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Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet

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For years, Derrick Jensen has asked his audiences, "Do you think this culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of life?" No one ever says yes.
Deep Green Resistance starts where the environmental movement leaves industrial civilization is incompatible with life. Technology can't fix it, and shopping—no matter how green—won’t stop it. To save this planet, we need a serious resistance movement that can bring down the industrial economy. Deep Green Resistance evaluates strategic options for resistance, from nonviolence to guerrilla warfare, and the conditions required for those options to be successful. It provides an exploration of organizational structures, recruitment, security, and target selection for both aboveground and underground action. Deep Green Resistance also discusses a culture of resistance and the crucial support role that it can play.
Deep Green Resistance is a plan of action for anyone determined to fight for this planet—and win.

520 pages, Paperback

First published May 3, 2011

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About the author

Derrick Jensen

67 books645 followers
Derrick Jensen is an American author and environmental activist living in Crescent City, California. He has published several books questioning and critiquing contemporary society and its values, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. He holds a B.S. in Mineral Engineering Physics from the Colorado School of Mines and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. He has also taught creative writing at Pelican Bay State Prison and Eastern Washington University.

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5 stars
174 (46%)
4 stars
85 (22%)
3 stars
59 (15%)
2 stars
31 (8%)
1 star
28 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Kourtney.
8 reviews4 followers
June 8, 2016
Extremely well-researched, inspiring and encouraging. A true call-to-arms to save the planet from destruction. A must-read for all environmentalists and social justice warriors.
Profile Image for Genrys.
23 reviews7 followers
June 3, 2020
We all change and evolve in our thinking over time. When I read this book years ago, it was formative and urgent. However, examining it with the knowledge I have now, my review has changed.
14 reviews4 followers
January 15, 2016
A must-read for anyone seeking effective strategies to address environmental and social crises. Deep Green Resistance lays out a plan with an actual chance of success, Decisive Ecological Warfare. Aboveground activists must rebuild local, sustainable, democratic communities while underground activists disable the physical infrastructure destroying our planet. It's a tall (and intimidating!) order, but the authors make a passionate and convincing case for its feasibility and its necessity.
Profile Image for Marie.
107 reviews2 followers
March 14, 2012
Holy Shit.
The holy grail if environmentalism and activism. Im digging it a LOT.
Coming from someone doing their Phd on climate change and you ask yourself, ' so like we are royally fucked, and like what are people doing about it? yeah nothing' how bout that.
This book tells it like it is, and tells you how to act. Love it love it.
Profile Image for Andrea McDowell.
582 reviews334 followers
August 27, 2020
I've had to revise my rating, and want to say why:

I revisited the book's accompanying website for some unrelated research, and saw that they had updated some of their information. Keep in mind they consider this essential to their movement and organization.

There is now a feminism FAQ featuring, prominently, the question: "Why are you accused of being transphobic?"

The answer, paraphrased: "It's because we're actually really transphobic! Gender doesn't exist and trans people are just delusional! Gender dysphoria doesn't exist and transition makes people miserable! Here are some highly selective anecdotes! Also, yes, third genders and trans people exist in other cultures all over the world, and we can't comment on that, but we CAN say that if you are western, it doesn't apply to you!"

It's also deeply ableist in its casual acceptance of the disposability of disabled and chronically ill lives. Jensen's internalized ableism does not in any way rectify their hatefulness.

It's so ugly and bigoted and I just can't support anything associated with this atrocious movement (note! Ten years on from publication, no Deep Ecological Warfare in sight! Whatever aboveground/underground cells they've been putting together where they plot and discuss their plans to blow things up, nothing has been blown up yet. It's almost like DGR is less a credible campaign to "end industrial civilization" and more a way for a bunch of eco-fascist alt-right nobodies to get together and talk shit about trans people, vegans and disabled folks while pretending that they're on the moral high ground.)


This is the third Derrick Jensen book I've decided to inflict on myself, but probably not the last. They each start with great promise and by the end descend to infuriating illogical leaps, and this one was no different (it is the promise of each that lures me into trying again). However, the presence of two co-authors aided in readability.

Deep Green Resistance aims to motivate the formation of an underground army to carry out something they call Decisive Ecological Warfare. This is not a joke. Through reading guerrilla and resistance books and manuals from many historical periods, they put together a strategy for identifying the goal (destroy industrial civilization), developing a strategy, and identifying tactics (blowing things up, mostly). They helpfully include suggestions on things like minimizing security leaks and performing background checks on new recruits (again, not a joke). I can't speak to the practicality of any of this, never having run nor even participated in underground armies, but I can say that as I have no immediate nor long-term plans to assassinate anyone, I skipped that section altogether.

However, what the authors overlook in their very thorough review of global resistance movements past and present, is that this is not Nazi Germany, nor is it the Niger delta. That is: the very fact that they were able to write and publish this book through a mainstream publishing house, and that it is sold at large national bookstore chains, would seem to indicate that we live in a society where people have enough personal freedom that the extreme solutions they advocate are possibly not necessary, and almost certainly something most of us are not yet desperate enough to entertain. This is as kindly as I can put it. This would all point towards a 1/5 rating.

