“How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but Not Civilization”

I just watched this excellent lecture by Toby Hemenway, a consultant and lecturer on permaculture and ecological design.

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Is This the Beginning of the End?: COVID-19 & Civilizational Collapse

I know a lot of you are worried. Some of you are really worried.

There’s shorter term concerns about how we and our families are going to get along in the coming weeks and months. Some of us have health issues which make us more vulnerable to COVID-19. Some of us have lost jobs or other income.

But some people are wondering whether COVID-19 is the beginning of the end of civilization. I recently had a conversation with Sam Mitchell of the Collapse Chronicles about COVID-19 and whether it is going to “trigger” the collapse of global industrial civilization. Here’s my two cents …

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What I Learned From Facilitating My First Climate Grief Support Group

1. No politicians.

2. Breathe.

3. Lots of people need this.

4. No, really. I mean it about the politicians.


I first heard about the Good Grief Network on a podcast. The group offers a 10-step program designed to help:

“build personal resilience and empowerment while strengthening community ties to combat despair, inaction, and eco-anxiety on the collective level.”

When I heard about it, I knew I wanted to do something like that where I live in northwest Indiana (NWI). Whenever I mentioned it to activist friends, they all seemed excited about the idea. So I joined an online Good Grief group and did the facilitator training. I’ve only facilitated two groups so far. What follows is a description of how I proceeded to create a local climate grief support group.

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We Live in the Orbit of Beings Greater Than Us

You can now pre-order your copy of We Live In The Orbit of Beings Greater Than Us, a new collection of interviews of 30 scientists, feminists, theorists, psychologists, journalists, environmentalists, and other important thinkers, all addressing the most overwhelming crisis of our time: climate change and the collapse of industrial civilization.

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News from the Other End of the World: March 2020

Newsletter for AnotherEndoftheWorld.org

This is a monthly newsletter for AnotherEndoftheWorld.org 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 350.org 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 anotherendispossible@gmail.org.

Last Born in the Wilderness: New Interview

Click here to listen to the interview.

Last month, I had the real pleasure of talking with Patrick Farnsworth again, host of the Last Born in the Wilderness podcast. You can listen to the interview here. We talked about my essays, “We Did Start the Fire”, about climate change, mass extinction, and the Anthropocene, my most recent (provocatively-titled) essay, “Why I Stopped Protesting and Started a Garden”, and about what a “post-doom” orientation really looks like.

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This Graph (Unintentionally) Reveals What’s Wrong With Our Worldview

A quick glance at this graph (published by a London engineering firm) reveals what’s wrong with our world–but not in the way that the makers of the graph intended.

Note that the “social condition” and the “environmental condition” are placed on two axes–implying that they are disconnected, that you can have a change in one without the other changing.

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Why I Stopped Protesting and Started a Garden

“Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.”

— Ian Hamilton Finlay

I quit protesting and started a garden. It sounds absurd at first, I know. But bear with me.

I first woke up to the threat of climate change in 2014 (I was a late bloomer), when 350.org 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.

It was exhilarating. It felt empowering. I experienced for the first time in my life the potential of masses of people organized for a common cause. Harvard political scientist, Erica Chenoweth, has concluded that as little as 3.5% of a population participating in nonviolent protest can effect political change. I was excited to be a part of that transformative minority.

Mind you, I never expected protesting, by itself, to change the world. Rather, I saw mass events as opportunities to raise energy and build solidarity, especially among those who participated, but also among those who witnessed from afar. When people would ask me if I thought events like the People’s Climate March “accomplished anything”, I would respond that what those events do is to help people realize that they are not alone, that together they have power when they act collectively, and (this is critical) to motivate them to organize when they go back home.

And so I joined the ranks. Raising my voice. Raising awareness. Raising hell.

Five years later, I was done.

Done marching. Done mobilizing. Done.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ESSAY.

News from the Other End of the World: February 2020

Newsletter for AnotherEndoftheWorld.org

This is the first of what I hope will be a monthly newsletter where I will 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.

Continue reading “News from the Other End of the World: February 2020”