DARK GREEN RELIGION:
NATURE SPIRITUALITY AND
THE PLANETARY FUTURE
Chapter 4. Radical Environmentalism
(Listed In Order of Page and Paragraph Number In Dark Green Religion)
Andy Caffrey's "Gaiabilly Musical", is available as several downloadable CDs at his "Caffrey for Congress" website. Caffrey was involved in radical environmental action from its inception, recording some of its earliest moments by video.
Walkin Jim Stoltz is an environmental balladeer whose songs moved and inspired many radical environmental activists. Peg Millett, and Earth First! activist convicted of environmental sabotage, sang one of his songs, Forever Wild just prior to being sentenced to three years in prison, answer way of explaining why she had engaged in illegal environmental defense actions.
Greg Keeler is one of the most humourous of the environmental musicians who inspired the movement. A good example is the song Manley Men. A video version of it is available in the next section.Judi Bari was an influential ecofeminist and socialist Earth First!er who I did not discuss in Dark Green Religion but is certainly another exemplar of it. I will say more about her in my book about radical environmentalism, to which I will return soon. But worth listening to now is the following radio program in which she describes her philosophy, available at the Judi Bari website, which she called Revolutionary Ecology. The prelude discusses how she was arrested, along with fellow redwood forest activist Darryl Cherney, shotly after on 24 May 1990 a bomb exploded in the care they were driving while organizing students to resist deforestation. The bomb nearly killed and permanently disabled Bari, and it also injured the Earth First activist and musician Darryl Cherney, who was in the car. The charges against them were eventually dropped and in 2002 they prevailed in civil lawsuit against federal and California law enforcement authorities, in which they were awarded over 4 million dollars. By the time of the victory, however, Bari had died of breast cancer.
David Abram and Stephan Harding's Wild Ethics Website.
Center for Biological Diversity: See description under “Law-based resistance,” below. Founded by Phoenix Arizona emergency room physician Robin Silver, and two early EF!ers, Kieran Suckling and Peter Galvin. Now arguably the most effective law-based biodiversity protection group in North America.)
Circle of Life Foundation. The organization Julia “Butterfly” Hill formed to continue her work after her famous tree sit.
Fund for Wild Nature. Site for Earth First!’s own fund; used largely to support direct action campaigns.
The Ruckus Society: Founded by Earth First! co-founder Mike Roselle, and directed by former Greenpeace Direct Action expert John Sellers, this society trains activists in non-violent direct action, supporting forest defense, anti-globalization protests, etc.
Wild Rockies Earth First!
The Rewilding Institute: Dave Forman’s latest venture with Michael Soule founded in 1983, is a “conservation think tank dedicated to the development and promotion of ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation in North America and to combat the extinction crisis.”
Rites of Passage/Wilderness Vision Quest. Founded by Steven and Meredith Foster in 1977, run by Michael Bodkin since 1987.
Law-based Resistance (including Earth First! groups)
Environmental Protection Information Center: Responsible for some of the most important and precedent setting environmental litigation in the Northwestern U.S., located in the Redwood Biome, Garberville, northern California. Predated similar strategies by Earth First Groups.
Globalization Resistance (“Alternative Globalization”, Anti-Corporate/Capitalist/ Neo-Liberal, Movements/Sites)
Anti-globalization entry from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.
International Forum on Globalization, built with significant donations by Doug Tompkins (North Face then Esprit Corporations) one of the deep pockets of the radical environment/deep ecology movement. Tompkins is a mountaineer who came to his activism via the writings of Arne Naess.
World Social Forum . . . “an open meeting place where groups and movements of civil society opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism, but engaged in building a planetary society centred on the human person, come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. The WSF proposed to debate alternative means to building a globalization in solidarity, which respects universal human rights and those of all men and women of all nations and the environment, and is grounded in democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples.
Biotic Baking Brigade. Founded by an anarchistic Earth First! activist, promotes pie throwing at corporate and political villains.
Green Anarchy : according to “TheFreeDictionary, this group broke off in 2000 from Green Anarchist and began publishing from Eugene Oregon by a collective including John Zerzan. Compare with the website/writings of Zerzan, Moore, and Kevin Tucker.
International Workers of the World
Reclaim the Streets (San Francisco) : “A direct action network for global and local social-ecological revolution(s) to transcend hierarchical and authoritarian society”
Reclaim the Streets (United Kingdom)
Paganism (including Wicca)
Par. 1, William Roger’s last words, apparently written shortly before he pulled over his head the plastic bag he took from the jail’s commissary, were “I have not departed. I have merely changed form. With or without me, the resistance grows stronger everyday.” A number of his comrades reported afterward feeling his presence shortly after his death.
Par. 3, more on Roger’s compilation: The poet from whom Rogers drew the title, Shih-t’ao (Shitao), also known as Tao-chi (Daoji), was a famous Chinese painter and poet, and member of the Ming royal house, who became a Buddhist monk and later converted to Daoism. For a comprehensive study see Jonathan Hay, Shintao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Many radical environmentalists find inspiration in religions that originated in Asia. I am grateful to colleagues David Barnhill and Mario Poceski for their insights into this figure.