Also frustrating: the section on horizontal hostility (aka "infighting," where sub movements critique each other rather than their actual targets), then followed by approximately 100 pages of attacks on other kinds of environmentalists, and why their kind of environmentalism is inadequate. I don't know why this is necessary. Surely, even if you don't think they're using their time well by building wind farms, using cloth shopping bags and making community gardens, this does not make them the enemy and you don't need to call them names.

--redacted-- Their passion for the natural world is unquestionable and their assessment of our straits is bang-on. But taking potshots at other environmentalists is totally unnecessary, their assessments of the other environmentalists' positions is inaccurate and unkind, and the comparison of industrial capitalism with nazi germany renders much of their analysis and suggested solutions unusable. I mean, for crying out loud, here I am, under my own name, writing a review of a book advocating the destruction of infrastructure and the assassination of capitalists, said book bought at Chapters, review published on a public website, and I have every expectation not to be arrested for it. Doesn't that say something?
5 reviews1 follower
October 21, 2012
I disagree with the authors on only one point -- I think we're already past the point of no return. But I agree with them in that I don't think that means we shouldn't try. The human species is the cockroach of the world. We have invaded every habitat in the world and destroyed every one with which we have come in contact. I wasn't really being fair to cockroaches in the preceding statement.

Wake up folks! Technology isn't going to save us. With each increase in technology, we increase our energy use. The authors are absolutely correct. Unless we eliminate consumption capitalism, we're heading toward quick extinction -- very quick and quite possibly in the lifetime of some of the readers.

If you don't want this to happen, take their advice. Organize. I'm pessimistic that we can evolve capitalism fast enough to stop the destruction of our home. In America especially, we care primarily about the economic system, the capital markets, and whether our retirement is secure in a community with a golf course. Hyperbolic -- barely.

When one reads the literature, one sees that we've exceeded the planetary boundaries in 7 out of 9 categories. Let's go for 9 out of nine. Using a cloth bag and driving a Prius will delay it by three months, perhaps.

Wake up folks! Honestly, we've exceeded 7 out of 9 planetary boundaries according to recent research. What is it we don't understand about that? And the real problem is, the Earth's systems have absorbed an extraordinary amount of disturbance but the interconnections are getting incredibly tight and the positive feedback loops are accelerating. What is it that we don't get?

We have yet to imagine a rich and wonderful life with fewer resources. It's simply a failure of our imaginations. Once we've lived the good life, we don't want to change. And therein lies the problem. The status quo is always easier. If you believe the world works according to Newtonian mechanics, it's inertia of rest from which we suffer.

Change is the only thing on which we can depend. The authors offer us a path of deep green resistance. It is not a path most people want to take because it's difficult and demands sacrifices. In a culture that works hard to pacify us into a soporific passivity, this is a call to arms.

Are you in?
9 reviews1 follower
October 7, 2014
172 pages in and stunned by the density of information, clarity and maturity of the discussion, and breadth of the issues covered. For me at least, this is a very important book. It looks at our community issues and really puts them under a microscope. It does a lot of explaining why current structures (social, political, financial) are damaging - and it resonates very well with my own observations, feelings, and concerns. It is not the book I thought I was about to read - but I am delighted that I have it.
Profile Image for Maya.
35 reviews2 followers
March 2, 2015
I'm still not 100% convinced about agriculture (what if it's done on a very small scale?), but I agree with 90-50% of their analysis.

Reading this book was the first time in awhile that my entire soul was set on fire with passion. I actually had no idea just how much of the planet we had already destroyed, and how quickly we are killing what's left. If I ever join or support an environmental group in the future, it will be DGR - they are the only ones whose analysis matches the scope of the problem, and whose strategy aims to win no matter what.

I see ending industrial civilization as a logical, and necessary, extension of veganism/abolition. I know a lot of people would find that paradoxical, given that one of the co-authors, Lierre Keith, is a pretty outspoken critic of veganism. But I went vegan because I believed that all sentient beings are equally entitled to their lives: so how could I continue to support a way of life that places the most trivial human wants above the life-or-death needs of non-humans? That's a rhetorical question; I can't. Industrial civlization is incompatible with animal equality, with life, with anything (that matters), really.

My slight issue with this book (apart from the agriculture/vegan issue) is that it's simply way too much to take in one reading. I understand the point of having everything together, in one book/place, but it is really an overwhelming read if you try to do it in one go - not exactly beach material. I'll probably need several more reads before I can take in the finer points about strategy, the history of revolution(s), aboveground vs. underground groups and firewalls, etc.
Profile Image for Steve.
151 reviews6 followers
June 26, 2014
I can already tell that this is a life changing book. These authors have real answers, and they are rarely pleasant.
Profile Image for River.
147 reviews
July 23, 2013
This book is seriously terrible. It's a hodgepodge of diluted anti-civilization theory mixed in with a bunch of downright offensive views (love the part where they talk about brain sizes and make age-ist arguments). Most of the conclusions are weak and the people come across as incredibly out of touch and unknowledgable about current forms of resistance.

