In this impassioned polemic, radical environmental philosopher Derrick Jensen debunks the near-universal belief in a hierarchy of nature and the superiority of humans. Vast and underappreciated complexities of nonhuman life are explored in detail—from the cultures of pigs and prairie dogs, to the creative use of tools by elephants and fish, to the acumen of caterpillars and fungi. The paralysis of the scientific establishment on moral and ethical issues is confronted and a radical new framework for assessing the intelligence and sentience of nonhuman life is put forth.
Jensen attacks mainstream environmental journalism, which too often limits discussions to how ecological changes affect humans or the economy—with little or no regard for nonhuman life. With his signature compassionate logic, he argues that when we separate ourselves from the rest of nature, we in fact orient ourselves against nature, taking an unjust and, in the long run, impossible position.
Jensen expresses profound disdain for the human industrial complex and its ecological excesses, contending that it is based on the systematic exploitation of the earth. Page by page, Jensen, who has been called the philosopher-poet of the environmental movement, demonstrates his deep appreciation of the natural world in all its intimacy, and sounds an urgent call for its liberation from human domination.
The annual conference Earth at Risk: Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet features environmental thinkers and activists who are willing to ask the hardest questions about the seriousness of the planet’s situation, and this book presents an impassioned critique of the dominant culture from every angle. Speakers from the conference are featured in this volume and include William Catton, who explains ecological overshoot; Thomas Linzey, who gives a fiery call for community sovereignty; Jane Caputi, who exposes patriarchy’s mythic dismemberment of the goddess; Aric McBay, who discusses historically effective resistance strategies; and Stephanie McMillan, who takes down capitalism. One by one, they build an unassailable case that the rich should be deprived of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. These speakers offer their ideas on what can be done to build a real resistance movement: one that includes all levels of direct action that can actually match the scale of the problem. Also included are the speakers Derrick Jensen, Arundhati Roy, Rikki Ott, Gail Dines, Waziyatawin, Lierre Keith, and Nora Barrows-Friedman
A French translation is also available: Ecologie en résistance : stratégies pour une terre en péril
The six women of the Knitting Circle meet every week to talk, eat cake, and make fabulous sweaters. Until the night they realize that they’ve all survived rape and that not one of their assailants has suffered a single consequence. Enough is enough. The Knitting Circle declares open season on rapists, with no licenses and no bag limits. With needles as their weapons, the revolution begins.
Earth at Risk: Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet, a conference convened by Derrick Jensen, featured thinkers and activists who are willing to ask the hardest questions about the seriousness of our situation. Each of the people on this DVD presents an impassioned critique of the dominant culture. Together they build an unassailable case that we need to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor, and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. They offer their ideas on what can be done to build a real resistance movement–one that can actually match the scale of the problem.
In an age marked by seemingly unstoppable environmental collapse and the urgent quest for solutions, environmental philosopher Derrick Jensen, the voice of the growing deep ecology movement, reveals for us new seeds of hope. Here for the first time in The Derrick Jensen Reader are collected generous selections from his prescient, unflinching books on the problem of civilization and the path to true resistance.
From acclaimed author Derrick Jensen comes a prescient, thought-provoking collection of interviews with 10 leading writers, philosophers, teachers, and activists who argue against society’s belief that corporations and governments know what is best for the future, instead choosing to help acknowledge the values we know in our hearts are right—and inspire within us the courage to act on them. Among those who share their wisdom here are acclaimed sociologist Stanley Aronowitz, who shows that science is but one lens for discovering knowledge; Luis Rodriguez, poet and peacemaker, who suggests embracing gang members as people instead of stereotypes; Judith Herman, who offers a deeper understanding of the psychology of abusers; Paul Stamets, who reveals the power of fungi that is often ignored; and writer Richard Drinnon, who reminds us that our spiritual paths need not be narrowed by the limiting mythologies of Western civilization. Reaching toward a common goal of harmony with the world surrounding us all, these diverse voices articulate different yet shared visions of activism.