For an activist argument that the Green Man is a pagan representation of the living, animate earth, see Michaela deLiuda, "Paganism and Biodiversity," Alarm: a Voice of Revolutionary Ecology, no. 3 [summer solstice] (1992).Mists of Avalon author, Marion Bradley, wrote a short essay in 1986 explaining that she was a Gnostic Christian and asserting that her book was not hostile to Christianity per se but was critical of its repressive forms. She also averred that neo-paganism “offers a very viable alternative for people, especially for women, who have been turned off by the abuses of Judeo-Christian organized religions. I speak, of course, of patriarchal attitudes, hatred of women, the pervasive and insidious attitude that mankind was made to dominate nature . . . which is leading us . . . to destroy our very planetary environment.” For these and other “Thoughts on Avalon,” including a discussion of her affinities for Gnostic Christianity and assertions that her book was not anti-Christian.
Par. 3, more references reprinted in the compliation contemplating arson and even tactics intending to harm adversaries: In "How Far Should We Go?," [Earth First! 9, no. 2 (1988), which appeared in Beware! Sabotage! on p. 129 with the authors listed as “Lightning Sprite Brigade, Summer 1992”] Tom Stoddard wrote about “the sad but often inevitable need for armed resistance” in revolutionary struggles, indicating that although he hoped the struggle would not become violent, he clearly expected it would, concluding that activists should be ready.
Another article in Live Wild or Die seemed to encourage murder as a tactic, although many activists denied that was its intent; see graphic Anonymous, "Ecofuckers Hit List (Graphic)," Live Wild or Die, no. 5 (1994). Court records in the case of those accused of participating with Rogers in arson indicate that an activist-turned-informant claimed that Rogers had discussed the possibility of drive-by assassinations. The manual even included “A Firearms Primer for Anarchists and Punks,” which explained how to procure, maintain and use firearms, and argued that such knowledge is important for anarchist revolutionaries. I have not found which of the many anarchist tabloids this was drawn from, but it was published under the pseudonym “Felix Von Havoc” and entitled, “Turn up the Heat.”Between late 2006 and 2008, a string of arsons and other acts of ecotage occurred in a number of western states; nineteen activists were eventually implicated, including Rogers. Fourteen were convicted of one or more counts by the middle of 2008 and four were fugitives. At about the same time another dozen or more activists were either facing trial or being sought in other radical environmental arson attacks, which have continued.
Par. 1, Abbey’s rumored underground resistance, was already active in the 1950s, he wrote, recalling that late at night on patrol in the park, “I may also, if I am lucky, find one or two or three with whom I can share a little more – those rumors from the underground where whatever hope we still have must be found.” Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988 ), 205.Par. 2, evidence that Beware! Sabotage! articulated the view that wildlands are sacred places worthy of defense: Rogers reprinted an article originally published by Wild Rockies Earth First! a regional tabloid describing the battle to save the Cove-Mallard, wilderness included these words: “The Wild Rockies have become a tabernacle, a sacred place of worship” where “a strange tribe” made up of environmentalists and Native Americans have been forging an alliance to defend it.
Par. 1: on radical environmentalism as an exemplar of dark green religion: I could have selected any number of trail heads into the subcultures of radical environmentalism – a fact that buttresses my view that despite significant spiritual and religious diversity – there are strong idea and practice trends within these subcultures that make it possible to identify a typical, radical environmental worldview, and to consider its diverse movement branches as belonging to the same radical environmental tree.
For two excellent examples, see the mostly widely read early book popularizing deep ecology, Bill Devall and George Sessions, Deep Ecology: Living as If Nature Mattered (Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith, 1985), and the edited volumes published a decade later, George Sessions, ed., Deep Ecology for the 21st Century (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995) and Alan Drengson and Yuichi Inoue, eds., The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic, 1995), and the excellent synthetic overview of deep ecology by Frederic L. Bender, The Culture of Extinction: Toward a Philosophy of Deep Ecology (Amherst, New York: Humanity Books, 2003).
