For a New Green Revolution

For a New Green Revolution

This piece, originally published on 5th June 2020, calls on us to reject so-called “green technology” as a false solution and instead organize for revolution against industrial civilization. It has been edited for publication here. Join the conversation in the comments.

Green Energy vs. Wild Nature

by Jorge Clúni/Medium

The documentary “Planet of the Humans” generated a lot of criticism. This contributed to its removal on the 25th of May from YouTube over a four-second copyright infringement.

“Renewable energy isn’t perfect,” they all say, “but it’s an improvement over the fossil-fuels now being used.” These thoroughly civilized writers share the desire to continue techno-industrial society, thus missing the core problem of Technology.

Each of them writes with the assumption of a need for continued electrical power, forgetting that electricity is very recent in human existence and unnecessary for human life. Electricity is severely detrimental to the proliferation of wild Nature, of which humans are but one species.

So honed-in to defending renewable energy’s “efficiency” and affordability are the film’s detractors, they do not ‘see the woods for the trees’. Cathy Cowan Becker’s rebuke of the film is one of the better critiques, but through all its numerous citations of the documentary’s supposed statistical errors it really amounts only to having found some typos.

The main point consistently being missed, writes the film’s director Jeff Gibbs (responding to claims of “old data”), is that “solar, wind, and electric technologies are not something separate from a giant fossil-fuel based industrial civilization; they are one and the same.” The critics miss this point. Technologies are burning polluting fuels and fouling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Other technologies also cause harm.

The essential problem is that technology always comes to exist in exchange for a sacrifice of wild Nature. It always has unforeseen and unforeseeable consequences which inevitably impinge upon naturally-occurring freedoms for humans and non-humans. Even a superficial look over the history of technological advancement reveals precisely this. This holds true for the ‘green energy tech’. As noted by Becker, the closing scenes of the documentary show orangutan-habitat destruction due to industrial scale food manufacturing. This atrocity which will only be remedied through a dramatic decline in the demand for and production of civilized-manufactured foods; by the collapse of industrial civilization.

The degree to which we face, accept and embrace the collapse of civilization, regardless of the hardships it may entail, demonstrates the degree of our love for (and defence of) wild Nature.

In hopes of impeding rampant consumption of our Earth, Becker puts forth five common economist-suggested assessments of growth and success, but each of these trite suggestions are undeniably vague: “good jobs, well-being, environment, fairness, and health”. They can all be judged subjectively (as met or unmet), so they’re useless.

Like the wise who pull out the roots rather than hack the branches (paraphrasing H.D. Thoreau), we must aim efforts on one grand goal – that is, saving Nature beyond human control — even if it isn’t as easily achieved as less-effective alternatives we might be allowed to enact (e.g., minimal pollution regulations, the Green New Deal, subsidized contraceptives, et cetera). That goal should be the forced collapse of the worldwide industrial-technological system (industrial civilization) which creates the problems plaguing us. That is the only single goal which will adequately resolve our dilemma.

Socialism alone is no answer.

The control of a governing class in Cuba, China, and Bolivarian Venezuela are provided at the sacrifice of wild Nature and by human’s dissociation from Her. Cuba imports oil for the same reason that Venezuela pumps and burns and exports its own crude reserves, which is to  — at best —  deliver a better quality of civilized (read: unnatural, subordinated) life.

Mao’s ‘Four Pests’ extermination campaign was explicitly designed to improve living for China’s assimilated humans at the expense of the non-human “pests”. The government’s horrendous South-North water re-routing project might ‘benefit’ 100M people by diverting 44.8 billion cubic meters of water, but only at the expense of non-humans who will henceforth be deprived of the pre-existing natural waterflow.

You can’t make a techno-industrial-power and economic-growth omelette without breaking Nature.

Capitalism is clearly incompatible with the continuation of wild Nature; copper, gold and lithium are taken from Nature, and can land be seized and converted to allow palm oil or chocolate or beef to be grown?

This does not mean that alternative economic systems which perpetuate a reliance upon (or subservience to) industrial technology will abandon the game of amassing technological power and instead let Nature thrive, uncontrolled and wild: Whatever else can be said of the self-proclaimed socialist nations, they are indisputably seeking economic growth just as much as the capitalist countries, the very concept being predicated upon the transformation of free Nature into uses designated exclusively for Civilized humans.

