Some of the following slides both reference specific individuals and aspects of radical environmentalism that were discussed in Dark Green Religion. Others provide images that illustrate, somewhat impressionistically, the political, ethical, and spiritual bricolage that characterizes the movement .
William C. Rogers, aka Avalon
Vail Colorado Ski Resort Building, set on fire in 1998 by Avalon & others in the Earth Liberation Front
Bioregional Deep Ecology and Radical Environmentalism • Spiritual Biocentrism ~ The earth and its life processes are sacred - but Western religion & philosophy foster anthropocentrism that leads to an. . . • Extinction Crisis fueled by the greed of corporations and . . . • Corrupt Governments which refuse or otherwise fail to arrest these extinctions
Good Foraging (small-scale organic horticultural) societies Animistic, Pantheistic, Goddess-Matriarchal, or Eastern Religions Biocentrism/Ecocentrism (promotes conservation) Intuition Bad Pastoral and Agricultural Societies Monotheistic, Sky-God, Patriarchal, Western Religions Anthropocentrism (promotes destruction) Reason (especially instrumental) Binary Associations in Radical Environmentalism and Deep Ecology
Good Holistic Worldviews Decentralism Primitive Technology Regional Self-Sufficiency Anarchism/Participatory Democracy Radicalism Bad Mechanistic & Dualistic Worldviews Centralization Modern Technology Globalization and International Trade Statism, Corruption, Authoritarianism Pragmatism More Binary Associations
Grief and anger over the destruction of nature fuels movement passions. Social criticism, history, ecology, and myth fuse in a radical worldview which shapes political priorities, and justifies lawbreaking
Ecological Analysis fuels the ubiquitous Apocalypticism, found in movement literature, poetry, and music • e.g., “Time Bomb,” “Ghost of a Chance,” “Disorder,” and “End of the World.” (see sound section for downloadable music)
We who can still hear the jaguar scream We dream of a day when all things wild will again be free… It is a dream we will fight for until the day we die
Ecological Analysis fuels the ubiquitous Apocalypticism, found in movement literature, poetry, and music • e.g., “Time Bomb,” “Ghost of a Chance,” “Disorder,” and “End of the World.”
Agricultures destroy or force the conversion of indigenous peoples living in harmony with nature Agricultures replace foraging societies and their place-based gods and nature spirits and ethics of kinship toward all life forms, with sky-gods. To re-harmonize humans in nature we must re-sacralize our perceptions of the earth. The Myth of the Fallfrom a Foraging Paradise
Resacralize earth by promoting animistic and pantheistic perception through . . . • The Arts • poetry, prose, music, dance, visual artcan evoke proper spiritual perception • Ritualizing • recovering and re-inventing green religion • Ethical Action • defending the earthen spiritualities of surviving indigenous nations
Roadshows as Wilderness Revival Meetings The Council of All Beings . . . ritualizing toward a kinship ethic with non-human nature Advanced Ritual Workshops . . . deepening proper spiritual perception Direct action . . . binding people with each other and the natural world
Radical Environmentalism and Bioregional Deep Ecology ~ A “bricolage” of spirituality, ecology, and radical political ideology
Songs like “I am an Animal” (Dana Lyons) express the kinship ethic and anti-anthropocentrism of the movement. (see favorites/sound)
Radical Environmentalists: Engage the Destroyers – Resist!!! Bioregionalists: Promote sustainable lifeways Radical Greens v. Bioregionalists ~ Differing Strategic Priorities
Dave Foreman – Prophet of Radical Environmentalism Monkeywrenching or “ecotage” is “a form of worship toward the earth. It’s really a very spiritual thing to go out and do . . . You are a religious warrior for the Earth.” Gary Snyder – Architect of Bioregional Social Philosophy “The closer you get to real matter, rock air firewood, boy, the more spiritual the world is”
Let our Action Be our Prayer . . . ‘cause if you haven’t done everything imaginable, you haven’t done shit!
Fortress Wall, Warner Creek Blockade, Oregon (USA): The year long blockade was eventually successful in blocking a large timber sale 1993
PAGAN PENTAGRAM ~ some radical environmentalists are self-consciously pagan.
Barricades made from trees cut for logging roads, rearranged to blockade the loggers from access to the large timber sales in Idaho (USA) 8-10
Album Cover . . . note the burning bulldozer in the background
Live Wild or Die urges a feral revolution of desire, anarchist rebellion, and inflammatory tactics. This is the cover of its premier issue (1989) 3-6
Drawing rubric from European paganism and the model from the most militant EF! Activists, “Elves” in the UK form the Earth Liberation Front (1992) 4-6
The swiftness of deer The vision of eagle The strength of bear The sureness of cougar The stealth of snake The wildness of wolf Guide these steps of mine My hand as it releases These flames of life’s hope Toward that which would destroy us all. “Destroy what destroys you!”
Bioregionalism’s focus. . . • Premise: those who live in a place can better learn its and nature spirits and sustainable lifeways than people far away • Goal: Redraw political boundaries to cohere with those of different ecosystem types • Hope: overturning nation-states in favor of decentralized, regional, community self-rule.
Promote regional identity and activism through: bioregional congresses and local groups Permaculture and Organic Agriculture pagan ritualizing Bioregionally-oriented wildlands advocacy Bioregional Strategy:Promote sustainable lifeways
Relative optimism or Apocalypticism shapes the strategic choices: • Could catastrophe be averted through human action? • Can governments play a positive role? • Does hope lie only after the collapse of industrial civilization and the destruction of modern technology?
Bioregionalists are slightly more hopeful than radical environmentalists • They generally expect that industrial society will collapse, but are less sure this will occur dramatically and with great suffering • They retain some hope we can learn our way toward sustainability, rather than have it forced upon us by ecological collapse.
Yet, Apocalypticism reigns among virtually all radical environmental activists and most bioregionalists.