A good critical review of the book can be found here:

Deep Green Resistance: A Book Review
Profile Image for Janet Abbey.
2 reviews28 followers
October 29, 2016
This is the only accurate book about the truth facing us. This is what makes it so difficult to pick up and read when many want just to be entertained by a book, to forget what the world is telling us for some hours or more. "...freedom places the obligation to fear slavery more than death."-Plato So of course Socrates drank the hemlock.
Profile Image for Steve.
151 reviews6 followers
July 19, 2014
A must-read. The magnitude of the degradation of the planet warrants this call to action. This book is in the top five of my list. Read it and activate. Do your conscience, as many suggestions are in this book, but do something.
Profile Image for Kelley.
109 reviews6 followers
October 14, 2012
"90% of large fish in the oceans are gone. 97% of native forests are destroyed. Our culture destroys landbases. 98% of native grasslands are destroyed. Each day 200 species are driven to extinction." This book offers a new way to think about environmental activism.
42 reviews
January 14, 2016

This is hardly the first book to acknowledge the desperation of our current predicament. Many books have addressed the devastation of our planet's oceans, soil, and forests, have pointed out that we are living in the midst of an anthropogenic mass extinction of unprecedented speed and voracity. It's easy to find books discussing the ongoing genocide against indigenous peoples, and the ongoing devastation of their landbases and rivers for the profits of the rich, working under the malicious banner of "progress". We have many books about soil erosion turning farmland to desert, and pesticide effluents killing rivers and leaving dead zones in our oceans. Many books are available that acknowledge we live in a pornographic culture and a rape culture, a culture with little respect for women and children. For decades books have been telling us that toxic chemicals from factories have entered our bodies, that women can no longer even nurse without passing along dioxins to their children, toxins dangerous at even at a few parts per trillion. We have books that recognize that corporations, as persons, are genocidal maniacs who will profit from any atrocity they can possibly get away with, will leave our planet a barren husk so long as we do not stop them. Nor is this even the first book to argue that we must stop them.

What is different about Deep Green Resistance is that it is the first book that offers a solution that is scaled to the size of our predicament. In the past, books have usually suggested answers such as getting involved in your community, making better consumer choices, writing letters to the editor, planting gardens, donating to worthy charities, and spreading awareness of the problems we're facing. These are good moral decisions to make, but as political tools for change they are not effective, and it becomes an immense problem when these sort of actions become the backbone of our movement for a saner world. Self-improvement and token actions, although they might help us to relieve guilt, are not going to cut it. If we are going to save this sickly planet, we are going to need to organize ourselves squarely against systems of power, and fight them as hard as we can. The authors of this book have clearly thought long and hard about how we need to organize, how we need to strategize, and what sort of pitfalls we need to watch out for. If you love this planet as much as I do, I hope you read this book and take what it has to say to heart. We will need all the heart and courage that we can muster.
Profile Image for Jodi Mae.
53 reviews3 followers
January 14, 2012
A few pages in and I developed a migraine. What a load of incoherent, jumbled, self-righteous 'we-know-better-how-to-save-the-world than the rest of you guys' hogwash. According to these authors, there is NO HOPE, so give up now or get out your bombs and guns and fight.

"The choice is to fight or to stand with those who fight. Anything else means the world will be left to die." A direct quote from page 220, I kid you not, that sums up the entire premise of this book and the poor quality writing. The quote was used to debunk the Town Transition Movement and "the cloying platitudes or the community confirmation bias of those who think seed swaps are the revolution."

Yes, the entire book debunks: the sustainable movement, organic farming, veganism, consensus building, Richard Heinberg and peak oil and other environmental scholars of his ilk, with obnoxious sentences such as quoted above.

It is a doomsday book, deliberately attempting to disempower anyone and everyone for trying to live a more low impact sane and just life on Mother Earth, as well as dismantle the entire sustainability movement. They even manage to dis the Black Panther movement, Mahatma Ghandi, all of Cuba, Malcolm X, the Diggers and all utopian societies throughout history, all pornography, pacifism and non violent action, spirituality, beatniks and hippies, etc. There is so much name dropping and negative finger pointing and bizarre paranoiac accusations, your head will spin around on it's axis and eyes pop out. I know mine did. These authors are equal opportunity haters. They hate everyone, but themselves.

I will not waste my intellect and time on finishing this trash, as I need to go save some seeds. Haha!

I cannot help but wonder what the agenda of these authors really is and whose side they are really on?? Who put them up to this? If they were truly left wing activists and environmentalists; they are now turncoats, narcs or spys attempting to spew hate and cause division and derision within the environmental movement.

Read it and weep or get your gun and shoot some seed savers.