Par. 4, references from the environmental philosophers mentioned in text:
J. Baird Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic: Essays in Environmental Philosophy (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989), Alan Drengson, "Paganism, Nature, and Deep Ecology," Earth First! 8, no. 5 (1988), Alan Drengson, "The Long-Range Deep Ecology Movement and Arne Naess," The Trumpeter 9, no. 2 (1992), Allan Drengson, From Technocrat to Planetary Person (Victoria, British Columbia: Lightstar, 1983), Max Oelschlaeger, The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991), Bender, Culture of Extinction , Bill Devall, Simple in Means, Rich in Ends: Practicing Deep Ecology (Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith, 1988), Devall and Sessions, Deep Ecology: Living as If Nature Mattered , Dolores LaChapelle, Earth Wisdom (Silverton, Colorado: Finn Hill Arts, 1978), Dolores LaChapelle, Sacred Land, Sacred Sex: Rapture of the Deep (Silverton, Colorado: Finn Hill Arts, 1988), Andrew McLaughlin,Regarding Nature: Industrialism & Deep Ecology (New York: State University of New York Press, 1993), Arne Naess, "How My Philosophy Seemed to Develop," in Philosophers on Their Own Work (Volume 10) (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 1983), Arne Naess, "Intrinsic Value: Will the Defenders of the Planet Please Rise?," in Conservation Biology: The Science of Scarcity and Diversity (Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer, 1986), Arne Naess, "Simple in Means, Rich in Ends: A Conversation with Arne Naess (Ed. Stephen Bodian)," The ten directions, no. Summer/Fall (1982), Arne Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary," Inquiry 16 (1973), Arne Naess, ed., Ecology, Community and Lifestyle(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), John Seed, "Anthropocentrism," Earth First! 3, no. 6 (1983), George Sessions, "Anthropocentrism and the Environmental Crisis," Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 2, no. Fall/Winter (1974), George Sessions, "Ecophilosophy," Ecophilosophy, no. 2 (1979), George Sessions, "Shallow and Deep Ecology: A Review of the Philosophical Literature," in Ecological Consciousness, ed. Robert C. Schultz and J. Donald Hughes (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1981), George Sessions, "Spinoza and Jeffers on Man in Nature," Inquiry 20, no. 4 (1977), Sessions, ed., Deep Ecology for the 21st Century , Michael E. Zimmerman, "Toward a Heideggerean Ethos for Radical Environmentalism," Environmental Ethics 5 (1983), Michael E. Zimmerman, "Implications of Heidegger's Thought for Deep Ecology," The Modern Schoolman LXIV (1986), Michael E. Zimmerman, "Feminism, Deep Ecology, and Environmental Ethics," Environmental Ethics 9 (1987), Michael E. Zimmerman, Contesting Earth's Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994). While Zimmerman appreciates the importance of deep ecology to the emergence of environmental philosophy and agrees with the thrust of the deep ecology platrofm, he became critical of various aspects of deep ecology and no longer calls himself a deep ecologist. See, for example, his emerging ambivalence in Michael E. Zimmerman, "Rethinking the Heidegger--Deep Ecology Relationship," Environmental Ethics 15, no. 3 (1993). Nevertheless, Zimmerman influentially brought Heidegger’s critique of anthropocentrism and technology to deep ecology, and also argued that that there are spiritual resources in Heidegger’s thought that can be helpful in understanding humankind’s relation to nature. He later wrote articles sympathetic but cautionary about the kind of nature spirituality I am focusing on in this volume; see especially Zimmerman, Contesting Earth's Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity and Michael E. Zimmerman, "Possible Political Problems of Earth-Based Religiosity," in Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays on Deep Ecology, ed. Eric Katz, Andrew Light, and David Rothenberg (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2000). I am grateful to Professor Zimmerman for an email exchange clarifying his role in this history (in July and August 2008).
Par. 5, references from the scholars of Native American cultures mentioned in text:
Vine Deloria, God Is Red: A Native View of Religion, Updated ed. (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum, 1994); Jace Weaver’s judicious analysis is especially valuable in his own contributions in Jace Weaver, ed., Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1996); for other important contrasts and debates see Sam D. Gill, "Mother Earth: An American Myth," in The Invented Indian, ed. James A. Clifton (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction, 1990), William M. Denevan, "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82, no. 3 (1992), James A. Clifton, ed., The Invented Indian: Cultural Fictions and Government Policies (New Jersey: Transactions, 1994), Vine Deloria, Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (New York: Scribners, 1995), Marsha Nol, The Stars above, the Earth Below: American Indians and Nature (Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart, 1998), Shepard Krech, The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (New York: Norton, 1999), Howard L. Harrod, The Animals Came Dancing: Native American Sacred Ecology and Animal Kinship(Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 2000), and Michael Eugene Harkin and David Rich Lewis, Native Americans and the Environment: Perspectives on the Ecological Indian (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007).
Par. 6, references from the environmental historians mentioned in text:
Donald Worster, Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas, second ed. (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1994 ), Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). Nash confessed his affinities with deep ecology in the 4th edition of Wilderness and the American Mind; see Roderick Frazier Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 4th ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001 ), and Roderick Frazier Nash, The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989).Par. 7, references from the environmental scientists mentioned in text: see the more detailed discussion in Chapter 7, and pages the index has for “Conservation Biology.”
Par.2, references from anarchistic critics mentioned in text:
For the key writings see Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966) and Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom, revised ed. (Montreal/New York: Black Rose, 1991), John Clark, "The Social Ecology of Murray Bookchin," in The Anarchist Moment (Montréal: Black Rose, 1984), Brian Tokar, The Green Alternative: Creating an Ecological Future, second ed. (San Pedro, California: R.E. Miles, 1992), Brian Tokar, Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash (Boston: South End Press, 1997), and the social ecologist Janet Biehl, Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1991).
Par. 3, references from critics of technology mentioned in text:
For the key texts see George Friedrich Juenger, The Failure of Technology (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1949), Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (Harper and Row: New York, 1977), Bruce V. Foltz,Inhabiting the Earth: Heidegger, Environmental Ethics, and the Metaphysics of Nature (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1995), Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Vintage, 1964), Langon Winner, Autonomous Technology: Techniques-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1977), Jeremy Rifkin,Algeny (New York: Viking, 1983), Jeremy Rifkin, Biosphere Politics: A New Consciousness for a New Century (New York: Crown, 1991) and Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1991). Mander was an advertising executive who helped David Brower design the advertisement opposing the dam at Dinosaur National Monument; see Chapter 6.