Everyone knows that a better material “standard of living” as judged by Civilized measures is not provided when people live freely to engage with Nature, beyond civilization’s economics, foraging and hunting so long as they and their tribes are capable of it — and dying without immediate high-tech medical interventions, too. Rather, technology demands that Nature must be conformed and adjusted and as reward for this civilized people will be given more damaging comforts and detrimental conveniences: indoor plumbing, heating and cooling, refrigeration, rapid long-distance transportation, “healthcare” (to repair the body of the most apparent damages caused by civilization). Benjamin Franklin noted in 1753 that the natives don’t seem to prefer civilization, and even his fellow Whites who’d been among the Indians were more inclined to return to them after being ‘rescued’ — an odd reality to reconcile with the notion of its improving living conditions.

Living in Balance

The occasional lack of food for humans in any region is just one of the realities of life on Earth.

It isn’t unfair or unjust when there is a drought, or when the large game animals move, and a tribe no longer has food in that area and has to migrate. That doesn’t harm our entire species, though agricultural food has indeed hurt human health, just as its land takeovers eradicate entire species. Nor is it a tragedy or insufferable cruelty when conditions don’t allow for menstruation or offspring-conception or infant-nursing. It is simply the law of the land, something which all other creatures experience when being provided-for by Nature — and also being limited by it.

To live this way, accepting the good and also the bad, would be humanity living among and with Nature, not exceptional, nor beyond its ways of operating. Ending the techno-industrial system will take the modern agricultural system with it — thereby mostly re-wilding the biosphere and freeing most of an imprisoned Nature.

To sustain oneself on fresh forage and local wild game is the healthiest diet we can have, and the mental dexterity and physical exertion required easily surpasses the routine, apportioned exercising performed at a gym. One can look to numerous beneficial facets of the nomadic forager-hunter lifestyle in contrast to the detriment of sedentary city-dwelling, even in the earliest days of agrarian culture.

While clans living in Nature are indeed subject to the caprices of “the gods” or the chance (mis)fortunes of natural weather (and simple bad luck) they are not subjected to market fluctuations depriving them of a meal, nor do they suffer from faraway chain-of-supply disruptions, as we in Civilization are burdened with. With ‘only’ 10,000–12,000 years of full-time agriculture delivering constant food surplus, we’ve managed to transform the Earth. Hasn’t it been long enough now, don’t we have 20/20 hindsight to see that it isn’t working?

For all our years of constantly feeding people we keep generating more people, Do we want to undertake yet another intervention and set about altering that ancient, deeply-embedded natural inclination to have children rather than simply end the relatively far more recent means by which we produce food surpluses to yield global population growth (and deforestation)?

Power Plants and Destruction

Becker mentions legal requirements of environmental-impact review for any proposed new power plant; of course, even if nothing bad ever resulted at any places given approval, it is inconceivable that any agency would rule the majority of power plants detrimental to their local environs and order them shuttered — the nation’s electricity-generating simply won’t be ended without a revolutionary movement to force it, because the technological system demands that electrical power be delivered, regardless of the consequences to Nature (and people).

Moreover, the laws today can (and do) change tomorrow. It seems like every year of this President has generated an outcry about his nullifying EPA regulations which were enacted under the last President. Do we continue to gamble the future of humanity and all the rest of Nature on reversible legal policies? Any policy which restricts a specific technological means will eventually break under the push of technology overall; for permanent prevention of damaging technological impacts, the technical ability must be totally removed from existence. This is one reason why coal has not disappeared, though market forces in some areas have diminished its appeal (profitability).

All the frequent mentions by ‘green tech’ cheerleaders that coal plants are closing in the USA or Europe give the false impression that coal will no longer be torn from Earth and burned; in reality, it’s being sold by everyone to anyone who’ll buy it, providing “economic growth” and “increased standard of living” in exchange for its usage, definitely polluting the air and adding mercury to the oceans and undoubtedly increasing their rate of material consumption (as mentioned earlier), but only potentially (and not evidently) diminishing their population growth.

Renewable Energy Doesn’t Displace Fossil Fuels

Effectively, renewables simply add a non-emitting source for electrical power rather than replace any existing fuels.

While there is a baseless hope, or a theory or prediction, that wind- and solar-generated energy will supplant the dirty fuels presently used most, there is absolutely no guarantee of this; were it to happen, it would be contrary to all history of industrial fuels: the access to crude oil (and later refined diesel) did not end the usage of coal, nor did the utilization of oil and gasoline prevent the development of uses for and extraction of natural gas. (Similarly, natural materials which had little utility decades ago have since been put to industrial uses and so are now valued, resulting in the increased destruction or alteration of vast swaths of wild Nature in order to obtain those resource deposits.)

So not only has techno-industrial society sought out and laid claim to all available coal, oil, and natural gas accessible beneath our planet’s surface, but now it wants to take the sunlight which lands on the surface and the wind which flows over it, too. Was it forgotten that evolved organisms currently utilize the sunlight which falls on them, or do these non-humans not matter if consideration of them limits Civilization staying electrified?

