One day we may put our bulldozers in museums, permanently locked in concrete.” — robert wolff, ”hope lies in our ability to bring back to awareness WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN” (1994). Methinks, it more and more looks like humankind will not live to see that.

  2. How do you do this:
    “Our best hope will never lie in individual survivalism. Nor does it lie in small groups doing their best to prepare for the worst. Our best and only hope is a resistance movement that is willing to face the scale of the horrors, gather our forces, and fight like hell for all we hold dear.”
    How???? I can’t find anyone who shares my beliefs…until I conversed with DGR.
    Also, how do you expect to save the planet peacefully???
    Will someone ANYONE please explain this to me!
    BTW, East, South, and North America are all under siege as the West!

  3. You forgot to mention that Christopher Ketcham strongly endorsed Donald Trump and urged voters to elect Trump president, which has been a complete disaster for public lands. So Ketcham is part of the problem and he has no answers. The fate of our public lands is a serious issue. But Ketcham is not a serious or reliable source.

  4. @DOA
    Look at the reason that Christopher Ketcham endorsed and voted for Trump. He doesn’t support Trump at all, it’s just his way of trying to bring down the empire.

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