September 25, 2012

Changing the Course of History

Each day that passes, more energy builds up to drive the new global warming storms. More forests fall and more prairies are plowed under. Every day, new coal power goes online, new cars roll off assembly lines. Every day, more species are driven to extinction and more humans and non-humans are driven into slavery and suffering. Every day, more women and children are sexually assaulted, and more boys are taught that this is normal.

The trajectory of this culture is clear, and it is not hopeful. Dozens of generations have now grown up in a culture that not only systematically destroys life, but that validates and rewards this cultural and individual behavior as normal. This is why we can’t wait: the world is heading in the wrong direction.

And not only the environment is being made sick. Our minds are being progressively more poisoned too – cajoled into thinking consumption is the answer to happiness, while our souls are being drained of their substance. Our morality is being dismantled bit by bit. Greed and self-gratification are the attitudes of our time. Our leaders decry abuse and terrorism while facilitating the biggest system of slavery, incarceration, disenfranchisement, and mass murder the world has ever seen. The culture trumpets freedom and democracy while enforcing both a brutal patriarchy that uses pornography, pop culture, and violence to enforce its hierarchy; and a brutal racism no less violent and frighteningly effective.

These systems need dismantling – no, they need to be absolutely destroyed; but there are other aspects of the world that need regrowth. We need more compassion. More conviction. More service. More courage. We need to reach inside ourselves and find the power to drive this historical moment. And historic it is – this is a pivotal time. What happens in the next few decades will decide the fate of our species and many millions of others.

September 17, 2012


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.

September 10, 2012

Connect With Your Ancestors

I have no roots in this land. I am a member of settler culture, and my ancestors came here in the great wave of colonization. Only a few scattered generations, bereft of their traditions, lie in the ground here. I have no stories of the land, no means of communicating with the spirits of those who came before, no long-nurtured relationship with the rivers and winds and land to inherit.

This is no excuse for cultural appropriation. I have no right to steal parts of other cultures and spiritualities, nor do I deserve pity for being part of a culture that severed it's humanity in order to gain riches. What I do have the responsibility to do is regain a connection with my roots.

My ancestors came from several regions - Norway, Ukraine, Portugal. I want to regain some of the biocentric traditions of my culture, the ancient ways developed over long years immersed in a living, breathing world, a world alive with intention, with spirits and cold flowing waters, with great winds and bright starshine.

For me, the first steps involve learning the history of my people. How did they become colonized? When? What came before? What came after? In these questions, and in beginning to regain connection to our ancestors, we may be able to gain some of their wisdom and once again learn to live as connected peoples.

September 2, 2012

How Can Young People Fight Back?

Certainly there are good reasons for us to fight back. We have had the misfortune of being born into a devastated world, a desecrated world, a world robbed of meaning and community and life. Instead of a world that has been watched over by our ancestors, we have been born in a time when we cannot be sure if there is a future.

The soil is gone. The forests were long since felled. The grasslands are ghosts. The oceans are bleeding out. The climate is in chaos. Rape is epidemic. Addiction is rampant, to drugs and pornography and alcohol and technology. We are living at the endgame of industrial civilization.

Earth is dying, and for many of us young people, this is all we know. Many of us have never seen an old-growth forest. How are we to know that trees as thick as the length of a car used to blanket this land? How are we to know, really know, that salmon used to return every year to feed the people and the forest and the land?

We have forgotten much. Civilization has successfully broken the bonds between the young and the old. This is critical to the success of empire – if we cannot remember our history, our triumphs and defeats, our traditions and our ways, how can we survive? How can we fight?

The young people have so much to offer. We have energy. We have conviction. We have rage. We have love. We have the discontentment of living in the system that is using us like slaves. These are gifts; we need to use them on behalf of this life. But for our gifts to be truly effective, we need to work together with our elders. This struggle needs to be multi-generational.

“Breaking the natural bonds (could there be a deeper bond than the cross generational one between mother and child?) between young and old means that the political wisdom never accumulates. It also means that the young are never socialized into a true culture of resistance. The values of a youth culture-an adolescent stance rejecting all constraints-prevent both the "culture" and the "resistance" from really developing. No culture can exist without community norms based on responsibility to each other and some accepted ways to enforce those norms. And the "resistance" will never amount to more than a few smashed windows, the low-hanging tactical fruit for an adolescent strategy of emotional intensity.” – Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save The Planet, page 144.

Deep Green Resistance is building a movement to fight back, and we mean to win. This is one way that young people can fight back: join us. There is much to be done, and time is short. Everyone can contribute – every mind and every set of hands brings us that much closer to a culture of resistance. We do not pretend that DGR is the only path. There are many organizations and groups of people around the world who are fighting back. Find these communities. Learn about the struggle. Learn your revolutionary history. Find elders who also see the necessity of fighting for life, and learn from them.

From here, we begin building. This movement has been a long time in coming, but now it is on its way. This may not look like a war, but it is a war. We need warriors.