Jensen’s furthest-reaching book yet, Dreams challenges the “destructive nihilism” of writers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris who believe that there is no reality outside what can be measured using the tools of science. He introduces the mythologies of ancient cultures and modern indigenous peoples as evidence of alternative ways of understanding reality, informed by thinkers such as American Indian writer Jack Forbes, theologian and American Indian rights activist Vine Deloria, Shaman Martin Prechtel, Dakota activist and scholar Waziyatawin, and Okanagan Indian writer Jeannette Armstrong. He draws on the wisdom of Dr. Paul Staments, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, sociologist Stanley Aronowitz, who discusses science’s lack of accountability to the earth, and many more. As in his other books, Jensen draws heavily from his own life experience living alongside the frogs, redwoods, snails, birds and bears of the upper northwest, about which he writes with exquisite tenderness.
For years, Derrick Jensen has asked his audiences, “Do you think this culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of life?” No one ever says yes.
Deep Green Resistance starts where the environmental movement leaves off: industrial civilization is incompatible with life. Technology can’t fix it, and shopping—no matter how green—won’t stop it. To save this planet, we need a serious resistance movement that can bring down the industrial economy. Deep Green Resistance evaluates strategic options for resistance, from nonviolence to guerrilla warfare, and the conditions required for those options to be successful. It provides an exploration of organizational structures, recruitment, security, and target selection for both aboveground and underground action. Deep Green Resistance also discusses a culture of resistance and the crucial support role that it can play.
Deep Green Resistance is a plan of action for anyone determined to fight for this planet—and win.
Learn about the Deep Green Resistance organization inspired by the book.
Old Mrs. Johnson lives alone in the forest and loves to knit sweaters and mittens for her grandchildren in the city. One day, when returning from a visit to the city, her solitude comes to an end when her mischievous forest neighbors reveal themselves in a delightfully colorful fashion — someone took her yarn. The colorful mystery is solved when the birds, rabbits, snakes, trees, and other dwellers of Mrs. Johnson’s neighborhood are seen playing with the yarn. Suddenly the forest doesn’t seem so lonely, and the visiting grandkids take great delight getting to know its inhabitants. This picture book is a lesson for both young and old to connect with one’s surroundings and embrace the role of good neighbors with the rest of the natural world, whether in the city or in the forest.
A scathing indictment of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, this collection of interviews gathers incendiary insights from 10 of today’s most experienced and knowledgeable activists. Whether it’s Ramsey Clark describing the long history of military invasion, Alfred McCoy detailing the relationship between CIA activities and the increase in the global heroin trade, Stephen Schwartz reporting the obscene costs of nuclear armaments, or Katharine Albrecht tracing the horrors of the modern surveillance state, this investigation of global governance is sure to inform, engage, and incite readers.
Putting corporate disregard for ecology on trial, this novel follows Vexcorp, a wealthy corporation that, at a safe distance, counts both the lives of others and the health of the environment as expenses on a balance sheet—but that distance is about to collapse. Malia is an activist who has lost faith in systemic reform, and Dujuan is a street thug torn by grief at his younger sister’s death. When Dujuan mugs Malia, she compares him to Vexcorp, triggering a storm inside him. That storm only clears when he identifies the real agent of his pain: Larry Gordon, Vexcorp’s CEO. Injury requires justice, so Dujuan kidnaps Gordon and presents him to Malia for judgment. As bystanders become involved and time runs out, Malia is forced to make grueling moral decisions between survival and loyalty, safety and courage, and agency and despair.
A serial killer stalks the streets of Spokane, acting out a misogynist script from the dark heart of this culture. Across town, a writer named Derrick has spent his life tracking the reasons—political, psychological, spiritual—for the sadism of modern civilization. And through the grim nights, Nika, a trafficked woman, tries to survive the grinding violence of prostitution. Their lives, and the forces propelling them, are about to collide. And what hangs in the balance is the fate of life on earth. With Songs of the Dead, Derrick Jensen has written more than a thriller. This is a story lush with rage and tenderness on its way to being a weapon.