Par. 4, references from the ecofeminists mentioned in text:
For the seminal book-length studies see Susan Griffin, Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revenge against Nature (New York: Harper & Row, 1981) and Susan Griffin, Women and Nature: The Roaring inside Her (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978), Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980), Carolyn Merchant, Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World (New York & London: Routledge, 1992), Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987), Marija Gimbutas,The Civilization of the Goddess (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), Vandana Shiva, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development (London: Zed, 1988), Biehl, Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics and Karen J. Warren, Ecological Feminist Philosophies (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1996), Charlene Spretnak, The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Bear & Co., 1986). For the explosion of ecofeminist anthologies that well introduce the diversity of ecofeminist thought, see Judith Plant, ed., Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism (Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers, 1989), Karen J. Warren, "Ecological Feminism (Special Issue)," Hypatia 6, no. 1 (1991), Karen J. Warren, ed., Ecological Feminism (London & New York: Routledge, 1994), Carol J. Adams, ed., Ecofeminism and the Sacred(New York: Continuum, 1993), Greta ed Gaard, Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993), Michael E. Zimmerman, ed., Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993), 251-351, and Lois Ann Lorentzen and Jennifer Turpin, eds., The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, Development, and the Environment (New York and London: Routledge, 1996).
Par. 5, references from the anthropologists mentioned in text:
See Marshal Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (Chicago: Aldine, 1968), the anthology by Richard B. Lee and Irven Devore, eds., Man the Hunter (Chicago: Aldine, 1968), Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid (New York: Scribners, 1970) and Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1974) for such positive appraisals, as well as the discussion of similar views expressed by Huxley, Eiseley and Sessions and summarized above. Such anthropology has influenced many radical environmentalists (often through its popular literature and key proponents, such as Snyder, other bioregionalists, and Devall and Sessions). See John H. Bodley, Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems, second ed. (Mountain View, California: Mayfield, 1983), 1-22, 42-58, for a good overview of anthropological debates about “primitive” cultures, combined with a representative argument that Rousseau and his progeny are not naive, but merely observant, with regard to such cultures.
Par. 6, references from the ecopsychologists mentioned in text:
See especially Paul Shepard, Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature, Second ed. (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2002 ); Paul Shepard, The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game (New York: Scribners, 1973), Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1982), Theodore Roszak, Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972), Theodore Roszak, Person/Planet: The Creative Disintegration of Industrial Society (New York: Anchor, 1978), Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology (New York: Touchstone, 1992), Roger Walsh, Staying Alive: The Psychology of Human Survival (Boston & London: Shambhala, 1984), Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self (Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press, 1991), Warwick Fox, Toward a Transpersonal Ecology (Boston: Shambhala, 1991), Warwick Fox, ed., Toward a Transpersonal Psychology (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1996), Chellis Glendinning, My Name Is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization (Boston & London: Shambhala, 1994), and the recent anthologies by Roger Walsh and Francis Vaughan, Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision (Los Angeles: Tarcher/Perigee, 1993) and Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner, eds., Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1995).
Par. 7, references from the contemporary pagans mentioned in text:
For the first editions of their most important books see Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (New York: Viking Press, 1979) and Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, 1st ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979). They are discussed more in Chapter 6.
Par. 8, references from the “new science” theorists mentioned in text:These sciences have been pioneered or promoted by notables such as Alfred North Whitehead, Werner Heisenberg, Thomas Kuhn, Gregory Bateson, James Lovelock, Morris Berman, Ilya Prigogine, Fritof Capra, David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy, Charlene Spretnak and many others. See Alfred North Whitehead, ed., Process and Reality, corrected ed. (New York: Free Press, 1978), Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (New York: Ballantine, 1972), Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (New York City: Dutton, 1979), James Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, Revised ed. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1995 ), Morris Berman, The Reenchantment of the World (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1981), Walsh, Staying Alive: The Psychology of Human Survival , Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, fourth ed. (Boston: Shambhala, 2000), and also Fritjof Capra and David Steindl-Rast, Belonging to the Universe: Explorations on the Frontiers of Science and Spirituality (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), Lovelock, Gaia, Berman, The Reenchantment of the World . See also Macy, World as Lover, World as Self, and Joanna Macy, "Council of All Beings," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Macy’s writings are as much in the ecopsychology genre as in systems theory. Spretnak, who promotes an ethics of evolutionary kinship grounded in religious mysticism and primal spiritualities, has argued that such worldviews are now confirmed by science; see Charlene Spretnak, States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 17-19, and for a good introduction, Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature (Boulder, Colorado: Shambala, 1984).
Par. 1, references related to New Age and transpersonal movements and institutes:Stanislav Grof, The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1988), Stanislav Grof, The Holotropic Mind (San Francisco: Harper, 1992), James Hillman and Michael Ventura, We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World's Getting Worse (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1993), Ralph Metzner, The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe (Boston: Shambhala, 1994), Andy Fisher, Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2002).
Par. 1, more Paul Shepard references and discussion of his influence:
Shepard, Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature, Shepard, Nature and Madness, Paul Shepard, "Romancing the Potato," Wild Earth 8, no. 3 (1998), Shepard, The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game, Paul Shepard and Daniel McKinley, eds., The Subversive Science: Essays toward an Ecology of Man (Boston: Houghton, 1969).
The extent of his influence on Foreman I learned during an April 1990 interview with Foreman after a lecture in Oshkosh Wisconsin, a point that Foreman stressed again during a February 1993 interview in Tucson Arizona. Moreover, in a 30 December 2007 interview with Paul Shepard’s widow, Florence Shepard (Shephard died in 1996), I learned that Foreman, when he met Shepard at Wes Jackson’s Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, told Shepard that he had been Foreman’s guide.
