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Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays

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A provocative and urgent essay collection that asks how we can live with hope in “an age of ecocide” Paul Kingsnorth was once an activist―an ardent environmentalist. He fought against rampant development and the depredations of a corporate world that seemed hell-bent on ignoring a looming climate crisis in its relentless pursuit of profit. But as the environmental movement began to focus on “sustainability” rather than the defense of wild places for their own sake and as global conditions worsened, he grew disenchanted with the movement that he once embraced. He gave up what he saw as the false hope that residents of the First World would ever make the kind of sacrifices that might avert the severe consequences of climate change. Full of grief and fury as well as passionate, lyrical evocations of nature and the wild, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist gathers the wave-making essays that have charted the change in Kingsnorth’s thinking. In them he articulates a new vision that he calls “dark ecology,” which stands firmly in opposition to the belief that technology can save us, and he argues for a renewed balance between the human and nonhuman worlds. This iconoclastic, fearless, and ultimately hopeful book, which includes the much-discussed “Uncivilization” manifesto, asks hard questions about how we’ve lived and how we should live.

284 pages, Paperback

First published March 16, 2017

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About the author

Paul Kingsnorth

30 books395 followers
Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer and thinker. He is a former deputy-editor of The Ecologist and a co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project. He lives in the west of Ireland.

He studied modern history at Oxford University, where he was also heavily involved in the road protest movement of the early 1990s.

After graduating, Paul spent two months in Indonesia working on conservation projects in Borneo and Java. Back in the UK, he worked for a year on the staff of the Independent newspaper. Following a three year stint as a campaign writer for an environmental NGO, he was appointed deputy editor of The Ecologist, where he worked for two years under the editorship of Zac Goldsmith.

He left the Ecologist in 2001 to write his first book One No, Many Yeses, a political travelogue which explored the growing anti-capitalist movement around the world. The book was published in 2003 by Simon and Schuster, in six languages across 13 countries.

In the early 2000s, having spent time with the tribal people of West Papua, who continue to be brutally colonised by the Indonesian government and military, Paul was instrumental in setting up the Free West Papua Campaign, which he also helped to run for a time.

Paul’s second book, Real England, was published in 2008 by Portobello. An exploration of the changing face of his home country in an age of globalisation, the book was quoted in speeches by the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, helped inspire the success of the hit West End play ‘Jerusalem’ and saw its author compared to Cobbett and Orwell by more than one newspaper.

In 2009, Paul launched, with Dougald Hine, the Dark Mountain Project – a call for a literary movement to respond to the ongoing collapse of the world’s ecological and economic certainties. What began as a self-published pamphlet has become a global network of writers, artists and thinkers. Paul is now the Project’s director and one of its editors.

In 2011, Paul’s first collection of poetry, Kidland, was published by Salmon. Since the mid-1990s, Paul’s poetry has been published in magazines including Envoi, Iota, Poetry Life and nthposition. He has been awarded the BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year Award and the Poetry Life Prize, and was narrowly pipped to the post in the Thomas Hardy Society’s annual competition.

Paul’s journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Le Monde, New Statesman, Ecologist, New Internationalist, Big Issue, Adbusters, BBC Wildlife and openDemocracy, for which he has also worked as a commissioning editor. He has appeared on various TV and radio programmes, most shamefully ‘This Morning with Richard and Judy.’ He is also the author of ‘Your Countryside, Your Choice’, a report on the future of the countryside, published in 2005 by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

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Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
635 reviews350 followers
November 21, 2017
Saudade (from the Portuguese): The feeling of intense longing for a person or place you love but is now lost. A Haunting desire for what is gone.
5 ★
Paul Kingsnorth was born in the same year I was first learning the word ecology and has a long history of writing and working on behalf of the environment. He no longer believes that humanity can stop what has been unleashed and writes essays in an attempt to work out what he thinks of it all, what to do next, and maintain his sanity while doing it.

In the past several years I have lost my way with and faith in long held beliefs and systems which I have supported over a lifetime, including those directed at redeeming our shared planet. My current state of hopelessness and defeat is difficult to carry alone (who wants to burden loved ones with the darker side) so I hoped reading this might act as a balm to my fragile and frayed psyche. Fair to say my expectations were not very high but solidarity with like-minded persons can often alleviate some distress through its kinship.

Though I no longer identify myself with the Christian faith, I still believe there is much wisdom to be found in the Bible. One of my favorite passages comes from the book of John:
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I never imagined that truth would be a candidate for the endangered species list but here we are living in times of alternative facts and fake news. I wish I could write as eloquently as the author so that I might do a better job at expressing why I loved this collection of essays, why I hi-lighted a record number of passages, why this will undoubtedly be one of my favorites of 2017, and why I will be reading through it many more times. Though not intended to comfort, paradoxically it did. I haven’t felt this close to truth and freedom in a long while. Should the book blurb and my thoughts here draw you in enough to read it, the photo’s meaning will be apparent.

“Writing that comes not, as most writing still does, from the self-absorbed and self-congratulatory metropolitan centres of civilization but from somewhere on the wilder fringes. Somewhere woody and weedy and largely avoided, from where insistent, uncomfortable truths about ourselves drift in; truths which we’re not keen on hearing. Writing which unflinchingly stares us down, however uncomfortable this may prove.”
Profile Image for Anna.
1,742 reviews677 followers
July 17, 2017
Occasionally I read a book so thought-provoking that it makes me want to write a book. Never has this feeling been stronger than when I was reading Paul Kingsnorth’s ‘Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist’. Just about every essay in the book inspired a potentially essay-length series of responses. In the interests of space, I won’t even attempt to cram them all into this review. Instead, it’s worth considering why I found the book so compelling. Kingsnorth’s writing style is extremely readable and I could easily have got through it in one sitting, had I not stopped every few pages to make copious notes. I also paced myself because the notes were symptomatic of intense responses to the essays: agreement, disagreement, sadness, anger, fellowship, invigoration, inspiration.

