News from the Other End of the World: March 2020

Newsletter for

This is a monthly newsletter for where I introduce new friends I have met in the Deep Adaptation community, give an update on current and future projects and essay ideas, and share what I’m currently reading and watching.

New Writing

This past month I published, “Why I Stopped Protesting and Started a Garden”.

I first woke up to the threat of climate change in 2014 (I was a late bloomer), when was organizing the first People’s Climate March in New York City. Around that time, I started writing about environmental issues and then joining—and later organizing—protests.And so I joined the ranks. Raising my voice. Raising awareness. Raising hell. Five years later, I was done.Done marching. Done mobilizing. Done.

You can read the whole article at A Beautiful Resistance.

Recent Interviews

Patrick Farnsworth, Last Born in the Wilderness

Recently, I had the real pleasure of talking with Patrick Farnsworth again, host of the Last Born in the Wilderness podcast. We talked about my recent essays, “We Did Start the Fire” and “Why I Stopped Protesting and Started a Garden”, and more generally about climate change, protesting, and living meaningfully in the Anthropocene. Unlike a lot of interviews I’ve done, I actually feel like I’m having a real conversation when I talk to Patrick, and I suspect I may be getting more out of it than I am giving. But that’s okay. That’s the way good conversation goes. You can listen to the interview here.

If you’re not familiar with Patrick’s podcast, Last Born in the Wilderness, you really should check it out. He has interviewed such amazing folks as Bayo Akomolafe (“The Times Are Urgent, We Must Slow Down”), Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb), Derrick Jensen (Dark Green Resistance), Dahr Jamail (The End of Ice), Silvia Federici (Caliban & the Witch), Rhyd WIldermuth/Alley Valkyrie (Gods & Radicals), Guy McPherson (Nature Bats Last), Stephen Jenkinson (Orphan Wisdom School), Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics), John Zerzan (anarchist), Trebbe Johnson (Radical Joy for Hard Times), Dmitry Orlov (The Five Stages of Collapse), Dougald Hine (Dark Mountain Project), and many more.

Michael Dowd, Post-Doom

I also did an interview with Michael Dowd for his Post-Doom series. It probably won’t be posted for a while though. Michael is someone I’m honored to call a friend. Michael is progressive Christian minister, religious naturalist (God is nature), and author of Thank God for Evolution. Michael and Connie tour around the country speaking about Big History/Deep Time and, more recently Post-Doom, which he defines as:

  1. What opens up when we remember who we are, accept what is inevitable, and prioritize what is pro-future and soul-nourishing.
  2. Living meaningfully and courageously in the midst of climate disruption, ecological loss, and societal decline.

Michael has collected dozens of conversations with interesting people on this topic. About fifteen have been posted, but there are many more to come. And I’m honored that Michael invited me to be among them.

Michael also did me an incredible service by making an audio recording of my entire book, Another End of the World is Possible, as well as my recent essay, “We Did Start the Fire: Climate Change & the Curse of Hope“. It’s a fun recording to listen to because Michael interjects his own thoughts occasionally and also repeats sections of the text that he find particularly impactful–which turns out to be more interesting to listen to than a straight read-through. Michael has done a similar service for many other authors. Check out his his SoundCloud page.

Climate Grief Support Groups

I facilitated my first Climate Grief Support Groups this month. I’m going to be sharing more about how the first groups went in another post shortly, so keep an eye out for that.

It is one ironies of climate activism that, in fighting for a more sustainable way of life, we often pursue our activism in a totally unsustainable way. Grief therapist Holly Truhlar writes that the environmental movement has failed to offer spaces where we can talk about our pain and loss, and until we do we are never going to be in right relationship with nature, with ourselves, or with each other. This purpose of these groups is to create such a space, with the belief that facing these feelings honestly will lead to more appropriate and effective action. Here we strive to follow the ironic advice of Bayo Akomolafe who writes, “The times are urgent—Let’s slow down.”

Writing to Look Forward To

I have several essay ideas simmering, but these will probably be the next ones …

“Anarchism for Civilians”

This will be an introduction to anarchism for non-anarchists. It will be informed James Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, which helped me understand what civilization really means. And I don’t think you can understand anarchism without understanding civilization.

“Why Our Legal System Will Not Save the Planet”

This will be spin off from an online course I taught recently about the legal system and systems thinking. It will also build on my essay, “Do Trees Have Rights? Toward an Ecological Politics”. Our legal system is grounded in certain assumptions about individual rights and property, which make addressing the environmental problems almost impossible. What is needed is a legal model informed by systems thinking. A good introduction to this idea (and the text I used for my class) is The Ecology of Law: Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community by Fritjof Capra and Ugo Mattei.

What I’m Reading and Watching

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I hadn’t read this book yet. When I saw it was required reading for my son’s freshman history class, I decided to finally read it. It’s kind of required reading if you want to call yourself a political progressive. Zinn looks at United States history from the perspective of the “losers”: American Indians, Blacks, and poor Whites. He explains how throughout America’s history, elites have manipulated non-elites to their own ends with xenophobia, racism, and nationalism.

The Way: An Ecological World View by Edward Goldsmith

Michael Dowd turned me on to Goldsmith during our interview (above). Goldsmith writes about the role of religion in maintaining or helping to destroy a healthy relationship with the natural world. (Guess which one most our religions are doing.)

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Change Can’t Change (film)

I’ve been meaning to watch this film for months, but this months I’m going to sit down and do it. According to the description, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?

If you’d like to connect with me or send me recommendations for websites, articles, or books to check out, just email me at

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post,, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

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