Rogers included another essay in Mountains and Rivers (p. 30, see also 29), which articulated this Shepard-inspired cosmogony. It was by Christopher Manes and entitled “Whatever Happened to the Cenozoic?” and was first published inWild Earth (Summer 1991) a journal started by Dave Foreman after he left Earth First! in 1990. Manes wrote an influential book, drawing largely on the first years of the Earth First! journal, which helped to promote the movement, see Christopher Manes, Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990). See also Mane’s controversial articles that critics asserted showed the misanthropic and anti-human agenda of radical environmentalism: Christopher Manes, "Why I Am a Misanthrope," Earth First! 11, no. 2 (1990) and three published under a pseudonym: Miss Ann Thropy, "Overpopulation and Industrialism," Earth First! 7, no. 4 (1987), Miss Ann Thropy, "Population and Aids," Earth First! 7, no. 5 (1987), Miss Ann Thropy, "Technology and Mortality," Earth First! 7, no. 1 (1986).
Par. 2, more on Foreman’s negative views toward Western Civilization and its religions:These did not appear in the chapter excerpted by Rogers, but Foreman regularly expressed such views, including in the later chapters of his Confessions of an Ecowarrior as when, for example, he criticized the repression of women and nature went with the overturning of Earth Goddess religions (21).See also Foreman’s essays under his pseudonym, Chim Blea, which included these words: “The critique of Western civilization is linked to a moral-spiritual epistemology of knowledge through listening to the land. Until the paradigm of Western Civilization is replaced by another worldview," and here he alluded to the Goddess religions of the ancients and to Native American worldviews, "until children see wisdom alone on a mountain rather than in books alone" the restoration of earth-harmonious communities will be impossible. Chim Blea, "The Heritage of Western Civilization," Earth First! Newsletter2, no. 5 (1982), 6. Foreman, drawing on Shepard and others, linked the devastating rise of agricultural civilizations to the eruption and spread of otherworldly and anthropocentric religions as well as to Humanism, which eventually followed.
Par. 1, more on the sources of radical environmentalism’s critiquue of agricultures: Foreman’s and Shepard’s views in this regard cohere with the exceptionally popular environmental scholar Jared Diamond, who provided one of the earliest expressions of views linking the spread of agricultural civilizations to the decimation of biological and cultural diversity; see Jared Diamond, "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race," Discover, no. May (1987), which was the seed for his Pulitzer prizing winning Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: Norton, 1997) and the largely apocalyptic subsequent study, Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed(New York: Viking, 2005).
Edward Abbey articulated a similar view about the ecologically devastating mistake represented by agriculture and otherworldly, salvation religions: “I believe humanity made a serious mistake when our ancestors gave up the hunting and gathering life for agriculture and towns. That’s when they invented the slave, the serf, the master, the commissar, the bureaucrat, the capitalist, and the five-star general. Wasn’t it farming that made a murderer of Cain? Nothing but trouble and grief ever since, with a few comforts thrown here and there, now and then, like bourbon and ice cubes and free beer on the Fourth of July, mainly to stretch out the misery.” Edward Abbey, Abbey's Road (New York: Plume, 1991). Documentation of Abbey’s distain for religions promising divine rescue from this world is provided in the next section of Dark Green Religion(beginning on p. 80).
Par. 3, more from my 1993 interview with Dave Foreman:
Although by the time of this interview Foreman seemed entirely in the post-supernaturalistic camp, only some five years earlier he expressed clear affinity with paganism, some of which is avowedly supernaturalistic. Foreman wrote, for example, of rejecting Christianity, that then, he “flirted briefly with eastern religions before rejecting them for their anti-Earthly metaphysic." He continued, "Through my twenties and early thirties, I was an atheist – until I sensed something out there. Out there in the wilderness . . . So, I became a pagan, a pantheist, a witch, if you will. I offered prayers to the moon, performed secret rituals in the wildwood, did spells. I placated the spirits of that which I ate or used (remember, your firewood is alive, too.) . . . For almost ten years, I’ve followed my individualistic shamanism . . .” Despite his often-expressed ambivalence toward organized religion and even toward pagan ritualizing, Foreman concluded, “Nonetheless, we do seem to have a spiritual sense. Perhaps our fatal flaw, that which sunders us from Earth, is our ability for abstract thinking. To think of things as things. And spirituality, ritual, is that which attempts, albeit imperfectly, to reconnect us. Maybe I'll talk to the moon tonight.” See Foreman, writing under a pseudonym, as Chim Blea, "Spirituality," Earth First! 7, no. 7 (1987).A year later Foreman praised Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, which is probably the most influential book promoting Wicca in America and Europe, as “the best religious book since the burning times.” Dave Foreman, "Review of the Spiral Dance,"Earth First! 9, no. 1 (1988). See Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess.