Electricity and expendable fuel consumption has gotten more efficient, but has electricity demand ever diminished in all the time of transition between different fuels? Of course not, and the Jevons Paradox informs us that efficiency increases always bring consumption increases.

That ‘renewables’ are becoming cheaper and renewable-powered machines more efficient may sound good, but the only real limit on consumption is imposed by price. If solar energy is generated for at least one-third of every day, and wind the same, and it’s incredibly cheap because it’s unlimited, its use will inevitably be maximized, not only by individuals leaving the lights or A/C running but also with flying and driving all around the planet. The problems of this inhuman technological movement and the land-contouring it brings (and largely requires) go far beyond its levels of CO2 released now, but the prevailing thought would be “Well it’s not polluting” or “But it’s not costing us”, or “At least it’s not fossil-fuel powered”.

Power Corrupts

Let’s disregard the horrible things that industry and government would do with limitless, non-polluting electrical energy.

Even still, residential and individuals’ uses of electricity are incidental to power plants’ generation of it; industrial demand exceeds residential by magnitudes, and is in fact the reason power plants are operated. If renewables can actually provide for all present residential use, the demand will not cease at this present level. And what will fuel industry’s demand? Hydrocarbons while they are available, but further development and deployment of the renewable-energy technologies would go on, because the addicted are never sated.

Even if that entails ‘only’ more solar panels and windmills and no further use of coal, gas, or oil, the ‘green tech’ would be interrupting the natural flow and fall of wind and sunlight upon our Earth, a characteristic of life here conservatively estimated at billions of years old. Is that audacious, hubristic entitlement of Civilization not shameful, and potentially (if not probably or obviously) perilous? Some critics of the documentary falsely claim that the film advocates fossil fuels, while others bemoan that it gives the fossil-fuels industry ‘ammunition’.

With only a bit of checking we can see the true priorities of the film’s attackers. For example, Ketan Joshi’s website reveals his bona fides for discussing ‘renewable energy’ — disqualifications to any claims of being out to save Nature: “I did a science degree at Sydney University, and since I was a teenager I’ve loved science, technology, philosophy and psychology. I worked in the renewable energy industry for about eight years…”

While his page greets visitors with a picture of a robot, he does not at all mention a love for wild Nature, only his work for the (oxymoronic) ‘green tech’ industry, which has gone from professional to pro bono. In any case, it doesn’t indicate a loss of ethics or giving aid to the hydrocarbon industry to agree with Exxon that 2+2=4, it is merely an undeniable truth to be recognized by all parties; to cite some promotion of the film by fossil-fuel loyalists is simply casting the shadow of a bogeyman in order to darken a truth which ought to be recognized by opponents.

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex

If we only scratch the surface of why the hydrocarbons defenders might advance this film which critiques ‘green energy’, we can see how their view actually aligns with the criticism of the documentary by prominent professional ‘green’ leaders.

At best, the environmentalists reveal that they agree with the point being made by the Oil, Coal, & Gas lobbyists who say, “If solar and wind won’t do any better, you might as well stick with what you’ve got — you certainly don’t want to give up electricity!”

This is precisely what liberals like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein and Josh Fox are all worried about,that people will so value the maddening and addictive technological garbage of the modern era that they will simply settle for baking the planet to death. But not only do humans not need any of the electrified stuff we daily engage with, it actually worsens our lives, dividing us from connecting with Nature and even other people, physically, face-to-face, in-person.

For 200,000 years humans just like us lived in small groups, deeply connected to their people, relying upon and aiding their fellows, competing against outsiders (thus giving each one well-balanced traits for making allies and facing enemies, ensuring security and confronting threats, developing wholly with both offense and defense ).

Yet, only 220 years after the first use of electric power, most people who think themselves environmentalists are now debating whether the use of windmills or solar panels can suffice for providing enough electricity (an unnecessary extravagance) to make it worthwhile to stop using fossil fuels and thereby avoid destroying our only lifeboat in the sea of the entire Milky Way. And when the insanity of that is challenged, when “Planet of the Humans” says we need to pull the needle out and clean up, get sober and face reality, the reaction is to shout down the messenger.

Infinite Electricity

Think about what would be done with infinite electricity, based on what has been and is now being done already.

We need to have electricity (without the CO2) so that video games and “binge watching” can continue? So that aerial drones (for surveillance or assassinations) don’t need to land for refueling? So that cyber-bullying and fake news and child porn can proliferate despite all controls attempted?

