Editor’s note: This excerpt from Dougald Hine’s recent article describes something new happening under the umbrella of environmental activism recently. It is darker, less hopeful, and more radical than the environmentalism of just a few years ago. I encourage you to go read the whole article here.
“… on a scale not seen before, people are having an encounter with climate change not as a problem that can be solved or managed, made to go away, or reconciled with some existing arc of progress, but as a dark knowledge that calls our path into question, that starts to burn away the stories we were told and the trajectories our lives were meant to follow, the entitlements we were brought up to believe we had, our assumptions about the shape of history, the kind of world we were born into and our place within it.
“The power of this encounter stems not least from the sense that some secret part of us already knew. We had been sitting silently with this pouch of unnamed fears and darknesses, and now it becomes possible to find each other, to share our fears, to name something of the dark material we were carrying all along. And for the first time, we have movements in which our engagement is welcome without us having to suppress all this in favour of a can-do rhetoric we can’t quite believe in.
“If this read on the processes at work is anywhere close to accurate, then we are in territory where the tools known to mythographers and anthropologists are more help than the standard equipment of communications, campaigning or activism. I can’t find another language for what’s going on, without risking the suggestion that this is some kind of initiatory process.”