Kingsnorth’s writing is very unusual, as the essays comment on global environmental catastrophe from a personal, emotional perspective. The term ‘recovering environmentalist’ refers to the fact that he no longer identifies himself with the environmentalist movement, which he believes has gone astray, and therefore he is trying to withdraw from civilisation, while recognising that to truly do so is impossible. The closest things I’ve read to this are Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life, George Monbiot’s book about rewilding, and recently The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Amitav Ghosh’s book on erasure of climate change in literature and culture. The former overlaps in terms of the fundamental joy of experiencing nature; the latter in terms of the need for stories that place humanity as part of the environment rather than separate from it. Both of those books have a clear central thesis and are to some extent hopeful, while Kingsnorth’s is not. He thinks the war is over and the environment, and by extension humanity, lost. Thus his essays and the ‘Dark Mountain’ movement he co-founded ask what you do once hope is gone - you withdraw, mourn, and tell stories. These essays were written over the last seven years and, although I don't think they are in strictly chronological order, a progression can be discerned.

I think the main reason I reacted so strongly to ‘Confessions of A Recovering Environmentalist’ is that Kingsnorth discusses so many questions that I am constantly asking myself. No other book that I can remember does this. As a result, I found myself seeking to articulate my own answers and understand the extent to which they agreed with his. As he writes in a thoughtful, nuanced fashion rejecting absolutes and binary choices, as a reader I of course found myself doing the same. Even when I completely disagreed with something specific, I appreciated the way in which the point was expressed. I scribbled the longest notes on ‘Rescuing the English’, which made me so angry that I had to put the book aside and do something else. However, it also gave me several ideas that I want to explore further, including: is the vein of self-hatred in the English Left related to our lack of lasting republican revolution?

An overriding theme of these essays, and The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, is that we don’t know how to talk about and relate to the destruction of the environment. Our culture, our neoliberal ideology, our society, and our politics give us nothing to assuage the creeping fear of impending collapse. They merely distract us with spectacle, consumption goods, and platitudes about growth and progress. Kingsnorth takes the reader through his realisation that the environmental movement as it currently exists has become part of the problem, then describes his personal responses in spare yet quite lyrical style. I’ve picked out some especially significant parts:

I’m thirty-seven now. The world is smaller, more tired, more fragile, more horribly complex and full of troubles. Or, rather: the world is the same as ever it was, but I am more aware of it and the reality of my place within it. I have grown up, and there is nothing to be done about it. The worst part is that I can’t seem to look without thinking anymore. And now I know far more about what we are doing. We: the people. I know what we are doing, all over the world, to everything, all of the time. It’s why the magic is dying. It’s me. It’s us. [page 67]


This voice tells me that I am one of the luckiest people on Earth. It tells me I am a middle-class man from a country grown fat on centuries of plunder, that I have a university degree, that I go to restaurants and have a laptop computer and an internet connection, and I can publish articles like this in magazines. In other words, I am somewhere up near the top of the pyramid of human material fortune. And that in turn means that I am up near the top of the pyramid of human cupidity and destruction that is driving the natural world to the edge. [page 94]


But certainly the endpoint of a culture that focuses on human desire above all things, rejects all previous ways of living, worships machines, sneers at the spiritual and sees the world as a collection of components to be taken apart and analysed in the service of utility, is a world in which humanity disappears further into narcissistic virtuality, ‘improving’ its own capabilities with its technology while the world burns around it.

Or is it? Is there even an ‘endpoint’ at all? Perhaps this is the wrong way to look at what’s happening here. Because we are not faced with that Manichean choice I once imagined we would come to: are you man or machine? We find ourselves, instead, on a spectrum; or perhaps a slow train, with a clear direction or travel but with no defined stops. Where - whether - to jump off? It is never clear. [Page 111]


And so I come to this point, and I ask myself: what, at this moment in history, would not be a waste of my time? And I arrive at five tentative answers. One: withdrawing. [...] Withdrawn to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal. [...] Two: Preserving non-human life. [...] Three: Getting your hands dirty. [...] Four: Insisting that nature has a value beyond utility. And telling everyone. [...] Five: Building refuges.


When you sit with the Earth, when you make it your witness and when you act as witness for it - what do you see? What are you compelled to do? These are questions that take us beyond political stances, beyond principles, beyond arguments about engagement or detachment. They are questions, it seems to me, that can never be answered in any way other than the strictly personal. Sitting or acting; engagement or retreat; perhaps there need be no contradiction. [Page 222]


The time for civilisation has passed. [Page 279]

I think writing like this is deeply important, because it inspires internal reflection. How do you live with yourself in 2017 in the Western world, knowing the scale of environmental destruction that has happened and is still happening to support your daily life? Do you have to believe that technology will save us in order to keep going? Do you ignore the impact your life and all our lives have? (Everyone does that to some extent.) Do you assume that your own impact is so tiny within the global system that there’s no need to worry about it? Kingsnorth argues that there can only really be personal and possibly theological answers, because culture, politics, and philosophy offer no help. What we need to do is pay attention and actually think about it.

About ten years ago I made a diagram of ways to systematically reduce my environmental impact. The main items were: get a job working on environmental policy, stop flying, get rid of my car, buy as little as possible, use as little electricity as possible, and buy things second hand. I do all of these things, but obviously they’ll never be enough. I often feel crushed with guilt and horror, generally when faced with a busy motorway or a hangar-like supermarket. I don’t want to escape civilisation as entirely as Kingsnorth does, as I love libraries, museums, and charity shops and want to live within walking distance of such things. The survivalist picture he paints is grim as hell. But I don’t know how the world that I want could possibly be reached.

This raises a different question of personal responsibility: whether it is arrogance to believe that you yourself can make a difference or cowardice to believe that you cannot and therefore shouldn’t try. I have a close friend whose research can make a real, positive difference in the health sector and I envy her conviction. I am a researcher too, in climate change mitigation. The research I do is based on using technology to allow the existing growth of consumption to continue while emitting less carbon dioxide. It is the kind of cost quantification that Kingsnorth thinks has poisoned the environmental movement, and he has a very good point. I don’t believe that my research will do any good and disagree with the assumptions behind it, but I don't know what else to do. Environmental destruction is not a problem of insufficient quantitative evidence; it is integral to the growth-fixated global capitalist system. I doubt that more economic growth and technology are the solution to problems of economic growth and technology, while also considering that some good has come from both.