If this is raising the ‘standard of living’, why do we have so many unhappy people who kill themselves (and, increasingly, others before themselves)? The 40,000 annual suicides in America are surely only a fraction of all the people miserably unsatisfied by life in fast-paced techno-industrial civilization who don’t succeed in attempting to end their lives; how many more are medicated into accepting their discontentment? When will we reclaim our dignity as a species that survived for at least a couple hundred millennia but are clearly unable to cope with modern conditions, and also blind or hopeless to altering them?

People existing in Nature rarely become so miserable and seek to end their lives. This is a unique attribute of the civilized. Facing challenges and working diligently to overcome adversities is rewarding and builds confidence, just as it provides its own intrinsic value to people.

Civilization is what the renowned Desmond Morris referred to as “The Human Zoo” with the title of his 1969 book.

Simply imagine for a minute, eating only the foods our species is adapted to, which you (or a close friend who lives among you) have obtained, and being with your children; imagine children of all ages playing together, each of them acquiring every skill and material item they need to live well, simply from being in the suitable natural environs to which they are adapted, and being around their parents and emulating them; imagine getting intimately acquainted with your bioregion, not being crowded like industrial-agriculture’s chicken in a growing-warehouse.

Imagine being free from the psychological toll of potential annihilation via nuclear conflict, being free of worries over the forecast of (induced) sea-level rise, or not suffering a tech-facilitated viral contagion greatly worsened by heavily-polluted air (not merely the ‘greenhouse gases’).

Imagine shedding the burden of existential crisis because we actually stop the worsening potentials of Technology, which grows more autonomous by the day due to the vile works of lauded scientists and technicians.

Modern Existential Fear

Even those involved in Technology’s advance are seriously worried about it, but feel powerless to stop it, because they will not look to revolution which is required. And for being milquetoast and servile to the technological system, Bill McKibben, a most prominent advocate of renewable energy, gets to soak up the limelight and be heralded as an environmentalist leader. He often has grand platforms (Rolling Stone, frequently, and recently “60 Minutes”) to extol the talking points of the Green Energy industry (for which he volunteers), in addition to deflecting valid criticisms which might otherwise awaken sincere but misdirected people.

Were he to take a more oppositional, or boldly confrontational position against the menace of further technological progress. McKibben would be marginalized and replaced by another figurehead for false hopes of a techno-salvation to come. McKibben — who on May 6th, 2020 declared that one of rural America’s biggest problems is a lack of consistent and reliable WiFi signals — measures quite poorly against even the timid academic-philosopher class who at least named the enemy as Technology itself: Martin Heidegger, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, Neil Postman, Chellis Glendinning; while none of them were brave enough to unequivocally state that only a revolutionary movement will be able to depose technoindustrial civilization and free all the inhabitants of Earth from the controls imposed by Technology, at the very least they recognized the primary source of the problem.

This documentary also does so, in the seventeenth minute, when its director’s narration rhetorically asks:

“Is it possible for machines built by industrial civilization to save us from industrial civilization?”

Only if they are used disruptively, against the continuation of techno-industrial mass-society and to allow the revival of wild Nature.

The Green “Misleadership” Class

The so-called ‘green leadership’ offered within technological society will never point attention at industrial civilization itself. The cabal of professional ‘Greens’ primarily act as steam-valves to relieve any serious tension or resentment against technology, a sentiment which has constantly increased due to the knowledge — both reported and personally felt — of the ever-worsening destruction of Nature, in addition to the misery of modern humans enduring techno-industrial society.

“The idea that societies could collectively decide to embrace rapid foundational changes to transportation, housing, energy, agriculture, forestry, and more — precisely what is needed to avert climate breakdown — is not something for which most of us have any living reference.” — Naomi Klein, April 2019

When she wrote those words, Klein had in mind merely that a popular movement be developed to press for enactment of legislation which is itself only vaguely imagined by the Green New Deal resolution of the US House of Representatives. She was not thinking of revolutionary action, which is never advanced by a mass of millions, nor the revolutionary sentiment which can’t be satisfied with legislative appeasement from the existing powers.

Naomi Klein is not a revolutionary, not in spirit or thought. If we are to save the wonderful spirit of free and wild Nature, that caretaker of all beings on Earth, we need to understand that the green leaders put forth by the technological system are the most reactionary and conservative of environmentalists to be found. Their prominence serves as misdirection for those who are truly fed-up with the killing of Nature, those who live with and deeply love the land they are acquainted with, those unwilling to watch the natural world be sacrificed for the sake of civilized greed.

