Editor’s Note: Today we’re sharing the following brief essays written by members of Deep Green Resistance:
- Why I Joined Deep Green Resistance
- A Culture of Resistance
- Why Should We Care About the Planet?
- How Do We Prepare For What’s Ahead?
- My Favorite Natural Place
My Favorite Natural Place
When I was about 8 I lived in the mountains and our home was surrounded by tall needly trees.
Not too far from one corner of the home, just slightly down the hill, was a small cluster of boulders. The rocks were situated in such a way that I could just manage to nestle myself 8-year-old self between them.
It was a tiny haven. A mini open-air dwelling and escape from regular life.
The chipmunks would occasionally join me and there we’d sit listening to the trees creaking in the wind.
I haven’t lived in the woods or any place even remotely as wild since. I’ve called cities home for the majority of my life, both before and after that time. And for an embarrassingly long time, I didn’t realize anything was missing from my life.
But somehow I finally realized the errors in my ways. There wasn’t any specific moment in time or place I visited that reminded of what I was missing. But I began to seek out natural refuges wherever I was. And when I took the time to look around me, I saw that beautiful places were everywhere. Not just in the mountains but in the city parks. And at the beach. On the trails near my home. Even my backyard.
If I had to pick just one favorite place in nature anywhere, I think the mountains will always top the list. But actually I like to think that wherever in nature I happen to be is my favorite place.
Why Should We Care About the Planet?
Two thirds of the oxygen in the air we breathe comes from plankton in the ocean. We evolved with nature, shaped by our relationships with the plants and animals around us.
Every cell in our bodies comes from nature. We are made of water, plant and animal, virus and microbe. The bacteria in our gut outnumber our own cells. We are human only in relationship with the more than human world. And it is an honour to be related. To share a connection with the magnificence and intelligence embodied in the diversity of species who are our kin. It is an honour to be an animal on this planet.
I care because I am in love with the natural world. And knowing what I know, I think it is a necessity to protect it. But more than that, it is an act of gratitude. The Earth gives us our very lives. It gives us the most beautiful things we will ever experience. I could work my whole life in activism and never repay the cost of a single breath of ocean air.
How Do We Prepare For What’s Ahead?
We are living in unpredictable times. Whether it’s the threat of nuclear annihilation, economic depression, or ecological collapse, no one can predict exactly what will happen or when. What we do know is that cities and suburbs will not be places humans can live in the long run.
Women need to learn self-defence now. As things become increasingly chaotic, men will look for an outlet for their violence. Those outlets are always women and nature. We can attempt to learn the skills that are necessary for survival in traditional human cultures.
But there are no personal solutions to social problems, which means we need to build communities, we need to organize, and we need to defend the natural world as if our lives depend on it, because they do.
A Culture of Resistance
What does it mean to have a culture of resistance? What does this culture value? What is it resisting, and why? How is it different from the dominant culture?
The culture that we are living in now — a capitalist, industrial society — has certain values that we have been told are important for our well-being. Some of these values are: unlimited growth is good, we can have whatever we want, humans are superior to all other life forms on earth, we can tame the natural world for our own purposes, and the individual is more important than the community.
The problem with these values is that they are unjust and unsustainable. We aren’t living within the natural limits of our planet. We think we can continue to use up everything on the earth, and there will be no consequences. And if there is a problem, technology will solve it.
In the meantime, the population continues to rise, more and more of the earth is being destroyed, and more species are dying every day. People are becoming more alienated from each other. They don’t understand, or don’t want to acknowledge, that industrial civilization is the cause of all this suffering.
A culture of resistance rejects industrial, capitalist values. It fights for the natural world and knows that we are just one of many species that share this earth.
A culture of resistance joins together as a community, and rejects the idea of individualism. No one person is more important than another. We work together to meet our needs. We respect all beings and realize that we are dependent on nature to live. Nobody should be using up all the natural resources, thereby making it very difficult for others — human and nonhuman — to survive. It reminds me of the Buddhist teaching, “Do not take anything that is not freely given.”
A culture of resistance recognizes that the earth is finite. The planet can support a few million people, but not billions. It can provide us with all we need to stay alive and healthy: clean water and air, natural food, and adequate shelter. Other beings on the planet are respected and seen as part of the natural community, not things to be exploited. Hunter-gatherers used to live in harmony with nature for thousands of years, and it was sustainable.
The modern culture we live in today is toxic in so many ways. If we do not resist, it will continue to grow until it collapses under its own weight, causing unimaginable destruction and suffering. We must get rid of industrial civilization. Join the culture of resistance!
Why I Joined Deep Green Resistance
When I came across Deep Green Resistance I had no background in environmentalism and no knowledge about the ecological crises our planet was facing, and in many ways I felt like this put me at a disadvantage. But I think it gave me one really important advantage: it meant that I hadn’t yet been taken in by many of the false solutions offered by the mainstream environmental movement.
I hadn’t been primed to believe that my power as an activist was limited to petitions, street protests, reducing my carbon footprint and so on. And it meant that I didn’t already have a strong belief that technologies like wind and solar were solutions for the planet. It quickly became clear to me, through understanding this new analysis, that such technologies can only be seen as solutions in a world in which humans have lost their true connection to the natural world.
I learned that some studies have shown that renewables are expected to be the number one cause of habitat destruction in coming years. So that begs the question, is that what the planet needs? Is that something I can stand by and support?
My hope is that more people start to question some of these mainstream narratives, whether or not they already understand what’s happening to our planet — our home.
I want more people to look at the facts, and be unafraid in making up their own minds how they feel about what they see.
I want more people to feel confident in questioning whether a new form of industry that calls itself “green” is what the planet really needs, whether it’s really what we want to be doing to our home. And whether we think this industrial way of life we’ve all become so used to is really sustainable.