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‘I withdraw’: A talk with climate defeatist Paul Kingsnorth

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Ever think, even for a moment, that the job is just too large? That we are so far from making the necessary changes with so little time to make them? That in the end, we probably aren’t going to manage it?

Paul Kingsnorth, a lifetime environmentalist, feels that way. And he has given up all hope on the prospect of sustaining civilization as it currently exists. In fact, the sooner the end comes the better (for the planet at least). This may be depressing stuff indeed but this article is really worth a read. At the very least, it is provocative and challenges us to think hard about what it is exactly we are trying to sustain when we talk about sustainability.

Here’s an excerpt:

These are precarious and unprecedented times … Little that we have taken for granted is likely to come through this century intact.

We don’t believe that anyone — not politicians, not economists, not environmentalists, not writers — is really facing up to the scale of this … Somehow, technology or political agreements or ethical shopping or mass protest are meant to save our civilization from self-destruction.

Well, we don’t buy it. This project starts with our sense that civilization as we have known it is coming to an end; brought down by a rapidly changing climate, a cancerous economic system and the ongoing mass destruction of the non-human world. But it is driven by our belief that this age of collapse — which is already beginning — could also offer a new start, if we are careful in our choices.

The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.

‘I withdraw’: A talk with climate defeatist Paul Kingsnorth | Grist.

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