Rather than putting hopes and prayers into some new technology which might deliver the ‘Diet Coke’ fix for techno-industrial society — that is, all the same “great” benefits with none of the currently-known downsides — we need only hopeful optimism that our commitment and effort can make successful a revolution against the technological system. Indeed, while many a Leftist is inherently a pessimist, defeated before they even begin, truly the only reason that revolution seems not to be possible is that it is not thought to be possible.

When people stop awaiting a savior (whether man or machine) and begin to see and believe that revolution can indeed be undertaken and achieved, then in reality it can be.

14 thoughts on “For a New Green Revolution”

  1. “we need only hopeful optimism that our commitment and effort can make successful a revolution against the technological system” is rather too optimistic. What evidence is there that even 1% of humanity would accept a deindustrialisation of the world? I fear that we’ve put ourselves on a runaway train to disaster. Foraging and wild game hunting could not feed more than that 1% of today’s population, anyway. Who is going to have to give up having children?

  2. Responding both to Jorge Clúni and to SRH, I see little evidence that even DGR is doing much in the way of revolution, other than talking about it (as I, admittedly, am doing here). And there is just a bit of hypocrisy in our denouncing technology as the fix to anything, while we contemplate using technology (guns and the Internet, for instance) to destroy technology. Nor do I see humans ever giving it up completely and going back to the Stone Age.

    The more likely (though still not highly likely) revolution is one triggered by a sudden, Pearl Harbor-like industrial disaster — something dramatic enough to spur true revolt, which statistics about the future that awaits the next generation fail to do. In other words, it will probably take an unprecedented calamity to awaken us to the Apocalypse that is nonetheless inevitable in a few years.

    An example of our collective blindness struck me Friday, while watching a DW report on plastic recycling in Germany: Though a depressingly small percentage of German plastic is classed as “recycled” (because it is separated and sent to recycling centers), most recyclable plastic containers just pile up there until they are eventually incinerated, because it remains cheaper to produce new ones than to recycle the old ones. In other words, we could probably save ourselves. But there’s just no money in it.

    Regarding the point about new technologies that promise salvation only producing more technological problems, try reconciling these recent stories: One was about the dramatic breakthroughs in nano-particle batteries, and the promise of “virtually unlimited power,” produced “virtually free,” and the possibility of an entire coal-fired power plant being replaced by a battery you could house on a tabletop. The other story predicted that by 2040, computers alone will require more electricity than could be produced by any known technology.

    Industrial civilization continues to use the words “growth,” “profit,” and “progress” interchangably, with each of them taken to mean “more,” “richer,” and “better” — and the latter 3 taken to translate into “happiness.” But the lust for “more” is antithetical to happiness. Growth addiction (like heroin addiction) can never be satisfied. There are no happy junkies — only desperate ones.

    That’s where modern society is. The happiest modern societies are the non-warring social democracies like Denmark, where the percentage of people who describe themselves as “happy” is typically in the 55% range. Contrast non-industrial Bhutan, where 75% of the people claim to be happy, and profit is considered an alien concept.

    If we are to save ourselves, it would most likely come in reaction to some environmental equivalent to the George Floyd murder — something so glaringly awful and unmistakenly the fault of the industrial system that young people would rise in revolt.

    But such a convenient drama seems unlikely. And we remain too stupid and lost in the moment to see that the facts before us are as real and immediate a crisis as the Titanic faced, 30 seconds before impact with the iceberg. It hadn’t hit anything yet, and the lavish parties were still going on throughout the ship. And yet disaster and death were imminent and unavoidable, because an oceanliner can’t turn on a dime.

    The human sperm count in the developed world fell by 30% between 1975 and 2015. 30% of the world’s farmland was lost to agriculture over a recent 50 year period, and continues to decline. Carbon emissions have quadrupled since 1950. Aquifers that irrigate most of the world’s crops are at imminent risk of collapse, and the planet is expected to be 40% short of meeting fresh water demands by 2030. A forest the size of a football field is destroyed every second. There is more microplastic than plankton in seawater, and the average person consumes 5 grams of plastic per week. And yet the industrial world continues to measure our overall well-being by corporate dividends and political polls.

    Yes, we really are that stupid. Like a junkie, the only thing that drives our collective action is whether we feel good right now. If the baby isn’t crying, the future will somehow take care of itself.

    The critics are correct when they say that significant underground actions to take down production would alienate the masses, and turn the world against us. But I continue to believe that targeted, symbolic actions (like the better thought out of the BLM tactics) could have the opposite effect, and sway the public in favor.