Perhaps the best thing we can all do is nothing. Stop consuming, stop travelling, stop spending. Of course you, I, and Paul Kingsnorth all know it isn’t as simple as that. That is why this review could have been as long as the book. ‘Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist’ has definitely inspired me to articulate my own responses to its questions more clearly. Whether that inspiration will survive in the face of comforting technological distractions remains to be seen. I want to recommend this book to absolutely everyone I know, with the warning that it makes life harder by forcing discomforting contemplation. This has the potential to provoke many very interesting conversations, though. In particular, I really want to know what environmentalists of my parents' generation make of it.
Profile Image for Antonomasia.
979 reviews1,224 followers
July 30, 2017
The author wouldn't approve of the way I’ve been reading this: online, mostly on a smartphone, and without paying. (Most of the essays are legitimately online - I haven't pirated it.)

The first couple of times I tried to read Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, I had the same problem I often have with essay collections: it made me want to write another one in response, and the note-taking was exhausting. This time I started it in the same frame of mind in which I sometimes read lots of some journalist's articles, or old posts from an interesting blog – simply to read, without a mind to reviewing, and it was a whole lot more relaxing. (I still found I had a lot to say in the end, without feeling burdened by it.) I didn’t read the pieces in order, but I’ll write about them in book-contents sequence.

‘Introduction: Finding the River’. Readable from free Kindle/Kobo sample.
Interesting to re-read after a few months, and especially after all the essays; Kingsnorth's self awareness - as well as his succinct, fluent reflection on the state of things - is refreshing; some of the themes had become repetitive through the course of the essays, but, writing a few years after finishing most of the other pieces, he's realised this, and has a lightness of touch.

- A Crisis of Bigness. I have reservations about the "small and local is always nicest" strand of environmentalism, although I understand its purpose, and it was interesting to hear about one of its originators (Leopold Kohr); I just think this idea is taken a bit too far by some. The other day, I finally got round to commenting on the blog of Kingsnorth's fellow Dark Mountaineer, J.M. Greer, and that comment will have to do as explanation: here. Great phrase: Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about “growth” as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron’s worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.

- Upon the Mathematics of the Falling Away. Not one of the strongest; Kingsnorth writes very well, and makes 9/11 memories and a gap year visit to Jakarta more interesting than most. His apparently conventional, implicitly Judeo-Christian influenced, mainstream-society take on suicide was disappointing from one who's often iconoclastic. (No examination, for instance, of whether people from cultures which considered it more acceptable, such as the Classical world, or Japan, had different emotional responses that did not mark it out as worse than other ways of dying.)

- The Drowned World: not online apart from a few opening paragraphs. (It starts with flooding in Cumbria, not a J.G. Ballard book intro)

- The Space Race Is Over. Unsurprisingly to those who know this side of the environmental movement, this is about current unrealistic pronouncements (from the likes of Stephen Hawking and - unnamed - Elon Musk) that humanity will have to colonise space to survive, or even to get enough rare minerals for new gadgets, despite having nowhere near the technology required to do so. Kingsnorth was a space SF fan as a kid - so he's not inherently anti-space, but is rightfully disgusted by the idea that because humans have messed up one planet, they should go looking for more to treat in the same way. This could have mentioned one mooted explanation for the Fermi Paradox: that civilisations / species tend not to survive far past the development of space travel. Asks (but doesn't thoroughly answer) a question I find fascinating, and if anyone's actually reading this and has an opinion based on themselves and/or people they know, I'd love to hear your opinion: what are the differences [character, experiential] between people who romanticise the past and those who romanticise the future? (When I was a kid/teenager I did both, but generally preferred a historical setting in fiction and film to a futuristic one, and if futuristic I prefer the societal breakdown one with similar tech levels to historical. Now, I don't have great future prospects, therefore it suits me to believe that the future will be more difficult for most people, including people who have it easy currently.) Kingsnorth states that if we need to believe in progress, we will believe in progress. If we need to believe in Apocalypse, we will believe in that - but unfortunately doesn't write anything further about himself, why he thinks he has the predispositions he has and how they've changed over time.

- The Quants and the Poets This was okay. An interesting rendering of an idea I've seen a few times before - but Kingsnorth wrote it in 2011, so he was saying it before many others. The green movement has been taken over by number-crunching bright-greens; it needs more poetics for inspiration and background reason, and to help face the truths that those keen on green tech and stats are trying to brush under the carpet. ...claims that renewable energy can’t meet ‘our energy needs’? But our needs for what? Coffee machines and fast broadband, or clean drinking water and living ecosystems? Middle class life in a consumer democracy or a liveable human existence? Or do we now think these are the same thing? I liked the opening: If, a century ago, the keenest talking heads of the age (who would that have been, I wonder: Chesterton, Shaw, Belloc, Jo Chamberlain?) had battled it out amongst themselves about the future of infrastructure and energy, what would that debate have looked like? ... Precisely how many ostlers would be needed by 1950? The importance of a large-scale dung clean-up operation on the streets of major cities? A research and development programme to investigate the plausibility of time machines? Sourcing the funding for an urgent nationwide rollout of dirigible charging stations? (I'd like to hear a lot more from this 1911 think tank!) the poets have been cowed into silence by the dominance and urgency of the quants’ narrative. How to reassert the importance of stories, then, is perhaps a key question now. Green poets might perhaps start by observing that worlds are not ‘saved’ by the same stories that are killing them. In another essay, Kingsnorth displays well-informed reading in psychology. Asserting the importance of stories can sound flimsy and abstract to scientific thinkers, so he could do with bringing in some material from psychology and therapy about the role of coherent narrative in attachment, in trauma recovery and other fields.

- A Short History of Loss. About human separation from nature. Colony collapse disorder and a separate project to build Robobees. how did we get to the point where we regard a living creature as a robot, and an inefficient one at that, ripe for replacement...? (As is happening now to working class jobs - people with lower qualifications treated like they should be machines, break monitoring and so on; also as the Luddites saw it 200 years ago; as happened to horses and so many domesticated working animals.) Familiar theory that the Fall from Eden represents advent of agriculture. But did this destructive separation from nature begin with agriculture, or the industrial revolution; or the harnessing of fire; or as William Golding thought, the development of language? Biophilia - love of nature, humans bound up with it; natural to love it and be wild, an underlying instinct.

- Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist (5*). A great personal essay with an overview of the various directions of the green movement since the 90s. Reminded me of how I ended up not being visibly into environmentalism for a long time despite early interest as a kid and teenager: the only environmental organisation of any size at my university was People and Planet. I couldn't have articulated my objection as well as Kingsnorth does here - using some very 21st century phrasing: Now it seemed that environmentalism was not about wildness or ecocentrism or the other-than-human world and our relationship to it. Instead it was about (human) social justice and (human) equality and (human) progress and ensuring that all these things could be realised without degrading the (human) resource base which we used to call nature back when we were being naive and problematic. Suddenly, never-ending economic growth was a good thing after all: the poor needed it to get rich, which was their right. To square the circle, for those who still realised there was a circle, we were told that ‘(human) social justice and environmental justice go hand in hand’ – a suggestion of such bizarre inaccuracy that it could surely only be wishful thinking. I felt "People and Planet" wasn't exactly a binary opposition, but the organisation evidently wasn't about the idea that people needed to rein themselves in for the good of the planet... Those were the days when I had a background sense that obviously the world would come round to a lot more people agreeing with the principles of the voluntary human extinction movement, medical endeavours such as lengthening low quality life would be tailed off, consumption per head would decrease in the West, and having kids and especially lots of kids would become a much less normal choice. (Little did I know how fringe my views were... I thought everyone knew this stuff *really* in the background, same as they knew smoking was bad for you despite some of them still doing it, and that everyone understood underneath that humans weren't the centre or the point of everything... I actually ended up in very obviously human-centred, charity fundraising societies instead as a student, because friends dragged me into them at the right time - but in any case, their aims always seemed consonant.)

- The Poet and the Machine (5*) Lovely essay about the poets Edward Thomas and R.S. Thomas and their relationships with the landscapes they wrote about. Also contains important points such as: I have been researching the impact that humanity has had on the natural world since I was born, in 1972. It’s been sobering. Since my birth, Homo sapiens sapiens has managed to kill off between a quarter and a third of all the world’s wild ’ ie, non-human ’ life... This is before we even get to climate change. And it has all happened in less than forty years.

- Learning What to Make of It (only an excerpt online). "It" being shit: via installing a compost toilet. I thought I spotted one or two puns, e.g. "big job", but the article (or what there is of it) could have done with a tad more humour.

- The Barcode Moment part 1, part 2, part 3 The last new-to-me essay I read, by which point the anti-tech diatribes were getting repetitive. I know you don't like it, PK. I'm not that negative: it could be much better with more privacy controls, designing stuff to be a bit less addictive, some people checking their phones less often when they're in small group or one to one company, far less manufacturing of new devices and a lot more reuse and fixing. And I emphatically disagree with those who think online friendships and conversation aren't real and as genuine as those formed entirely in person. (I bet these same detractors see the epistolary friendships of writers and artists from decades and centuries past as qualitatively different, because they're not prejudiced against the postal system in the same way.) What I hate far more are the huge quantities of plastic decorative tat that doesn't do anything useful, like these, and binning and overproducing clothes.
Kingsnorth's meeting with the cyborg academic Kevin Warwick is enlightening. Perhaps Kingsnorth's dislike of tech means he takes this relatively extreme figure seriously: he was being a lot more honest about things than a lot of techno-progressives are prepared to be. It seems to me that post-humanism, or transhumanism, or whatever you prefer to call it, is indeed the inevitable endpoint of the particular model of progress which Western industrial culture is currently chasing. The Ray Kurzweils of this world are currently laughed at as fringe geeks, but then that’s what they said about the guys pioneering the internet in the 1980s. However, Kevin Warwick used to be a joke among geeks of my acquaintance, but now is seen more as a dangerous precedent. The following was characteristic of the cultural silos most people seem to be in; they join a team, and only a few stay outside, trying to synthesise the various sides: there was something else about what Kevin Warwick said which grabbed me too, and it was the total absence of non-human life from his vision of the future. Again, this is simply a distillation of our wider cultural attitudes and assumptions. Kevin blithely dismissed my talk about climate change, mass extinction, our culture’s divorce from nature. None of this was happening, he said – or if it was, it could be solved more quickly by charging towards post-humanism. If the climate is changing, he said, and we’re incapable of solving it now, perhaps it will be solved better by post-human technologies.
Some of Kingsnorth's reflections, though, match my own concerns. What if climate change doesn't arrest technological dominance before we get to a Skynet stage? Is the idea of collapse just a way for some people to comfort themselves, because it would be better than that? There is also a thread of incipient zen-like acceptance. (And as Kingsnorth lives on a rural smallholding, rightly: he must see a lot fewer smartphones than most Westerners.) To a hunter-gatherer, how different is a C21st person absorbed in their phone to one absorbed by a book? His vision of the future is binary: either humans will have made themselves extinct in 500 years, or they will have merged with technology. How much artistic licence this has, I'm not sure - but on the basis of current knowledge, it seems far more likely that they will be around, but with reduced numbers and resources and quality of life as compared with today.

- Dark Ecology (5*) About scything (yes he does quote Anna Karenina); about that very cynical strand of bright-greenery that only cares about using technological solutions to benefit humans, everything else be damned ( Kingsnorth calls it "neo-environmentalism", mirroring "neoliberalism"); and about the discomforts of reading and sometimes agreeing with Theodore Kaczynski. Kingsnorth manages to encapsulate most of the associated anxiety in one sentence: Is it possible to read the words of someone like Theodore Kaczynski and be convinced by the case he makes, even as you reject what he did with the knowledge? Also goes back into human prehistory, via Ronald Wright's A Short History of Progress and Spencer Wells' Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization: people have been exhausting resources for a very long time: Wells asks, would any community move from hunting-gathering to agriculture? The answer seems to be: not because they wanted to, but because they had to. They had spelled the end of their hunting-gathering lifestyle by getting too good at it. They had killed off most of their prey and expanded their numbers beyond the point at which they could all survive. Kingsnorth lists what he feels to be worthwhile responses to the current environmental situation: One: Withdrawing... Two: Preserving non-human life. [Rewilding, obviously, rather than getting a cat - and mentions the potentially revelatory idea that humanity itself is an imperial, colonial enterprise over the rest of nature] Three: Getting your hands dirty... Four: Insisting that nature has a value beyond utility. Five: Building refuges and preserving important knowledge and viable technologies for a future collapse. For years, I was frustrated that no-one seemed to be synthesising two common views of the future that were always discussed separately in the media: technological advancement, and climate change, resource squeeze and collapse – as if there were two separate paths. Turns out Kingsnorth was on to that four years ago when writing this essay: Advanced technologies will challenge our sense of what it means to be human at the same time as the tide of extinction rolls on. I disagree with Kingsnorth about windfarms, BTW: I'm always happy to see them. I understand his underlying implication that we need to reduce consumption rather than cover the entire country with windmills and solar panels, but real world energy needs have to be met for the near future (before any collapse scenarios pan out) and I'd rather those than even more nuclear or air-polluting solutions. The following isn't directly relevant to the scythes discussed her, but the ultra-low-tech strand of environmentalism does perhaps tend to be rather male-dominated, and rarely addresses how much washing machines and to a lesser extent dishwashers have done for women's capacity to participate in wider society. I understand the nostalgia and the resource implications, but chore-distribution very much needs to be discussed alongside it.