Pars. 6 & 7, on Abbey’s rejection of supernaturalism and embrace of sensuality:
Also in Desert Solitaire, and showing his contempt for “politically correct” conventions including feminist sensibilities, Abbey wrote, “You tell me that that pretty girl yonder, lifting her dress to wade into the stream of love, is really nothing but a transient vortex of organic energy? You can sit there and tell me that? Okay, you contemplate the underlying relationships; I’ll take the girl.” [Desert Solitaire, xii.] The embrace of sensuality reflected here reflects more than his penchant to puncture political correctness, however. It is a reflection of the kind of naturalism that is common in radical environmentalism, which acknowledges and celebrates the human as an animal, including instinctual sexuality.Abbey’s rejection of the Transcendentalist and Platonic proposition that this world corresponds to an ultimately superior spiritual domain, as well as New Age thinking, which involves similar metaphysical beliefs, is in plain view in the in-text quotations. Moreover, Abbey’s language about appearances resembles a passage where he concluded that Thoreau had also rejected any metaphysics: “Appearance is reality, Thoreau implies; or so it appears to me. I begin to think he outgrew transcendentalism rather early in his career, at about the same time that he was overcoming the influence of his onetime mentor Emerson; Thoreau and the transcendentalists had little in common-in the long run-but their long noses, as a friend of mine has pointed out.” Edward Abbey, Down the River (New York: Dutton, 1982; reprint, Plume, 1991), 20.
Par. 1, Abbey thinks the desert teaches, which is a kind of Gaian naturalism:Ironically, the desert teaches through silence: “What does the desert say? The desert says nothing. Completely passive, acted upon but never acting, the desert lies there like the bare skeleton of Being, spare, sparse, austere, utterly worthless, inviting not love but contemplation. In its simplicity and order it [rejects the idea that] only the human is regarded as significant or even recognized as real.” Abbey, Desert Solitaire, 210.
Par. 1, references from Abbey’s favorite writers: Joseph Wood Krutch, "A Kind of Pantheism," Saturday Review, 10 June 1950, Joseph Wood Krutch, The Voice of the Desert (New York: William Sloane Associates, 1954). The interview in a chapter entitled “Mr. Krutch” appears in Edward Abbey, One Life at a Time, Please (Henry Holt: New York, 1988), 179-93. He also highly praised Mary Austin, another desert writer; see Land of Little Rain with an introduction by Terry Tempest Williams ed. (New York: Penguin, 1997 ). Without explaining why, Abbey also specifically stated that he was uninterested in Muir or Burroughs, probably the former because of his effusive, spiritual perceptions, and Burroughs due to his leftist ideology and utopianism. See Abbey, Desert Solitaire, x-xi.
Par. 4, more on eating and being eaten, death, and intimacy with nature:
Abbey nad affinity for Robinson Jeffers’ famous vulture poem, which envisions a marvelous life after death, an “enskyment,” upon being eaten by and becoming a vulture [see, for example, Abbey, Desert Solitaire, 74-75, 186, 189-90, as well as Bron Taylor, "Death and Afterlife in Jeffers and Abbey," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, ed. Bron Taylor (London & New York: Continuum International, 2005), and for the poem, see Robinson Jeffers, ed., The Wild God of the World: An Anthology of Robinson Jeffers (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2003), 183.
Another sentiment of Jeffers sometimes embraced by radical environmentalists was, “Be in nothing so moderate / As in love of man” (quoted by Abbey, Desert Solitaire, 137). This in turn resembles lines penned by the pre-romantic poet, Lord Byron, in “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods” – “I love not man the less, but Nature more / To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne'er express . . .” – which is another expression of dark green religious sentiment. For more on Jeffers’ influence see the section on “Photography and the Arts” in Dark Green Religion, including the lines from his poem, “The Answer” on p. 168.
Some would find in such statements evidence that dark green religion in general, and radical environmentalism in particular, is misanthropic and dangerous. But Abbey quoted this statement and others as a prelude to argue that giving up anthropocentrism does not yield misanthropy, and Byron’s poem expresses love for humanity, which does not cohere with misanthropy.In a section from a book of interviews, that Rogers excerpted, we can see an example of Snyder’s idea that eating and being eaten should be considered a sacrament (initially discussed in Chapter 2). Roger’s editorial decision to include excerpts from this interview demonstrates the ongoing influence of this idea in radical environmental subcultures. In this passage Snyder was discussing the ways indigenous peoples and a shamanic perception related to food. In response to the interviewer who suggested that eating anything was a “rip off” and declaring, “I’m not offering myself up to somebody as food,” Snyder replied,
The glorious revolution will not free this land; the rising of the oppressed against the capitalist master will fail. The worker will not triumph over the ruling class, nor will women and persecuted peoples gain equality in a brave new world. The planet will not be ‘saved’ by the people’s new ecological consciousness.But there will be rebellions, war, famine and, oh yes, industrial collapse. And there will be wilderness where there are now tree farms . . . Grazing herds will move across an empty pain, and great trees will rise up from the road beds. Humans will survive too, much as they always have – catching what they can, scrabbling in the dirt and wresting a poor existence from the soil. [James Barnes, "Dieback: A Vision of Darkness," Earth First! 17, no. 8 (1997), 13.]
Par. 1, on ‘Warriors of the Rainbow” prophesy: Rogers attributed this prophesy to a Cree Indian woman, which is one possibility, but the origin of the prophesy is unclear; elsewhere it is attributed to the Hopi. For an early source on the rainbow warrior prophesy see William Willoya and Vinson Brown, Warriors of the Rainbow: Strange and Prophetic Indian Dreams(Healdsburg, California: Naturegraph, 1962), and the brief discussion of it in Arthur Dahl, "Brown, Vinson," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, and the way the myth was appropriated during the formative years of Greenpeace, in Robert Hunter,Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1979). The Wikipedia entry “Legend of the Rainbow Warriors” contains links to a variety of sources that discuss or appropriate the story; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Rainbow_Warriors .