    We won’t change the world by tearing down monuments, and pretending to change the past. But how about shutting down the evening commute, when the next wildfires hit the Amazon, and demanding a trade embargo against Brazil? Every oil spill or refinery fire should result in the forced closure of several prominently located gas stations. And the burning of 5G towers — and attacks on the companies behind them — should continue until they get the messsge: There is no demand for appliances that can talk to each other, powered by 24/7 bath in electronic pulses with the approximate wavelength of x-rays.

  3. Yes, I’ve been saying and thinking this myself for some time. I can’t justify the pain and suffering to be caused by forcing it on everyone in the world, but I believe that, eventually, Nature will force it on us, like it or not. As we know, unlimited growth isn’t sustainable. There is a spiritual aspect to this creation that we live in that is mostly not being addressed or acknowledged, but that could and can guide part of humanity through the transition that is coming. I offer the proposal that Indigenous spiritual knowledge is the key to the survival and continuation of the human species on this planet during and after the collapse of industrial civilization.

  4. I totally agree with everything in this essay except for the idea that some sort of revolution that would somehow magically remove humans’ ability to invent and use technology could fix things (“… the nation’s electricity-generating simply won’t be ended without a revolutionary movement to force it … for permanent prevention of damaging technological impacts, the technical ability must be totally removed from existence.). Unless that revolution were to kill billions of people instantly without harming anything else on the planet — a physical and logistical impossibility, in addition to the moral and ethical problems with doing that — all destructive acts against the power grid would do would be to alienate even more people against our cause and lower the already slim chance of the human race voluntarily returning to living more simply and naturally in a lot smaller numbers.

    It is not possible to remove technical ability from people. Eventually, humans would just return to living more comfortably through harmful technologies and things would be right back where they started. This is a war for the “hearts and minds,” not a physical revolution. People need to evolve mentally and spiritually so that they don’t WANT to live unnaturally and don’t WANT to destroy the Earth with gross human overpopulation, and we need to figure out how to get that done, or at least how to greatly speed it up, then implement the solution we learn/invent. If this war is fought instead as the a physical revolution, we’re doomed because we’re a tiny minority that doesn’t have the ability to end industrialism regardless of how strategic and clever we are, and because even if we were to miraculously accomplish that impossible feat, humans would return to living industrially again anyway.

    But again, I agree with everything else in this essay. For example:

    “Mao’s ‘Four Pests’ extermination campaign was explicitly designed to improve living for China’s assimilated humans at the expense of the non-human “pests”. The government’s horrendous South-North water re-routing project might ‘benefit’ 100M people by diverting 44.8 billion cubic meters of water, but only at the expense of non-humans who will henceforth be deprived of the pre-existing natural waterflow.”

    Exactly! This is what honest human overpopulation deniers (as opposed to those who understand the problem but just don’t care) don’t get: Every space taken up by modern humans, their agriculture, and their infrastructure, is space where wildlife and real nature are excluded. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, karma, what goes around comes around, all is one, harm to any portion of the web of life creates harm to the entire web, etc. You can’t have technology or overpopulation without doing great harm to the natural world and everything that lives there.

  5. “But how about shutting down the evening commute, when the next wildfires hit the Amazon, and demanding a trade embargo against Brazil?”

    Brazil is f****d up enough already. Instead of embargoing us just TAKE THE F***ING CIA BACK and stop impeaching/jailing our presidents and messing up our elections.

  6. *Mark Behrend: “There is no demand for appliances that can talk to each other” – maybe not right now, but as the convenience produced by 5G becomes apparent, the demand will appear, like it always does. We all love what technologies do for us, going back to fire and farming. I was briefly a Greenpeace activist and I was struck by the lust amongst other activists and staff for the latest electronic gadgets.

  7. @SRH
    Well, people need to grow the ef up and evolve, and stop demanding environmentally harmful crap. There’s no excuse for this. Hell, if I didn’t need it for my job, I wouldn’t even have this computer. And you clearly don’t know how advertising works: they create demands where none existed. In other words, they make unaware people, which is most of them, think that they want something that they really don’t want. Both of these reasons for demands for unnecessary crap are problems that need to be stopped.

    BTW, I was an employee of Greenpeace when I was a campaigner with Earth First! I was surprised how conservative Greenpeace was when I began working there (I’m more of a Sea Shepherd guy, though both groups have their place in the environmental movement).

  8. Unlikely as it is that anyone is still reading this thread, a few random afterthoughts:

    Nancy Pelosi’s recently unveiled “Pale Green Suggestion” (my term, not hers) claims that incrementally phasing out fossil fuel use by 2050 would save 60,000 lives a year. In other words, she’s on board with killing 60,000 a year until then — or 1.8 million total.