- In the Black Chamber. (5*) Wonderful reflection on nature and the sense of the sacred, starting from French cave paintings. (Plus: strange anatomical detail about the arses of woolly mammoths.) Also looks at the essential irrationality of human thought - and rationality as a higher layer merely used to justify instinct - via the ideas of two psychologists whose writings I also like, Jonathan Haidt and Antonio Damasio - and indicts Jurassic-Park like "de-extinction" plans.

[continued in comments]
Profile Image for Paul.
2,144 reviews
March 29, 2017
Paul Kingsnorth was a passionate environmentalist, taking the time to be involved in activities and protests against the creep of corporate and governmental interests that threatened the climate and places with ill thought out developments. His view started to change as the business world embraced green ideals, and those opposing them watered down their vociferous defence of our wild places and cosied up to sustainability instead. He saw it as a betrayal of the movement as they chose to ignore the challenges and sacrifices that need to be made to avert the consequences of climate change.

In this great collection of essays, Kingsnorth passionately argues how the green movement has failed, and as he has seen it fail, how his thinking on what we need to do has changed. His new hypothesis he calls 'dark ecology’, a vision where we do not have to rely on complicated technology to save us, but rather one where we need to once again seek the balance that we had with the natural world. It is a challenging read, not in the sense of his prose, which fizzles with raw energy, but in the way that he is prepared to challenge everything that he has every stood for, and ask the question: Where next?

Thought provoking stuff.
Profile Image for Benjamin.
383 reviews
August 13, 2017
Don't let this be the first book on environmentalism you read, or even one of the first. Read the others first, read all one books on technology too, sign some petitions, buy eggs from a neighbour, grow vegetables, and then when you despair read this. It's not that it's hopeful, it's just honest.
Profile Image for Matthew.
29 reviews7 followers
April 29, 2019
Overall, a thought-provoking read. Kingsnorth has given me some things to ponder: my limited relationship with nature, my value system, and how I view the current environmental/sustainable movement. He writes well; his poetic style plays well with appreciation of nature.

Often in this collection of essays, I’ve felt that Kingsnorth is naive and uncertain when it comes to what he wants. Some essays are excellent, moving, and well argued. Others seem like they’ve been written by a misanthropic environmentalist teenager.

He talks about how he wants different narratives, where the landscape is a character that is sentient, and then fails to define sentience (perhaps nature’s sentience cannot be the same as human sentience?). He complains of our urbanized, civilized lifestyle; yet, he writes his essays in his home that was likely built using “civilized” forms of technology. He is writing and distributing these essays via the internet and text-publication, also a gift of our civilization. He is using language that was granted to him through a system of education that is civilized.

Kingsnorth notes in one essay that nature oughtn’t be disturbed by our human interference, and in another essay he argues that we as humans ought to be stewards of the land. Contradictions like this come up a handful of times throughout the collection.

While he notes that sustainability should not be the be-all end-all goal, I don’t think he offers an alternative for us (as he says he does not believe we ought to retreat to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle). He condemns the modern environmentalist movement, and he condemns those who try to approach the problems facing the environment scientifically. How do we fix the problems that face our civilization, then? His answer appears to be: appreciate nature, minimize impact, and write stories that are “Uncivilised”. I just don’t think this is a mature approach. Perhaps these two can go hand in hand, but we cannot dismiss human efforts to correct errors in the past. I do think that his proposed solutions are biased and egocentric: he’s a writer, so he believes the best way to solve the problem of civilization is with new stories (as seen in quants and poets). (Which in itself is contradictory: stories are a part of civilization).

In many essays, he makes generalizations or claims that are not cited, so I’m unsure if I should believe them.

Kingsnorth seems to come from a place of privilege where he is able to condemn civilization and urbanization without giving it proper credit for the gifts is has given us (modern medicine, human rights, art, innovative ways to farm sustainably, etc).

The essays I would recommend would be: confessions of a recovering environmentalist; dark ecology; in the black chamber; planting trees in the anthropocene. This is where Kingsnorth is prophetic, intelligent, compelling, and articulate. The collection as a whole, has left me unconvinced. But it has me asking myself questions, at least, and for that I am grateful.
Profile Image for Perri.
1,312 reviews49 followers
January 16, 2018
I couldn't find much of the promised "ultimately hopeful"but there was heaping portions no- punches- pulled honesty. If we've already passed the point of no return for climate change, unrestrained commercialism/capitalism and looking into the maw of the Earth's sixth extinction, what's a reasonable person to do? Very thought provoking and I look forward to discussion in my book club.
Profile Image for Ed.
99 reviews15 followers
September 2, 2017
Really important work. The essays are a little uneven, but they chronicle a fairly long span of development in the author's style and thinking. Ultimately, though, the message is a crucial one: being anti-capitalist isn't even radical enough when it comes to navigating and/or ameliorating the runaway climate crisis. We also have to somehow shed the myth (which, as he puts it, is all the more dangerous for not being regarded as a myth--by leftists either; I can confirm this having run with enough techno-socialists) that humans are separate from and exalted over "nature." Erudite and historically astute, Kingsnorth is also a doer, which always steals my heart.
Profile Image for Marie Belcredi.
140 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2017
This is a book which squarely faces what we are actually doing ie ecocide . I have, in the past, been frustrated with books that describe climate change but then try and finish on a note of optimism. Lets face it, we are already beyond the point where we can stop massive changes. Climate change in Australia has been so politicised that our government has been bought by the coal lobby. They are good at pretending to do something but in reality they are maintaining the status quo. For example they have signed up to the Paris Accord but at the same time they are supporting the opening of the Galilee Basin to a super coal mine by an Indian mining company !