Rogers also reproduced a poem by the self-described “yoga monk” and musician, Dada Nabhaniiananda, see “Warriors of the Rainbow,” in Rogers, ed., Mountains and Rivers, 44. Nabhaniiananda also produced a music CD by the title “Warriors of the Rainbow,” and probably the poem appeared with it. The poem included these words, “Warriors of the rainbow, create new Eden. . . the future lies within your hands.”.
Par. 1, on Roger’s ultimately utopian hope for a return to small scale, anarchistic communities, which he thought would resemble native American cultures little changed by modernity: Rogers recommended Ursula LeGuin’s novel, Always Coming Home (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001 ). For more on Native American prophesy of an environmentally apocalyptic nature see William M. Clements, "A Continual Beginning, and Then an Ending, and Then a Beginning Again: Hopi Apocalypticism in the New Age," Journal of the Southwest 46 (4): 643-60. 46, no. 4 (2004) and Sarah Pike, New Age and Neopagan Religions in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), esp. 148-49, and for an excellent thesis on religion and environmental Apocalypticism, see Globus, "Planet in Peril", whose work alerted me to the Clements article. Globus sees the ambivalence about environmental apocalypticism in that it involves species extinction but also likely the collapse of the destructive society precipitating such extinctions, so there are two apocalypses, one very negative, the other tragically positive.
Par. 3, on Rogers drawing on John Seed and Gary Snyder to cultivate perception: Rogers reprinted an essay by John Seed that was a critique of anthropocentrism, and expressed a clear Gaian Earth Spirituality, included Seed’s idea of becoming the rainforest defending himself. Interestingly, near the essays conclusion Seed quoted the former governor of California, Jerry Brown from a 1979 issue of the Friends of the Earth’s magazine, Not Man Apart 1979 (9/2), the title of which was taken from the Robinson Jeffers poem. Brown stated, “Protecting something as wide as this planet is still an abstraction for many. Yet I see the day in our lifetime that reverence for the natural systems – the oceans, the rain forests, the soil, the grasslands, and all other living things – will be so strong that no narrow ideology based upon politics or economics will overcome it.” Brown was known for having affinities with the counterculture and its spiritualities. He invited Gary Snyder to important cultural posts while the Governor of California Rogers, ed., Mountains and Rivers, 50-51, quoting Brown in Seed et al., Thinking Like a Mountain, 38-39.
On “rituals of inclusion”: E.g., in Rogers, ed., Mountains and Rivers, 24-25, many passages express empathy for non-human organisms facing an indifferent and voracious human race.
I first encountered the idea that religion often involves rituals of exclusion and inclusion that determine which human beings deserve moral consideration in the work of David Chidester, in "Rituals of Exclusion and the Jonestown Dead " Journal of the American Academy of Religion 56, no. 4 (1988), and in a different context, in Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996). Rituals of inclusion or exclusion also classify moral duties or indifference to non-human organisms, dynamics prevalent in dark green religion and of which many examples are provided in this book, although they are not always labeled as such – readers can note the patterns for themselves. For detailed descriptions of the religious and ritual dimensions of radical environmentalism see Taylor, "Diggers, Wolfs, Ents, Elves and Expanding Universes," Bron Taylor, "Earth and Nature-Based Spirituality (Part I): From Deep Ecology to Radical Environmentalism," Religion 31, no. 2 (2001), Bron Taylor, "Earth and Nature-Based Spirituality (Part II): From Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism to Scientific Paganism and the New Age," Religion 31, no. 3 (2001), Bron Taylor, "Earth First!'s Religious Radicalism," in Ecological Prospects: Scientific, Religious, and Aesthetic Perspectives, ed. Christopher Key Chapple (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1994), Bron Taylor, "Earthen Spirituality or Cultural Genocide: Radical Environmentalism's Appropriation of Native American Spirituality," Religion 17, no. 2 (1997), Bron Taylor, "Evoking the Ecological Self: Art as Resistance to the War on Nature," Peace Review 5, no. 2 (1993), Bron Taylor, "Resacralizing Earth: Pagan Environmentalism and the Restoration of Turtle Island," in American Sacred Space, ed. David Chidester and Edward T. Linenthal (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).The second article reprinted by Rogers, “The Ecology of Magic,” made more explicit Abram’s understanding of animism, which is particularly interesting because it coheres with perceptions increasingly articulated by ethnobiologists and anthropologists (especially specialists in ecological anthropology) and religion scholars.
Par. 3, on contemporary understandings of Animism: Graham Harvey, Animism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), Graham Harvey, "Animism—a Contemporary Perspective," in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature.Quote illustrating Abram’s claim that shamans were engaging the powers of nature: “That which is regarded with the greatest awe and wonder by indigenous, oral cultures is, I suggest, none other than what we view as nature itself. The deeply mysterious powers and beings with whom the shaman enters into a rapport are ultimately the same entities – the very same plants, animals, forests, and winds – that to literate, ‘civilized’ Europeans are just so much scenery.” [Quoted by Rogers, ed.,Mountains and Rivers, 90, originally in David Abram, "The Ecology of Magic," Orion (1991), 3, 93-96.]