Profile Image for Jim Kidd.
3 reviews
February 19, 2017
This book takes a hard look at the imminent collapse of the global ecology and the mistaken philosophies of the civilized world that put us here. It also provides a framework of resistance (based on historic examples) for those that are interested in resisting the forces driving life from the planet. I would recommend this book to a friend.
Profile Image for Randall Wallace.
543 reviews417 followers
December 24, 2020
Why doesn’t life on earth have the same standing in a courtroom that corporations do? If you curtailed completely your own one ton of waste annually, you’d still have to deal with the twenty-six tons of industrial waste we each consume annually to make the crap we purchased. Civilization = short-term thinking. The history of civilizations is the history of collapse. Historians are more likely to say, “Why did this civilization last so long?” than to ask, “Why did this civilization fall?” Civilization = centralization of power + externalization of consequences. What could go wrong? Civilization = women doing 2/3 of the work for 10% of the wages and owning less than 1% of the wealth. In other words, patriarchy. “Every six months, bottom trawlers drag an area the size of the continental United States.” Prior to WWII, all agriculture was organic; we are headed backwards. When you buy Cod today, you get something else deliberately mislabeled. Why? In the blackout of 2003, in just 24 hours, “sulfur dioxide levels dropped 90 percent, stratospheric ozone levels 50 percent, and light scattering particulates 70 percent.” Peter Salonius thinks petroleum use will degrade soil to the point of feeding only 100 to 300 million people - an example of decreased carry capacity (William R. Catton). William R. Catton calls liberal capitalist half-assed solutions to climate change and saving the planet as “cosmeticism”. Placing the blame first on world population size is a way of displacing the blame on the poor worldwide for overbreeding while giving a free pass to Americans and westerners happily consuming 30x their fair share of resources and energy. Environmentalists don’t challenge the actual culture destroying the planet. To stop the damage, you must stop the machine, stop the mindset. How much of everything around us has to be destroyed before we actually fight back? Why aren’t scientists taking on civilization critically? This culture is “an ecological serial killer” and is an “amnesiac” because it forgets its crimes. This culture kills the traditional knowledge needed to get ourselves out of this mess.

Classical liberalism is all about the sovereignty of the individual. Liberals favor individuals over the group, placing them closer to Ayn Rand than you might think. This keeps liberals from looking at class warfare and seeing how change needs groups, and not atomized Obama loving individuals hoping from an armchair that the system will reform itself. Liberals believe we are going to change the world by personal example.” The Sahara Desert once fed Rome. Thank cherished civilization for the death of the Sahara. Liberals believe that rational argument and education will cause social change. Gandhi writing to Hitler is a great example of liberal thinking. If Hitler heard a calm properly voiced moral objection, he would of course stop his crimes. Radicals believe resistance causes social change and that argument and education won’t frighten leaders because they know what they are doing. Radicals know you don’t say dumb shit like, “Speak truth to power” because they know, as Noam has said many times, “Power already knows the truth.” Lierre Keith tells us the Bill of Rights is “essentially a list of negative freedoms” – you need money or power to really enjoy them. You can say what you want, but if you don’t own a press, no one will hear you. Liberalism fed capitalism. Rosa Parks didn’t do it by herself; it was the solidarity with her that forced the change. Race is about power, “not physical differences”. When power is less visible, “victimization looks voluntary.” Abusers say a beating a year will keep a woman down. Putting women in charge of weapons manufacturing or committing US war crimes (Libya, etc.) is liberalism applied to women. Why would you want a piece of the “oppression pie” when you really need to dismantle the oppressive hierarchies?

Structural change needs to happen and that’s the job for radicals and progressives, because liberals around us on Facebook all want reform not change. Yet change is required, even amongst just radicals. Horizontal hostility is a big issue: “Michael Collins was killed by other Irish nationalists, Trotsky by Stalinist goons, Malcolm X by black Muslims.” Many activists were turned in by former friends. Sexism makes many women leave Left and green organizations. Eldridge Cleaver wrote about raping black women as “practice” for raping white women. Huey Newton felt he could make women enjoy rape. That’s like making a slave enjoy working for free. Lierre is lighter on Malcolm X yet, before his conversion to Islam notes his being a pimp and a batterer, while after conversion he followed Islam’s “dominating woman is God’s plan” framework. So clearly structural change must happen within both a feminist and intersectional framework. Lierre says, “only people with a distaste for violence should be allowed to use it.” After re-watching the Collateral Murder video, and studying the crimes of civilization since agriculture for months now, I would say that would be a novel idea historically (aside from a few John Browns, and Nat Turners).

We became a nation of coffee drinkers after the Boston Tea Party. Lierre discusses Daniel Quinn’s strategy of withdrawal from civilization (he called it “walking away”) “To where?” Lierre writes. The problem of the individualist “withdrawal approach”, a.k.a. walking away, is that it does nothing to challenge the systems actively destroying the planet. Daniel is referring to a state of mind rather than a place, she concludes, believing that offering freedom only in one’s mind might not be the best solution. Lierre analyzes Daniel Quinn’s writings deeply in Chapter 3 – many great points but I could not encapsulate them briefly enough to include here. Lierre looks at Richard Heinberg’s concept of “lifeboats” and says what Daniel and Richard recommend us readers do to help is still not enough and explains why. If a bunch of “illiterate farmers with pitchforks” can take on an empire and win, why do so few talk about the advantages of ending civilization in order to return to the pre-state and non-state past of co-existence and reverence for the land? Liberalism is a combination of idealism with individualism.” To a liberal, oppression happens because of “ideas and attitudes”; to a progressive oppression happens because of concrete systems of power. Power only cares when it is threatened. There were liberal whites and blacks in the Civil Rights Movement “who thought lunch counter sit-ins were too confrontational.” “A solar panel may use more energy in it’s production than it will save in its use.”