What We Leave Behind is a piercing, impassioned guide to living a truly responsible life on earth. Human waste, once considered a gift to the soil, has become toxic material that has broken the essential cycle of decay and regeneration. Here, award-winning author Derrick Jensen and activist Aric McBay weave historical analysis and devastatingly beautiful prose to remind us that life—human and nonhuman—will not go on unless we do everything we can to facilitate the most basic process on earth, the root of sustainability: one being’s waste must always become another being’s food.
Listen to a short audio excerpt of the chapter “Legacy”. (2 MB mp3)
Derrick Jensen discusses the destructive dominant culture with ten people who have devoted their lives to undermining it in this collection of interviews.
Whether it is Carolyn Raffensperger and her radical approach to public health, or Thomas Berry on perceiving the sacred; be it Kathleen Dean Moore reminding us that our bodies are made of mountains, rivers, and sunlight; or Vine Deloria asserting that our dreams tell us more about the world than science ever can, the activists and philosophers interviewed in How Shall I Live My Life? each bravely present a few of the endless forms that resistance can and must take.
Examining the premises of his latest controversial work, Endgame, as well as core elements of his ground breaking book Culture of Make Believe, this two hour lecture and discussion offers both a perfect introduction for newcomers and additional insight for those already familiar with Derrick Jensen’s work.
Whether exposing the ravages of industrial civilization, relaying humorous anecdotes from his life, or bravely presenting a few of the endless forms that resistance can (and must) take, Jensen leaves his audience both engaged and enraged.
Two of America’s most talented activists team up to deliver a bold and hilarious satire of modern environmental policy in this fully illustrated graphic novel. The US government gives robot machines from space permission to eat the earth in exchange for bricks of gold. A one-eyed bunny rescues his friends from a corporate animal testing laboratory. And two little girls figure out the secret to saving the world from both of its enemies (and it isn’t by using energy-efficient light bulbs or biodiesel fuel). As the World Burns will inspire you to do whatever it takes to stop ecocide before it’s too late.
Derrick Jensen, activist, author, and philosopher, is the author of Endgame, volumes one and two; A Language Older Than Words; and The Culture of Make Believe (a finalist for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize), among other books. Jensen’s writing has been described as “breaking and mending the reader’s heart” (Publishers Weekly).
Activist and artist Stephanie McMillan began syndicating her daring political cartoons in 1999. Since then her work has appeared in dozens of publications and has been exhibited in museums across the country. A book based on her comic strip, Minimum Security, was published in 2005.
“A zoo is a nightmare taking shape in concrete and steel, iron and glass, moats and electrified fences. It is a nightmare that for its victims has no end save death…”
No Voice Unheard is proud to present its next title, another unique, beautiful, and powerful voice on behalf of the animals – those captive in zoos. Thought to Exist in the Wild is a passionate and unflinching examination of zoos in our society.
Combining elegant, stunning photos with a deep and probing essay, this book presents a critical look at these institutions, the individual animals who live in them, and, of oursevles. (Read an extract from the book here.)
Author Derrick Jensen , is a well known and respected environmental writer and activist with nine award-winning books to his credit. Photographer Karen Tweedy-Holmes, also brings impressive credentials to the project, including photography for National Geographic magazine. (See more information on the author and photographer here.)
Hailed as the philosopher poet of the ecological movement, best-selling author Derrick Jensen returns with a passionate forecast of how industrial civilization, and the persistent and widespread violence it requires, is unsustainable. Jensen’s intricate weaving together of history, philosophy, environmentalism, economics, literature and psychology has produced a powerful argument that demands attention in the tradition of such important books as Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization and Brigid Brophy’s Black Ship to Hell.
In Volume I: The Problem of Civilization, Jensen lays out a series of provocative premises, including “Civilization is not and can never be sustainable” and “Love does not imply pacifism.” He vividly imagines an end to technologized, industrialized civilization and a return to agragrian communal life.
If Volume I lays insightful framework for envisioning a sustainable way of life, Volume II: Resistance catapults this discussion into a passionate call for action. Using his premises as guidelines for exploring real-world problems, Jensen guides us toward concrete solutions by focusing on our most primal human desire: to live on a healthy earth overflowing with uncut forests, clean rivers, and thriving oceans that are not under the constant threat of being destroyed.