Par. 1, for more on Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim: See the Forum on Religion and Ecology website at www.religionandecology.org , especially the “founders” link; see also Bron Taylor, "Religious Studies and Environmental Concern," in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John A. Grim, "The Emerging Alliance of World Religions and Ecology," Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 130, no. 4 (2001).For more on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry’s influence on Tucker and Grim, see Tucker’s summaries of their contributions to the religion and nature field in Mary Evelyn Tucker, "Teilhard De Chardin, Pierre," and "Berry, Thomas," inEncyclopedia of Religion and Nature. On the “universe story” and the “epic of evolution” these figures inspired, see Loyal Rue, "Epic of Evolution," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Loyal Rue, Everybody's Story: Wising up to the Epic of Evolution (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2000).
Par. 1, more on Charles Hurwitz, the Maxxam Corporation, and activist perception: “Sacred Redwood,” a radical environmentalist website, declared, “The forest does not belong to Charles Hurwitz or MAXXAM—it belongs to the ages. Ancient redwood trees do not belong on patio decks, they belong to the forest and to the species that inhabit them. They belong to our children and our children's future. The earth is sacred and precious, and we must do everything in our power to defend it.”.
Par. 5, more on Paul Watson’s background:For a brief biography, see Steven Best and Bron Taylor, "Watson, Paul – and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society," in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Rodney Coronado, an activist of Pascua Yaqui Indian ancestry, became one of Watson’s most effective operatives as a young man and later a major bridge figure between anarchist, radical environmental, and animal rights subcultures, serving over 5 years in prison for a variety of environment-related crimes. He was motivated especially by an animistic kinship ethic; for more about him see Bron Taylor, "Rod Coronado and the Animal Liberation Front," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, and the adjacent overview "Radical Environmentalism." Also now available is Dean Kuipers’s Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado's War to Save American Wilderness (Bloomsbury USA, 2009), which was released shortly before the publication of Dark Green Religion.
Par. 4, on Watson’s eye-to-eye story: This retelling was directed at the Norwegian public, whom Watson hoped to persuade to give up whaling; see Paul Watson, "An Open Letter to Norwegians," Sea Shepherd Log, no. First Quarter (1993), 5. Watson had a similar experience after risking his life to save a baby harp seal, recalling “Reluctantly, I left that little tyke. He looked up at me with wide, moist black eyes and I was touched by his incredible beauty and innocence. Things got kind of personal at that point. He was no longer just any seal. I knew him now, and he knew me. We were buddies who had met on a battlefield.” Watson, Seal Wars: Twenty-Five Years on the Front Lines with the Harp Seals, 78.The year after Watson’s own whale encounter, the writer Farley Mowat had similar experiences, which he recalled in the forward to Watson’s book; Watson, Ocean Warrior, vii-viii. For a similar story where a humpback whale was believed by its rescuers to express gratitude through eye-to-eye contact and other body language, after they freed it from nylon nets, see Peter Fimrite, "Whale Thanks Rescuers," San Fransisco Chronicle (online at www.sfgate.com), 14 December 2005. For more on the animistic subject of inter-species communication subject, see Dick Russell, Eye of the Whale (San Francisco: Island Press, 2004).
Par. 1, more references on the critics of radical environmentalism: Charles Cushman of the pro-development Multiple Use Land Alliance has argued that preservationists are promoting “a new pagan religion, worshipping trees and animals and sacrificing people,” and he sees environmental conflicts as “a holy war between fundamentally different religions” Michael Satchell, "Any Color but Green: A New Political Alliance Is Battling the Environmental Movement," U.S. News and World Report 111, no. 17 (1991), 76. Similarly, Alston Chase has criticized the “mindless pantheism” and “clandestine heresies” of these movements Alston Chase, Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America's First National Park (San Diego, CA: A Harvest/HBJ Book, 1986), 309, cf. especially ch. 16 & 18.
For scholary critics or analysis of them, see: Anna Bramwell, Blood and Soil: Walter Darré and Hitlers Green Party(Buckinghamshire, UK: Kensal, 1985) and Ecology in the 20th Century: A History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989); Michael E. Zimmerman, Contesting Earth's Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity, and "Ecofascism: Threat to American Environmentalism?," Social Theory and Practice 21, no. 2 (1995); Luc Ferry, The New Ecological Order (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1995). For a critique of Ferry, see John Clark, "The French Take on Environmentalism," Terra Nova 1, no. 1 (1996). For a judicious and brief introduction of such claims and rejoinders see Michael Zimmerman, "Ecofascism," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. For his part, Watson accepts that property destruction can be called “violence,” but he argues sabotage is necessary to thwart a much greater violence and to capture media attention: “To remain nonviolent totally is to allow the perpetuation of violence against people, animals, and the environment. The Catch-22 of it – the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t dilemma – is that, if we eschew violence for ourselves, we often thereby tacitly allow violence for others, who are then free to settle issues violently until they are resisted, necessarily with violence . . . sometimes, to dramatize a point so that effective steps may follow, it is necessary to perform a violent act. But such violence must never be directed against a living thing. Against property, yes. But never against a life.” [Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd: My Fight for Whales and Seals (New York: Norton, 1982), 26-27.] Not all radical environmentalists draw the line here, as I have shown.For a journalistic account of William Rogers and others, see Vanessa Grigoriadis, "The Rise and Fall of the Eco-Radical Underground," Rolling Stone 2006, and for one of the better novels about “ecoterrorists,” see John Case, The First Horseman (New York: Ballentine, 1998).