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New York Times Magazine has a feature on a guy named Paul Kingsnorth who used to be a very motivated tree-hugger, but of late has taken a turn towards ambivalent resignation and acceptance that the game is over, and we have lost it:

"Everything had gotten worse," Kingsnorth said. "You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years, and every single thing had gotten worse. And I thought: I can't do this anymore. I can't sit here saying: `Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we'll save the world!' I don't believe it. I don't believe it! So what do I do?" <...>

"I had a lot of friends who were writing about climate change and doing a lot of good work on it," he told me during a break from his festival duties. "I was just listening and looking at the facts and thinking: Wow, we are really screwed here. We are not going to stop this from happening." <...>

Hine compared coming to terms with the scope of ecological loss to coming to terms with a terminal illness. <...>

"Whenever I hear the word `hope' these days, I reach for my whiskey bottle," [Kingsnorth] told an interviewer in 2012. "It seems to me to be such a futile thing. What does it mean? What are we hoping for? And why are we reduced to something so desperate? Surely we only hope when we are powerless?" <...>

For Kingsnorth, the notion that technology will stave off the most catastrophic effects of global warming is not just wrong, it's repellent -- a distortion of the proper relationship between humans and the natural world and evidence that in the throes of crisis, many environmentalists have abandoned the principle that "nature has some intrinsic, inherent value beyond the instrumental." If we lose sight of that ideal in the name of saving civilization, he argues, if we allow ourselves to erect wind farms on every mountain and solar arrays in every desert, we will be accepting a Faustian bargain.

It's the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine

and yet...

Yet Kingsnorth has never intended to retreat altogether. For the past three years, he has spent a good portion of his time trying to stop a large supermarket from being built in Ulverston, in northern England. "Why do I do this," he wrote to me in an email, anticipating my questions, "when I know that in a national context another supermarket will make no difference at all, and when I know that I can't stop the trend caused by the destruction of the local economy, and when I know we probably won't win anyway?" He does it, he said, because his sense of what is valuable and good recoils at all that supermarket chains represent. "I'm increasingly attracted by the idea that there can be at least small pockets where life and character and beauty and meaning continue. If I could help protect one of those from destruction, maybe that would be enough. Maybe it would be more than most people do." <...>

... he insists that he isn't opposed to political action, mass or otherwise, and that his indignations about environmental decline and industrial capitalism are, if anything, stronger than ever. ...



Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat Apr 19th, 2014 at 11:15:14 PM EST

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