This book sets out a philosophy that is realistic but based on deep ecology. There is no value set to wildness and maintenance of wild places. They are a spiritual need of human beings but apart from humans they have value in themselves. I love the mysticism of this book. The Green movement Kingsnorth says has been hijacked into the consumer neo-liberal jargon that they initially tried to overcome. I know there are Greens who are not like this and think that Kingsnorth, in his frustration is taring all Greens with the same brush. But still we do fall in line with the consumer capitalist jargon and try and fight fire with fire. I think there are many Greens who are deep ecologists. One that comes to mind is the Australian priest Paul Collins in his book Judgement Day.

Kingsnorth finds a parallel in the immediate aftermath of the Norman Invasion. What followed may have been to the English like an end of the world as they knew it. Certainly it must have been terrible. I have bought the book The Wake to continue reading about this.

The Epilogue is taken from the Dark Mountain web site and finishes with the Eight Principles of Uncivilsation. The first of these is

"We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn to live with it"

Profile Image for Scott Lupo.
407 reviews13 followers
February 20, 2020
Honest, poignant, thought-provoking, insightful, emotional, and articulate. I loved every essay and was able to connect on visceral level, which for me is difficult as I tend to favor the rational, unemotional side of things. To read the authentic and honest account of our environmental predicament from an environmentalist viewpoint should stir something inside everybody. And yet...it doesn't. And that is the reality. The truth is that the 'machine' cannot be stopped, nothing can really be done at this point. Capitalism (American style) has taken over the world and it is not a good thing. Kingsnorth addresses all the usual arguments the technocrats and progressives have for continued infinite growth. More intellectually stimulating is the idea that the values and ethics of today's capitalism have leaked into our souls, causing us to rationalize ecocide and pretend we can be 'sustainable' in such a system. What has happened to our humanness? We no longer connect to our world, we no longer feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. We have made ourselves like gods, as if there are no consequences to any of our actions, as if we own the world. His view on myth busting is like he went into my head and put my words on paper. Why do we believe in these myths that harm us? And why don't facts and reason prevail!? Great writing, great discussion points, great read.
Profile Image for Irma Pérez.
Author 4 books54 followers
February 12, 2020
Podré estar más o menos de acuerdo con lo que exponen los ensayos de Paul Kingsnorth, pero por lo menos me han hecho reflexionar sobre diferentes perspectivas y plantearme muchas preguntas. No creo que sea un libro taaaan rompedor y radical como clama mucha gente; aun así, de vez en cuando viene bien que alguien nos recuerde lo jodidos que estamos y lo egocéntricos que somos sin tapujos y que nos hemos puesto de mierda hasta el cuello nosotros solitos.
Profile Image for Kasey Jueds.
Author 4 books63 followers
March 21, 2018
This is an important book. I discovered Paul Kingsnorth's work via a blog post by a writer who had attended one of his retreats. Kingsnorth is the co-founder of Dark Mountain, and an intelligent, clear-eyed, persuasive writer. He's wonderful at exposing and questioning commonly-held myths (for example, that technology will save us), and, among other things, has a great self-deprecating sense of humor: he tells tales on himself (especially his younger self) and never sets himself above the very human qualities he critiques in contemporary society, which makes him a sympathetic, engaging narrator. His criticisms of the current green/environmentalist/sustainability movement feel valid and necessary. He writes movingly and intelligently about wilderness, our human need for it, the differences between wilderness and nature and why we can't abandon the former. It's not a hopeful book, exactly, but I found reading it a relief, because it feels like Kingsnorth is telling an important truth. I haven't read another book like it; I don't know of another thinker on environmental issues like him. I'm - excited is the wrong word, "hungry" seems more appropriate - to read more of his work.
Profile Image for Stefanie.
468 reviews15 followers
January 3, 2022
Very much enjoyed the essays even if I didn't always agree with him. Plenty to think about!
Profile Image for Richard.
16 reviews
June 7, 2017
Without a shadow of doubt, one of the most important and timely books I have ever read. Kingsnorth has a clarity of thinking, and a readiness to question his own deeply held views which cuts right through here. His backstory matters, this is someone who has done the hard yards, and has come to understand the scale of the challenges we face and our lack of ability to do anything about them. That the current environmental movement is no longer fit for purpose is a crystal clear conclusion which he argues passionately and with huge insight. That he challenges so much that I and other environmentalists have long held dear makes for a difficult read at times. But I can't get away from the degree to which, when laid bare as it is, it's hard not to see that he is... well, just completely right.

Because this book is a collection of essays written over a near 10 year period, Kingsnorth's journey is eloquently laid out. In seeing the mental steps that he takes, it's all the clearer to follow those steps internally and ultimately draw the same conclusions. This is a book borne of despair but steeped in a positive sense of a way forward - I am guarded against using the word "hope" because there is not a lot of hope present - for all the right reasons.

This is a book that will not be for everyone - perhaps for hardly anyone - but for me, at this time, and in the mental places I find myself, this is just about the most compelling argument I could hear. There are few books of the many I have read that I can genuinely say changed my life. I suspect this will be one of them.
Profile Image for Andrew.
58 reviews2 followers
April 19, 2020
This was exactly what I needed exactly when I read it. Although it took me longer than other books, it was only because I could sit on chapters for weeks at a time mulling over the questions, thoughts, and ideas. This will sit on my shelf for a long time.
Profile Image for Ryan.
122 reviews3 followers
June 30, 2017
This book was like an arrow right into my heart, in that it expresses everything that I've known but couldn't or didn't know how to admit.
Profile Image for Leanne.
621 reviews54 followers
October 6, 2020
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”--Buckminster Fuller

There is an ancient Chinese tradition that when things in the city get too ugly and politics too chaotic, the wise philosopher takes to the hills! To withdraw can be an act of resistance.

I love the author and his dark mountain project.