Entitlement: believing you are personally entitled to your own 4,000 pounds of steel and the oil to drive it anywhere. The Diggers wanted an egalitarian social structure. The first Pullman porters were formally enslaved men. Pullman thought they would “act subserviently enough to make the white passengers happy.” The FBI/CIA know well that removing a single figure can decapitate a movement. I can picture FBI Zoom meetings showing photos of Buenaventura Durruti (of the Spanish anarchists) and MLK and saying: “OK – what do these two people have in common? When just they were removed, their movement died. Learn from this people; we gotta think out of the box to put people in a box!” Without leadership, you’ll end up in small ineffective groups.

Resistance starts by believing in it and by not deterring others from believing in it. “Tilters” are people like Lester Brown, Al Gore, Paul Hawken who would leave capitalism in place. Lester’s Plan B left capitalism and civilization in place. “Descenders” (John Michael Greer) argue we must prepare for a dramatic energy descent while also staying silent on fighting back. “Lifers” talk of lifestyle change and “lifeboats” as the solution. Transition Towners are also lifers in that they won’t mention the necessity of political resistance.

Making concrete is so energy intensive that “each pound of it releases one pound of carbon into the atmosphere.” Scientists studying the return of wildlife after Chernobyl realized “even a nuclear disaster is better for living creatures than civilization”. We all hear how great Sweden is; but it’s an industrial economy based on mining and it provides very little food (the nutritional component of ABBA being negligible) for its people. The word strike comes from sailors lowering their sails (striking them) refusing to go to sea. Ancient Egypt had the first real strikes. General Sherman “defied military principles” by going deep into enemy territory with neither supply lines nor communication to strike infrastructure. That strategy may have won the Civil War. No participant who objected to shocking other humans in the Milgram Experiments, went further and objected to the actual experiments, or demanded the entire thing be shut down. Resistance doesn’t have to be adopted by the majority to be effective. The Underground Railroad never sent more than 2,000 slaves annually to their freedom.

Resistance has an above ground and underground and no one straddles both worlds.
Above ground resistance is about getting attention. Surveilling suspect members is a smart move that pays off. If shit hits the fan, it’s the above ground members with a public face who get taken out, not the underground members. Underground means more than sabotage or violence; smuggling Jews out of Germany was underground. COINTELPRO was exposed by an underground group. Resistance movements seek bottlenecks. Soft targets are vulnerable while hard targets are well fortified. Above ground can offer underground huge waves of support, like in Birmingham, Alabama. Carl von Clausewitz said, “Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity.” John Brown believed one should never kill unless absolutely necessary. He was caught because he got bogged down in small crap (concerns about hostages and “whining slave masters” and even sending prisoners home) and he was too tender hearted. He stayed at Harper’s Ferry for two days instead of doing a hit and run. Most people against John Brown saw/see him as a race traitor.

Environmentalism is about making tiny changes. After Bhopal, Warren Anderson was sentenced to hang but the US refused to extradite him. Dismantling civilization (the omnicidal capitalist industrial system) means “more justice, more local control, more democracy, and more human rights, not less.” Living sustainably never protected a culture from being overrun or destroyed by civilization. MLK offered himself as the alternative to Malcolm X. We must build a culture of resistance. Every one of us should put bull’s-eye targets on our chest to show a united culture of resistance. The world’s poor would be better off if the economy collapsed today. For a long time, the civilized have been keeping resistance off-balance. The point of resistance is not to hurt people but to save the planet. The Allies brought down the Luftwaffe largely by shooting down their best pilots. IRA membership ended up being one out forty Irish people.

Deep Green Resistance views this culture as insane. DGR is doing everything you can to “spare all sentient life.” “Dissidence has never brought down a system of power and never will.” The favored rape age by Columbus’s men was “between the ages of ten and twelve.” Perennials are deep rooted, annuals aren’t. Perennials give back to the soil, while annuals mine (deplete) the soil. That’s why we have to bring back the prairies. We need to go from carbon releasing agriculture to carbon sequestering agriculture. All tillage systems contribute to global warming. People thinking of growing food usually don’t understand the need to add animal products for nitrogen and mineral replacement. Steer must be fed by grasses, not corn (too destructive). “People with the worst values are the ones with the guns and the training.” Quakers in Philadelphia offered their meeting house to the Black Panthers for their annual meeting and encircled the meetinghouse in an act of solidarity.

Why do the oceans matter so much? Think this: “two out of three animal breaths are made possible by plankton, through the oxygen they produce”. Now you will have more respect for Sponge Bob’s nemesis. One reason why many U.S. citizens have crappy health and bodies just might be that 90 cents of every food dollar in the U.S goes to processed food. The Canadian Tar Sands uses trucks that have 90 tires on 24 axles and weigh 917,000 pounds. They require two trucks to help them move. Some coral reefs are a staggering 50 million years old. There used to be whales in the Mediterranean.