    When the current pandemic appeared to have run its course in China (late April), it was reported that it had killed fewer than 4000, while the industrial shutdown it caused had saved 11,000 seniors and toddlers, who otherwise would have died from illnesses related to air pollution. I’ll take those numbers any day.

    Socialism is/was even MORE destructive of Nature than capitalism. For proof, one need look no farther than the (former) Aral Sea, which the USSR turned into a desert. Socialism is human supremacy on steroids. “All power to the People!”

    Franklin’s observation that most people who had experienced both civilized and indigenous lifestyles somehow preferred the latter is the Franklinism that should be taught in schools. His tinkering with crude electricity experiments serve only to remind us of how well we were doing without it.

    Given that genies do not normally go back into their bottles, I don’t see us ever giving up technology, even after the fall. Finding a human consensus on anything is impossible, and we can’t uninvent the wheel. (Let’s not forget that making a fire, hunting, and building shelters require technology, too — albeit technology constrained by ignorance. And how often do we see films of “primitive tribes” wearing flip-flops and tee shirts?)

    How many women would really agree to go back to a time when they spent the best years of their lives either pregnant, nursing, or burying the victims of infant mortality — if not dying themselves, in childbirth? Who wants to un-know that the Earth is round, and that the sun isn’t a creator god? The greatest error in the annals of human thought was the “apparent fact” that the Earth was the central and most important object in the Universe. It was from there that we concluded that, as the dominant species on Earth, we were “created” to rule it. Genesis (and its parallels in most religions) all spring from logic and deductive reasoning, all of which was wrong.

    Our best likely outcome is a global crash that is traced unmistakably back to the use of electricity and industrial agriculture,* and a new human morality that equates the two with incest and bestiality.

    One final curiosity, which I won’t pretend to explain: Isn’t it interesting that it wasn’t until the 20th century that human longevity got back up to pre-agricultural levels, AND that we discovered that the Earth is too small and insignificant to have been the purpose of a cosmic creator? All the creation myths go back to a belief that our little solar system was the Universe.

    * Another commercial agriculture put-down: Nutritionist Bob Marshall noted that wheat harvested in the 1880s typically had more than double the protein content of wheat harvested today.

  9. This is the most significant statement above: “Franklin’s observation that most people who had experienced both civilized and indigenous lifestyles somehow preferred the latter is the Franklinism that should be taught in schools.”

    While it may be true that Earth is not the center of the universe, that does not negate the existence of a Creator/creative energy, and that is and was a centerpiece of indigenous life.
    The post above strikes me as somewhat negative thinking. To consider the primitive technologies of making fire, hunting, and building or making shelter as born out of ignorance is simplistic and shallow thinking. Native/indigenous peoples lived pretty much in harmony with the creation, or nature, if you will. They weren’t “noble savages”, but were people living in nature, living off the land and on the land. They were and are as intelligent, if not more so, than educated euro-Americans of today.
    While this may be off topic, I still say that’s the only way of life that has long term survival possibilities.

  10. @Mark Behrend
    1. The only way that people return to living a lot more simply & naturally, and eventually as hunter-gatherers, and in much smaller numbers, is if humans have a major mental and spiritual evolution. So long as people desire things beyond basic necessities, they will cause these problems. What should be taught in schools, in addition to Earth-friendly concepts, is Buddhism and meditation in order to push people in the right direction. If people don’t return to living a lot more simply and naturally and in much smaller numbers, you’re quite correct about the impending crash, the biggest problem about which is not what it will do to humans, but what it will do to everything else on the planet.

    2. Economic -isms are not the issue. Capitalism REQUIRES destruction of the Earth, but socialism and communism are equally capable of causing it also. The problem is that money exists at all, not how it’s moved around and shared or not.

    3. Humans using rudimentary technologies, which are barely technologies if at all, is not the problem, unless you think that humans per se are the problem because of things like using human-made weapons to hunt, which allowed humans to cause extinctions wherever they went when they began leaving Africa 60-90,000 years ago. (This is a serious issue that deserves discussion, but I’m leaving it aside for the time being.) The problems with technology began after humans started using agriculture, and in fact with agriculture itself.

    @Clem Wilkes
    Hunter gatherers who focus on expanding their consciousness instead of unnaturally and harmful manipulating the natural world are the most advanced people on Earth. I would challenge even the most brilliant scientists to understand or explain the Australian Aboriginal concept of “dream time” and its implications, for example. Mark’s comment was ignorant and disgusting, despite the fact that he’s one of the few here who acknowledge the extreme fundamental problem of human overpopulation.

