Tag Archives: Civilization

How Technology has Stopped Evolution and is Destroying the World

3 Aug

Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face, on battles with Steve Jobs and why we need to dismantle our techno-industrial society

by Jo Confino / The Guardian

Doug Tompkins, founder of North Face and Esprit, has been instrumental in creating two huge nature reserves in Patagonia. Photograph: Aaron Black/Getty Images

Doug Tompkins, founder of North Face and Esprit, has been instrumental in creating two huge nature reserves in Patagonia. Photograph: Aaron Black/Getty Images

It has become something of a mantra within the sustainability movement that innovations in technology can save the world. But rather than liberating us, Doug Tompkins, the cofounder of retail brands The North Face and Esprit, believes technology has enslaved us and is destroying the very health of the planet on which all species depend.

Tompkins, 70 has used his enormous wealth from selling both companies to preserve more land than any other individual in history, spending more than £200m buying over two million acres of wilderness in Argentina and Chile.

He challenges the view that technology is extending democracy, arguing that it is concentrating even more power in the hands of a tiny elite. What troubles him the most is that the very social and environmental movements that should be challenging the destructive nature of mega-technologies, have instead fallen under their spell.

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Love and Revenge: Sperm Whales Adopt Disabled Dolphin

4 Feb

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

It was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye! it was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day. Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out. –Captain Ahab– from Moby Dick

illustration by becka rankin

illustration by becka rankin

Spoiler alert, Moby Dick, the human devouring sperm whale of Herman Melville’s epic whaling novel of the same name, kills Captain Ahab—that ole son-of-a-barnacle’s-taint—and to the great relief of many a hunted sea beast. As a character, Ahab truly was a fine example of a dastardly whaler and neither Greenpeace nor Sea Shephard could be written to have given him his just deserts as well as our cetacean comrade.  In the text, Moby Dick is both hero and antagonist and a truly enigmatic literary metaphor for the savagery of both nature and civilization, for revenge, madness, greed, god, the soul and justice, but never love.

But what shall ye make of the knowledge, Mr. Mellville, of sperm whales as loving adoptive parents who were recently sighted crossing the species boundary to care for a disabled dolphin?

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Catastrophism and Resurgence

17 Jan

by Sasha Ross

Charlton Heston heralds the end of ideology in the film "Omega Man"

Charlton Heston, an Ubermensch mix of lefty liberationist and right-wing macho-apocalyptarian, heralds the collapse and the end of ideology in the 1971 film “Omega Man”

The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth

Check out the book at PM Press here.

Check out the book at PM Press here.

A collection of essays by leading radical commentators Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis, Catastrophism (PM Press 2012) is nothing less than a problematization of the ends of ideology. Throwing into critical light the deployment of right, left, and ecological ideologies, Catastrophism challenges the usage and efficacy of political narratives. Here we have analyses of the left wing critique of political economy (Lilley), the right wing critique of social degeneration (Davis), and the ecological heralding of the “great collapse” (Yuen).
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Beautiful Justice: Prayers for Roadkill

16 Jan

Cross posted from Deep Green Resistance News Service

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

I don’t know how this opossum died. There were no predator marks on thImage by Colin Purringtone body, and the middle of a highly frequented trail seems a peculiar place to make a death bed. Something forced this situation. Maybe it’s the poisons put on lawns, or the fact that this half-acre of trees is surrounded on all sides by cars and roads and houses. Opossums are indigenous to this land and under assault as surely as indigenous human cultures are. In the native Powhatan language, opossum is derived from the word apasum, which means “white animal.” They’ve long been the largest population of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere. But now, civilization encroaches upon the homes of all nonhumans, and opossums, despite adapting as scavengers, now struggle against a massive decrease in food and habitat.

The opossum deserved more. The passing of life into death deserves a deep respect and commemoration. There’s nothing so humbling. This is what is missing in the dominant culture, and what we all need to learn once again. If I could go back in time, and if I had the words, this is what I wish I had said. Continue reading