So, what should we do? Resist civilization. Get ready for grid crash. Get to know your landbase. Learn all the edible plants. Build local community sufficiency. Read to prepare, gain skills needed now. This book and Derrick’s “Culture of Make Believe” should be required reading in schools and by everyone with attached retinas. There is no more important subject than resistance to the nature hating dominant culture which has been shortsightedly killing the only thing it depends on since the birth of agriculture.
Profile Image for Don.
104 reviews29 followers
June 24, 2012
The planet may or may not be dying, but if this book is any indication, copy editing has certainly died. As much as I enjoyed reading the same examples repeated ad nauseum, the abuse of logic that characterized much of the text, and the bizarre personal asides, nothing prepared me for Chapter 4. It managed to critique pornography, Jack Kerouac, Romanticism, Nazis, and much more.

Edit: And how could I forget the author of Chapter Four critiquing veganism, with the attendant discussion of the quality of her lentil and meat (pasture-raised) chili?

Profile Image for Илмар Шалаоя.
48 reviews5 followers
June 20, 2017
This book is essential reading for anyone who's even remotely interested in what is happening to the planet we live on, what will happen in the coming years, and what needs to be done. Regardless of occasionally heavy theoretical musings the text is never laborous, mainly because the points made are clarified and scrutinized in the light of past efforts in our culture of resistance, particularly during the past 200 years. The chapters are, apart from the main narrative, crammed full of enlightening facts and tidbits I was previously unaware of. The writers' devotion and love for life shines through, and hopefully catches on in anyone who decides to pick up this book. I picked up my second-hand copy by happenstance at the ever-trustworthy English bookstore "Another Country" in Berlin, only to find out that since beginning of 2017 it's been available at the Deep Green Resistance website as a free ebook. So what're you waiting for? Go and download it now! The 200 species that died into extinction today didn't have that chance, and tomorrow the servers might be sabotaged already.
Profile Image for Asails F.
75 reviews40 followers
August 21, 2011
Wonderful / a book came out that demands action. I am still reading this work but in the back of my mind I am hearing 100 years too late 100 years too little. Hope and prayer seem to be the drugs used to forget the crisis but soon even sitting at home smoking a joint or taking prozac won't help you preserve your apathy.
16 reviews
January 4, 2015
This book definitely changed how I view the world. I'm looking into what might be changing since its publication in 2011 regarding "sustainable" energy etc. Definitely a "must read" for environmentalists.
Profile Image for yarrow.
41 reviews
August 12, 2015
complete garbage. basically a recruiting tool for a hierarchical, authoritarian, transphobic cult.
Profile Image for Jonathon Lee.
13 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2017
I could not finish this book. I got about 100 pages in and put it down.

I've read much of Derrick Jensen's work (when I was much younger, and more idealistic), including Endgame, A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Trust Us, We're Experts, The Panopticon, and probably a couple others. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I picked this one up. I think it's because I got the impression it would be less idealistic than Jensen's former works - boy was I wrong.

For one, Jensen doesn't really have anything in this book. Every chapter is by Aric or Lierre. Although Jensen wrote the preface, and had a few blurbs in the first 100 pages, here and there.

Next, I have a few issues with anarcho-primitivism in general, which are the basis of this book.

1. A premise is that civilization is 'bad' because it is destroying the natural world at a rate that is unsustainable. Therefore, we should revert to pre-agriculture ways of living, to extend the longevity of the human species to be as long as possible. So in a sense, people who will live 10,000 years from now need just as much consideration as you, here and now. We are supposed to predict, based on our fairly limited evidence at this point, that no form of organized, civilized human life is possible in the long run, and therefore we should abandon ship, and pray that we don't end up needing technology to deal with a terrible Ice Age or whatever else the natural world throws at us. In conclusion, the philosophy is that the long term survival of the human species is more important than how much suffering you undergo right now, right here, in this very singular life of yours.

2. Let's say I convinced the entire country I live in (Canada) to go anarcho-primitivist. We abandon technology altogether, and start living off the land. Here's what would happen:
a. Mass famine. The country can't support this many people. Without fossil fuels, we have much too many people living here to be supported by the land.
b. Killed by the elements. The winters here are very cold. We would run out of firewood very fast, to burn to keep us warm. Many would freeze to death.
c. We would be taken over by a country willing to use technology to defeat us, since our unwillingness to do so would put us at a strategic disadvantage. What, you think that a country like the USA or Russia would just let a bunch of newly primitive people live in harmony with nature while we leave our fossil fuels and precious minerals unplundered? Even if the entire world abandoned civilization and lived off fossil fuels, what's to stop a few power hungry war lords from amassing the ammo stores and come around taking what we have? Raping the women and children? It might be nice to go back to the Stone Age (in a shrewd, romanticist sense, I guess), but defending ourselves from external threats is also important.
d. Shortened lifespans, dying of debilitating diseases and issues we could fix. I need glasses to see 'properly.' Without them, I am very near sighted. With no civilization, I would have no glasses, no contacts, and be limited to what I can see right in front of me, which is of little help, if the printing press has been abandoned so no one is writing anything for me to read anymore! Plus, people would live shorter lives, and die of things we could easily prevent, like basic infections. All in the name of long term survival of the species. The book lambasts religion, especially fundamentalist religion, while pushing its own religion: long term survival of the species above all else. Above you. Because you aren't even an individual. You are part of a species, so who cares how much you suffer? Sound inhumane? It is.
3. The facts in the book that are quoted are sometimes wrong.
Example a: There is a citation that global warming will be as bad as +16degC beyond pre-industrial levels. Well we are at +1degC. I get the sense that the average of the studies is about +5 to +8degC. So why take the most extreme end of the spectrum? It's scientifically unethical.
Example b: There is also an anecdote about how you can't buy cod anymore, and it's usually other kinds of fish re-labelled as cod. This is meant to show how we are being reassured that the world is running out of resources, and we are lying to ourselves about it, buy pretending we still have an abundance of resources. Well there was no footnote to take me to a source in the back of the book to back up that claim, and I couldn't find anything in a few minutes of Googling to say that cod is relabeled definitely, every time (although I'm aware a large percentage (10-30% even) of fish is relabeled for various reasons, such as aesthetics.) There is Pacific Cod, which I take it is what you get when you buy 'Cod.' Even if I'm wrong, why not cite this stuff? So it was just hard for me to read the book with an open mind when someone was trying to manipulate my understanding of the world so blatantly.