I read these essays alongside Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects and his Dark Ecology—though I think the essays fit more naturally alongside Powers' novel Overstory and Macfarlane’s magnificent Underlands. That we are living through a period of transition something you can call a new paradigm is probably true. As a young person studying Heidegger, I never in a million years thought that the technological worldview of our times would transition into something else. That we might be entering a new age seems possible though. It could be called the Anthropocene or Post-Capitalist Ruins. But the deep unsettledness and feeling of being not at home in the world anymore is more and more seeming like the new reality. Morton characterizes this in terms of hypocrisy lameness and weakness --which only means that in the face of the enormity there is no right answer and almost anything somebody says it’s going to be hypocritical based on their lifestyle as being part of the problem. The worldview involves a constant shaming and blaming others —but in reality nobody has any solutions. So carbon rises and people feel paralyzed— It is also a time of sadness and mourning. I can’t hear crickets singing anymore, haven’t seen a snail in ages, miss being bothered by flies and mosquitoes.

I’m a big fan of his dark mountain project. And I also believe there’s a difference between activism and acting. And what looks like a withdrawal can stand as a supreme act of resistance. The writing is beautiful… like John Muir or Thoreau, it is poetic and political. Where do you put your attention and who is making a profit from that? The beauty of the human scale and small, local changes. He is lamenting the loss of the world—not just some Nature that is apart from us, but of older human ways of being attuned to the land and the animals—are fellow critters. Small family stores and family farms. Of communal activities where people work together for communal projects. These kinds of things.

I loved all of the essays and plan to read his novels. A beautiful writer and human being.
Profile Image for Dave.
259 reviews34 followers
February 19, 2018
I probably agree with Paul Kingsnorth more than 99% of other writers. Despite the anti-environmental sounding title, he actually is still very environmentally minded. He's one of the few writers willing to explicitly label economic growth, dependence on (and addiction to) high-tech gadgets and even civilization itself as problems. For that alone I can't give this a bad review. However, I can't give this a good review either. Some of his views are just so defeatist that it makes the book kind of a waste of time to read. Anyone who isn't already convinced that our modern lifestyles are inherently unsustainable won't be persuaded by his arguments and anyone who does already understand how bad things are won't find anything in here of much use to them. His view is basically that the majority won't change and that trying to stop the empire from destroying the world is pointless. Yet he also wants to encourage artists to create new stories that will change the way people view their role in the world. How those two ideas are reconciled in his mind I have no idea. The entire planet is being killed and you think activists should just withdraw from the fight, set up their own little sustainable enclaves, even though they'll soon be overrun by the insanity around them, and produce poetry and other propaganda for an audience that will never listen? Huh?

If your view is that people won't change and that it's too late to save the planet anyway then why would anyone that listens to you even waste the effort trying to learn to live sustainably? What difference would it make if they decided instead to totally give up on sustainability and spend the rest of their lives getting drunk at the beach or something? These are just dangerous ideas to be spreading right now. I find it particularly irritating since I've been trying for years to get people to consider real solutions (this is my personal manifesto, if anyone's interested http://aproposalforprimitivism.blogsp...). To see people praising books like this that are basically just doomer porn while ignoring books that actually try to offer useful ideas really pisses me off. I get it, we've all been doing this for a while, we've seen no positive change and we want to actually live our lives at some point. It's frustrating. It's humiliating. It's lonely and depressing. Sometimes we wish there was a genuine excuse for giving up. But there isn't. No human being will ever know for sure if it's too late to turn things around. Therefore, anyone who tells you it's too late isn't worth listening to. I'm sorry to be so harsh with this review considering that Paul Kingsnorth is probably a better human being than most of us but I really hate some of the things he said in here.
Profile Image for Alain Verheij.
84 reviews21 followers
May 18, 2021
Een bundeling blogs en artikelen zorgt er altijd voor dat je herhalingen hebt en om de zoveel pagina's opnieuw moet beginnen als lezer. Niettemin hoge literaire kwaliteit en origineel denkwerk. Stemt soms cynisch, hopeloos en misantropisch, terwijl het eerder bedoeld is als lofzang aan de natuur. Interessant is dat je met terugwerkende kracht ziet hoe iemand richting het christendom aan het bewegen is zonder dat hij dat tijdens het schrijven beseft. Dat kwam pas vorig jaar uit, namelijk, en de teksten werden in de jaren daarvoor geschreven.
(Meer in De Nieuwe Koers, juni 2022.)
Profile Image for Melissa Guckenberger.
2 reviews22 followers
December 10, 2020
Every so often, I stumble across a book that evokes the kind of response that makes me want to write myself. This was one of those books. Kingsnorth’s essays are honest, lucid, and self-aware. His writing here challenges many of my previously held assumptions about humanity and how we interact with non-human life in a way that is forcing me to reckon with the human condition in a new light. While I found myself wanting to debate many points along the way, it was a relief to hear someone poignantly point out the hypocrisies of sustainable development and earnestly explore what it means to be human at this point in history, and quite a few of his claims ring true. As I’ve been searching for my own place in the world, which would hopefully contribute to preserving the biodiversity and wild lands that have shaped my life as well as those that I may never see, there seems to be very little defined space for actual wild places and other forms of life in our current discourse on sustainability and environmentalism. Kingsnorth delves into why this is, throwing into sharp relief the roles of capitalism and the myth of progress, and how the very fact that “the environment” exists as a concept somehow separate from humans is an indication of how we have isolated ourselves from the rest of the living world. We should not have to find anthropocentric (read: profit-driven) motives to protect what has intrinsic value outside of human utility. Though, as some other reviewers have said, some of the essays are a little uneven as he pulls at threads few people are willing to touch, I found this book to be simultaneously challenging and affirming to read, and I find myself - while not hopeful - at least able to be more honest about these matters going forward.
Profile Image for Karen.
325 reviews12 followers
September 20, 2017
This is a collection of essays, mostly also published over the last 10 years in magazines and newspapers, in which Paul Kingsnorth critiques assumptions at the heart of 21st century environmentalism ( it still treats the planet as a commodity, with "resources" to be exploited, it assumes "progress" or more technology will solve many of our problems, it thinks of humans as separate from nature). Although it's tempting to say he has given up on environmentalism, and the title of this book encourages that idea, he hasn't gone out to buy a gas guzzling SUV and build a McMansion in Ireland where he lives. These essays are making the case for a quieter, more personal approach to the problem of how to live in a world where environmental degradation is speeding up all the time, and while we pay lip service to "sustainability," we have mass extinctions and other signs of environmental collapse.

