The environmental movement which started out working to sustain nature at large has ended up campaigning to sustain industrial civilisation instead, writes Paul Kingsnorth.
For many years, I called myself an 'environmentalist'. I don't use the word anymore, though the things that motivated me to do so are still important to me - perhaps more than they ever were.
I became an environmentalist because of a strong emotional reaction to wild places and to natural beauty. From that reaction came a feeling, which became a series of thoughts: that such things are precious for their own sake; that they are food for the human soul; that they need people to speak for them to, and defend them from, other people because they cannot speak our language and we have forgotten how to speak theirs; and because we are killing them to feed ourselves and we care about it, sometimes, but we do it anyway because we are hungry, or we have persuaded ourselves that we are.
These are not very common sentiments within the mainstream of the green movement today. Today's environmentalism is as much a victim of the contemporary cult of utility as every other aspect of our lives, from science to education. You won't hear many greens today talking about their emotional reactions to the wild world. Instead, you'll hear them promoting something called 'sustainability'.
We hear this curious, plastic word everywhere. But what does it mean? It does not mean what it ought to: defending the non-human world from the ever-expanding empire of industrial humanity. Instead, it has come to mean sustaining human civilisation at the comfort level which the world's rich people - us - feel is their right, without destroying the 'natural capital' or the 'resource base' which is needed to do so.
A strange confusion has come about. A movement which started out working to sustain nature at large, in the face of human attacks upon it, has ended up campaigning to sustain industrial civilisation instead...
more > Why sustainability is bad for the environment - The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)