Look, there are way too many people on this world, using too many resources, too quickly. But is there a human alive if faced with spending a night in the freezing cold, wouldn't burn some firewood to keep warm? Can you convince people to suffer in the name of the long term survival of the species, when we don't even have a guarantee of that due to the unpredictability of natural events like an Ice Age, a supervolcano eruption, or a giant asteroid hitting the earth?

Maybe this isn't an issue we can't fix. After all, the complexity of a species is somewhat inversely proportional to its longevity. Simpler organisms last longer. They are more robust. We are very delicate.

We are what we are. No use in crying our whole lives over it.

Civilization may not be sustainable. But it seems kind of fatalistic to throw it all away because our present form of it is not sustainable. There may be another kind that will work. I think we should try to get there. And if that definitely doesn't work? Okay, Stone Age it is. But at LEAST we tried.
Profile Image for Diogenes Grief.
492 reviews
May 22, 2022
This is a manifesto, a history lesson, and a strategy guide for the Deep Green Resistance (DGR) movement (https://deepgreenresistance.org/), a radical environmentalist group that sees industrialized society, worldwide, as insane, and how we need to tear it all down to repair the planet and preserve what ecosystems remain. Finally, I’ve found people I can identify with. “This is the question on which the world entire may depend: Are you willing to accept the only strategy left to us? Are you willing to set aside your last, fierce dream of that brave uprising of millions strong? I know what I am asking. The human heart needs hope as it needs air. But the existence of those brave millions is the empty hope of the desperate, and they’re not coming to our rescue” (p. 494).

Hopium, greenwashing, and wishcycling are the new b.s. after fifty-plus years of being aware of our warming world and poisoned planet. Electric cars, wind turbines, LED bulbs, and composting are all delusions to keep us hopeful while the slow-motion apocalypse of inevitable collapse marches onward, gaining speed. If you haven’t checked out PBS’s Frontline’s “The Power of Big Oil” series yet, do so. It shows how all this predates the Internet with 40 years of disinformation that seems impossible to combat. Willful ignorance, wanton greed, selfish laziness, nihilism, myopia, and all the cognitive traps our brains can manufacture to keep us from accepting the cold, hard reality of what anthropogenic warming is doing to the future of the biology of the Earth, are what DGR faces. This book is meant to be that rude awakening.

“Systems of power are not swayed by moral exhortation. They don’t care how well-behaved you are, how much you believe in the power of healing, or how much you want the inner child of perpetrators and CEOs to feel the love they supposedly never got. Their inner children are sociopathic. And out in the real world, they will turn fire hoses and German shepherds on your actual children. Nonviolent actionists have been gunned down in cold blood, tortured, thrown in jail to rot. Any quick perusal of the history of political struggle will yield the harsh truth, the lesson learned from Bloody Sunday to Tiananmen Square: nonviolence does not work by persuasion, nor does it offer protection, and the left needs to give up its maudlin belief in both. Those are not the reasons to employ it.

Nonviolence works by facing the ruthless reality of oppression, identifying its linchpins, and using direct action to interrupt the flow of power and hopefully dislodge some portion of its foundation. Instead of weapons, the technique uses people, usually large numbers of people willing to have direct confrontations with power, which means they risk getting killed. The sooner the left faces the reality of that danger, the better prepared we will be to make strategic and tactical decisions, individually and collectively”
(p. 109).

It’s funny, but DRG identifies as radical-feminist-left neo-Luddites, but they are not liberal and Derrick Jensen describes himself as fundamentally conservative; however, we all know the Right is now a lost-cause cult of idiocy, corporate democrats are beholden to Wall Street and “the economy”, and the filthy rich and their corporations control almost everything. “Our actionists are not trying to change consciousness. They’re not trying to get press. They’re not after a new government or a seat at a political table. They are trying to stop the burning of fossil fuels and industrial-scale destruction of the life-support systems of their planet. That is the goal of DGR, and DEW [Decisive Ecological Warfare] is their strategy” (p. 499).