It IS safe to say Kingsnorth has given up the idea of saving the world, so the question he addresses with these essays is what to do instead. His process of coming to answers is thought provoking, imaginative, original. Reading this work has helped me clarify why I have not felt enthused about all the "sustainable" products now available in stores and the more mainstream status of the "green" movement.

I recommend Kingsnorth's writing to everyone, and it's especially convenient to have these essays collected together in one volume. I was happy to see the book also includes Uncivilisation, a manifesto from 2009, which announced the beginning of the Dark Mountain Project, an effort to create new stories for our time of collapse.
Profile Image for Rhys.
731 reviews102 followers
September 22, 2017
I was pointed to the Dark Mountain Project a few years ago by a Goodreads participant, but I didn't see much there for me. I think this book, however, has created the context through which I now can better understand it: "Too many green quants, then, and not enough green poets" (p.49).

Overall, I think Kingsnorth's worldview is important, and he certainly shares a convincing critique of what currently passes for 'environmentalism': as "the catalytic converter on the silver SUV of the global economy" (p.78).

I thought his best advice was: "Withdraw because action is not always more effective than inaction. Withdraw to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal" (p.145); and later, "That is when the stripping back of your self before the indifference of nature will come to serve you" (p.223).

It may be a good time for green people to withdraw, to reflect, and to build local communities ('radical parochialism'). In a Foucauldian sense, social forces are resistances to other forces. To pull back a resisting force reduces the intensity of the imposing force - passive resistance. At the same time, and I think Kingsnorth expresses this in his essays, it is difficult not to act - inaction leaves the door open and unattended for more 'progress'.

Cheers to the green poets.
Profile Image for Delphine.
446 reviews18 followers
November 15, 2020
Kingsnorth heeft onomwonden gelijk wanneer hij stelt dat de milieubeweging haar ziel verloren heeft en duurzaamheid als doel ziet in plaats van het intomen van onze ongebreidelde drang naar economische groei. Hij heeft absoluut ook een punt wanneer hij onze gitzwarte toekomst overschouwt en onze afhankelijkheid van technologie in vraag stelt. Jammer genoeg is het alternatief dat hij hier tegenover stelt schraal: het is volgens hem aan kunstenaars om nieuwe verhalen te bedenken en ons op onze bescheiden plaats in de wereld te wijzen. Hij spreekt zichzelf tegen: hij wil bergen en zeeën beschermen tegen menselijke impact, maar wijst er even later op dat de natuur zich altijd aanpast (getuige de massa-extincties) en bovendien 'inanimate' is (lees: geen bescherming behoeft). Helemaal zweverig en niet relevant zijn de hoofdstukken over het boeddhisme en het huidige politieke klimaat, die afbreuk doen aan zijn oprecht en terecht pessimisme.
Profile Image for Emily.
366 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2020
I can tell this is one of those books I will reread many times and in which I will look for guidance in the coming years. Already since I began it 9 months ago I have purchased used copies to spread to friends and colleagues, and I will continue to deeply recommend this to everyone I know, especially those who, like me, are often unmoored in the sea of climate crisis despair, yet have committed our lives to naval life.
This book will forever have a place on my shelves, no matter how far I roam.
Profile Image for Leif.
1,690 reviews90 followers
July 6, 2019
Kingsnorth is pacey, impatient, and shallow where he feels himself thinking most deeply; he is also, and more generously, thoughtful and persistent, especially where he neither has an axe to grind or the pressure to perform. Especially valuable, if slightly uneven, is his quarrel with environmentalism, which has transformed from the loving occupation of ecological-minded activists to a societal end with a complex web of politics, policies, and histories attached. Blaming both the neoliberals and the leftists for this transformation, Kingsnorth seems fixated on the critique of his former environmentalism - that it is, essentially, a nostalgic fixation on a middle-class enjoyment of nature - but increasingly, over these essays, able to disentangle his own disenchantment from his analyses, which are interesting and grounded in a sincere fascination with ecological worlds and poetry - if at times contrarian.

So what I'm saying is this is a fascinating and uneven collection of essays. Make of that what you will!
Profile Image for Hubert.
704 reviews41 followers
January 19, 2021
What an impressive set of essays. Think of it as a 21st-century Emerson. They were written over the course of several years, many in the early 2010s, and some or most are reprints of things he's written either through dark mountain or published in the Guardian.

His plea for humanity to rethink its ways, to reconvene, rebuild communion with nature, and to question the untrammeled stomp towards "Progress" is a gut-check for everyone regardless of their political affiliation. He critiques "sustainability" as an empty paean or or tribute towards technocratic solutions to solving environmental problems or the climate change crisis.

His writing is beautiful and multi-faceted, referencing philosophers, poets, and at times highly critical of the "Silicon Valley" crowd who proposes technological prowess as the antidote for solving civilization's problems.

He touches upon the sacred (as somewhat distinct from) religion.

At the end he calls for a new framework or philosophy, that of "Uncivilization."

In short, a rich, exquisitely written critique on humanity, one whose ideas have long-standing resonance.
154 reviews
December 11, 2018
Still pondering what I think about this. A lot of it sounds like it coming from a place of privilege but I guess that's also the audience of this book. Some of this book made me feel guilty for the way I live and made me question some of my beliefs which is a good sign. But I also don't think I completely agree with his viewpoint of retreating away, maybe it because I'm young? I get that humans are just one tiny facet of nature and then end of our ability to live on earth is just like the end of all the other animals who have been wiped out during mass extinctions but it still hard to grapple with due to my innate ego???? Yeah not too sure need to keep having a think. Some his essays weren't the ones while others were pretty thought provoking which is all one really wants innit.
Profile Image for Courtney Coffey.
40 reviews
November 22, 2017
I don't entirely share Kingsnorth's worldview, but I do think he's right that our talk about "sustainability" is often misguided in the sense that it still assumes that the Earth and all its creatures/forces only exist to support humans, and have no inherent value in themselves. His radicalism is bracing.
Profile Image for Story.
870 reviews3 followers
November 22, 2017
4.5 stars.

Kingsnorth articulates so much of what I have been thinking and feeling over the past years. I applaud him for the clarity of his vision and his willingness to carry on in spite of everything.
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