Tag Archives: despair

Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal

30 May

Feeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action.

In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher attended a protest at a federal auction of drilling rights to Utah wilderness lands. He found a better way to disrupt the auction when he picked up a paddle and began bidding on the leases as “Bidder 70.” He won $1.8 million worth of parcels and inflated the price of many others. When it was discovered that he had no money to back his bids, the auction had to be shut down.

Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison for his actions, but his boldness stopped the sale of 22,000 acres of scenic wilderness and highlighted government misconduct. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar scrapped a rescheduled auction because the Bureau of Land Management had skimped on its environmental analysis and inadequately consulted with the National Park Service. In January 2013, a federal court denied an energy industry appeal to reinstate the leases. DeChristopher was released from prison in April. Photos by David Newkirk

Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? That’s hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial—pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss—there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish—and then get apocalyptic.

We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world. We are intensifying an assault on the ecosystems in which we live, undermining the ability of that living world to sustain a large-scale human presence into the future. When all the world darkens, looking on the bright side is not a virtue but a sign of irrationality. Continue reading