They have aboveground operations and underground ops, so read this book, perform your own research, and decide what you want the future to look like and what role you’ll play in its creation or destruction. You can also listen to Susan Breen interviewed on the Green Root Podcast, Derrick Jensen interviewed for The Wilderness Podcast, and Aric McBay interviewed on Final Straw Radio to gain more insight into this movement. Essentially the plan is this:

“As we’ve made clear, acts of omission are not going to bring down civilization. Let’s talk about action with more potential. We can split all acts of commission into six branches:
* lobbying;
* protests and symbolic acts;
* education and awareness raising;
* support work and building alternatives;
* capacity building and logistics;
* and direct confrontation and conflict” (p. 257).

I’ve personally written off the first two as being pointless anymore. Our politicians are bought and paid-for by industrialism, and protests and all those beautiful photo-op acts of symbolism accomplish absolutely nothing. Personally I believe education is the crux of the issue, but even math is now politicized mindlessly, and the left-leaning press doesn’t hammer the existential points home hard enough. The billionaires will not save us. The youth will not save us. Even if we could grant every single person a quality education, it would take generations for the effects to take hold. Like the recent IPCC reports summarize, but fail to say in blunt terms like DGR does, it’s already too late to do anything meaningful through the industrialized system as it is. Capitalism is a disease. Greed is a pervasive bacterium. Consumerism, materialism, and waste are the appaling conditions of the human herd. The rich and powerful and all their millions of hand-puppets will not concede, at least until the “poop” hits the fan one way or another (a redneck revolution for the plutocrats and their puppet-politicians, a destabilizing solar flare or well-placed meteor strike, some power-mad autocrat sending a nuke somewhere, the slow-motion apocalypse of industrial collapse, etc.), or DGR fulfilling its desire to bring down the power grid (and keep it down) where everyone’s digital addictions go dark (and stay dark), and where a collective perception shift overcomes all our vices to focus on a new future with drastically different priorities. Gaia is the only concept of a “god” who should matter. In one of the podcast episodes above, Jensen mentions how if an alien species, no doubt tentacled and frothing, was here doing such destruction to our world, destroying the forests, stripping the topsoil, melting the polar icecaps and glaciers and permafrost, raising sea levels, polluting the rivers and lakes and oceans, the ruination of watersheds and erosion of shorelines, poisoning our food supplies, injecting lead and mercury and microplastics into our blood-streams, toxifying the air and eroding the atmosphere, we’d be at war with them, fighting them with tooth and claw to save our planetary home. A radical, global campaign to bring the industrialized system down is humanity’s last, best chance at saving itself from itself, and helping the Earth and its ecosystems heal, replenish, and flourish in the aftermath.

At the very least, there will be some who can honestly say they tried to avert the coming catastrophe.
Profile Image for Rhys.
731 reviews102 followers
January 20, 2021
Deep Green Resistance is both a philosophy and a manual. It is direct.

"This culture is basically conducting a massive Milgram experiment on us, only the electric shocks aren't fake-they're killing off the planet, species by species."

The authors ask if we are willing to stop this experiment. And they share strategies to do so.
Profile Image for Silvia Pastorelli.
40 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2023
So much to disagree with but still offers opportunities to reflect on activism, grassroots movement and what causes change.
Profile Image for Nicolas Quattromani.
34 reviews25 followers
January 9, 2019
I read Deep Green Resistance because I was writing a story about an ecoterrorist group, and I wanted to know what those lunatics thought of themselves.
Stylistically, the book has few serious problems. It's obvious that the text was proofread, thoroughly thought-out, and written by intelligent people.
But it's also a screed against technology, progress, and civilization itself, fueled by an idealization of primitive life combined with absurd compassion for every salmon and blade of grass. Most of the facts are relentlessly cherry-picked, of course. We're told that human agriculture is responsible for the Sahara and Arabian deserts, and that climate change could exceed thirty degrees Fahrenheit--a figure climate scientists don't even accept as the worst case.
The rhetorical strategy is unsubtle: McBay et. al. construct an bleak image of the world, where civilization is irredeemable and western capitalists are responsible for every ill, and then present ecoterrorism as the only moral solution. They're particularly fond of mentioning that two hundred species go extinct each day, in the hope that mindless rage on the reader's part will breed credulity.
Objectively, the book's a polished dumpster fire. Subjectively, I hated it--I can't fathom how people will so readily throw away the technology, medicine, and science we have worked so hard to build over the millennia. They foreclose any prospects for future greatness, for space exploration and immortality, green cities and artistic flourishing, in favor of simple, meek, unassuming subsistence among the ruins.
And there's the small fact that the Deep Green Resistance would inevitably kill most of humanity. The authors try to dodge the issue, but that just leads them to spout absurdities--apparently all of India's billion-plus denizens can just go back to working the land, where they will support themselves without fertilizer or agricultural machines. Right.
So, yeah, this book is ridiculous, and it uses half-baked logic, shoddy research, and frenzied sentimentality to promote terrorism. Take note, FBI: these are intelligent and dangerous people.
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