  11. Jeff, thank you, it’s obvious that you get it. For what it’s worth, the Earth/Creation is going to have to adjust itself, rebalance itself, through whatever mechanism it takes. Agriculture as it is practiced today, both plant and animal, is a major part of the problem, along with industrial/technological endeavors. These are also a major cause of human overpopulation and the subsequent pillage of the natural world. When the adjustment comes many people will suffer as well as much of the other animate and plant life. But in the long run, the Creation/earth will continue, and, likely, humankind also but in small groups and villages. There is definitely much more to be considered in trying to describe and understand the changes that are coming.

  12. I’m surprised that many of these defeatist comments were allowed to be posted, or else were not deleted immediately by the moderators of this site.

    The people here don’t seem to have any realistic understanding of society, complex systems, or the dynamics of revolution.

    You don’t need a majority of the world’s population to agree to renounce modern tech. All you need is an extremely small but committed minority to force the destruction of a few key systems, such that the entire industrial system collapses. Because the industrial system is tightly-coupled and interconnected, disruptions in these key systems will have reverberating and catastrophic effects. Further, because of resource depletion, and the destruction of the organization-dependent systems that allow resource extraction, the industrial system very likely won’t be able to rebuild itself–or if it can, it would be very very difficult to do.

    How many revolutionaries are needed for this? 200? 2,000? The Bolsheviks during the Russian revolution only numbered a few thousand, and yet their activities resulted in the conquest of all of Russia–something like 1/8 of the Earth’s land area. Anti-tech revolutionaries have no illusions about “planning” or “creating” a better society–they just seek to destroy the industrial system. Being so, their goals have a far greater chance of success than the Russian revolutionaries. The Russians failed to create their society because the development and control of society over the long-term is impossible, and because their goals were vague. But they succeeded in the simple, clear, and concrete goal of taking over the Russian government. Likewise, anti-tech revolutionaries have a realistic chance of achieving the simple, clear, and concrete goal of destroying the industrial system.

    If nobody here agrees with the foregoing, or if no one on this site thinks that it’s possible to DO anything about the situation, then I have a question for you:

    Why are you on here???

    Does this site function as a kind of group therapy whereby you can all alleviate your anxieties about modern technology without ever having to DO anything?? Then shouldn’t you join another group that doesn’t have the word “resistance” in it. or maybe, “Deep Green Resistance” should change its name to “Deep Green Debate Society” or “Deep Green Group Therapy.”

    If you do want to DO something to prevent the existential catastrophe tech has in store of us and our world, and resolve the damage it’s already caused, then you should completely eschew all public displays of defeatism and work on constructive propaganda that can pave the way for a revolutionary movement to force the collapse of the industrial system.

  13. @Ari Paul
    There’s a huge difference between being defeatist and being realistic and strategic. For example, it’s defeatist to say that we can’t get the human population down to pre-agriculture levels and return to living in balance with the Earth and our ecosystems as hunter-gatherers, but it’s unrealistic and not at all strategic to say that we could do either of those things soon or that it could be done with a very small number of people.

    What do you think the response of the state would be to the sabotage that you and DGR advocate? And BTW, I agree with you ideologically, but you’re dead wrong logistically. Trump just sicced the military or something equivalent on protesters in Portland, mainly for just being in the street near a federal building and for graffiti. Anyone doing what you advocate would be hunted down and either killed, or imprisoned for decades or life. Furthermore, you would cause the vast majority of modern humans to turn against environmental causes even more than they already are. And even if you were successful, people would just eventually rebuild what you destroyed. This whole DGR fantasy that with just a few people we could bring down industrial society is, at best, not well thought out, at worst a childish fanatasy.

    What’s needed, and the only thing that will work, is a major evolution in human consciousness, both mentally and spiritually. People shouldn’t WANT to destroy the Earth and everything that lives here just so they can overbreed and/or just so they can have conveniences and toys. In fact they shouldn’t even want any of those things, as Siddhartha taught 2,500 years ago but the vast majority of people still haven’t learned. People shouldn’t even want to artificially extend their lifespans for that matter because of the environmental and ecological harm it causes to do so. The thinking and attitudes of humans as a whole is what has to change, and if they don’t our cause is doomed to failure. I advocate having kids meditate a few minutes in school each day starting in kindergarten, implementing mandatory ecology, wildlife biologyand marine biology lessons in school starting as young as possible but definitely before high school, and mandatory lessons by TRADITIONAL indigenous people about how to live while still caring for the Earth and everything that lives here (or at least teach kids the natural ways to live), starting in kindergarten. Humans went off the rails mentally and spiritually thousands of years ago, and there’s no quick fix for this, as much as people like us want there to be one.

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