Take the humanity, the unpredictable humans, out of the never-ending loop. Move toward a fully automated world. Welcome to the machine.
From biometric passports to identity chips in consumer goods, from nanoparticle weapons to body-enhancing and mind-altering drugs for soldiers, Welcome to the Machine shows how we are all trading our humanity for a place at the consumer table.
Award-winning authors Derrick Jensen and George Draffan reveal the modern culture of the machine, where corporate might makes technology right, government money feeds the greed for mad science, and absolute surveillance leads to absolute control and corruption. Through meticulous research and fiercely personal narrative, Jensen and Draffan move beyond journalism and exposÈ to question our civilization’s very mode of existence. Welcome to the Machine defies our willingness to submit to the institutions and technologies built to rob us of all that makes us human: our connection to the land, our kinship with one another, our place in the living world.
Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?
Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom — whether University or maximum security prison — where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools are central to perpetuating the great illusion of our culture, that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us all into life-long clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.
This is Jensen’s great gift as a teacher and writer, to bring us fully alive at the same moment he is making us confront our losses and count our defeats. It is at the center of Walking on Water, a book that is not only a hard-hitting and sometimes scathing critique of our current educational system; not only a hands-on method for learning how to write; but, like Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, a lesson on how to connect to the core of our creative selves, to the miracle of waking up and arriving breathless (but with dry feet) on the far shore.
Derrick Jensen is the prize-winning author of A Language Older than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Listening to the Land, Railroads and Clearcuts, and most recently, Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests. He was one of two finalists for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, which cited The Culture of Make Believe as “a passionate and provocative meditation on the nexus of racism, genocide, environmental destruction and corporate malfeasance, where civilization meets its discontents.” He lives on the coast of northern California.
Derrick Jensen and George Draffan’s exciting new book, Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests, was released in October 2003 in North America from Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
This book, which features a preface by the internationally renowned environmentalist Vandana Shiva, exposes the destructive impact of industrial forestry and the escalating global war on trees.
In this short, hard-hitting expose, the authors detail the activities of an industrial forestry system increasingly globalized, operating outside of any local or even national controls, and now threatening the basic life support systems of the planet itself.
The book is certain to have global implications and to appeal to readers internationally who are concerned about unchecked corporate power and the fate of the planet.
Here is just some of the advance praise for the book:
“Thank you, Jensen and Draffan. You awaken our hearts and our commonsense at the same time. You help us see the massive destruction of life built into the dominant, now globalizing, belief system.Your passion and your hard, cruel facts give us courage to imagine another possibility and to act.” Francis Moore Lappe, co-author, Hope’s Edge:The Next Diet for a Small Planet
“Strangely Like War is must reading for anyone in the least concerned with either the fate of future generations or, indeed, the planet itself. The kind of scholarship and intelligence displayed by Draffan and Jensen demands both integrity and courage. All of us owe them a debt of gratitude for their work.” Ward Churchill, aurthor of Struggle for the Land
Derrick Jensen takes no prisoners in The Culture of Make Believe, his brilliant and eagerly awaited follow-up to his powerful and lyrical A Language Older Than Words. What begins as an exploration of the lines of thought and experience that run between the massive lynchings in early twentieth-century America to today’s death squads in South America soon explodes into an examination of the very heart of our civilization. Readers of Jensen’s earlier work will recognize his deft and startling interweaving of the deeply personal, the political, the historical, and the philosophical, as he attempts to understand the atrocities that characterize so much of our culture, from the 8,000 dead at Bhopal to the more than twenty million people enslaved today (more than came over on the dreaded Middle Passage), to the destruction of the natural world. The book makes clear that it is only through understanding these atrocities, and by feeling the sorrow and despair caused by them, then moving through that despair, that we will be able to make significant movement toward halting them. With The Culture of Make Believe, Jensen has written a book that is as impeccably researched as it is moving, with conclusions as far-reaching as they are shocking. After A Language Older Than Words, readers began calling Jensen the philosopher poet of the deep ecological movement. This new book, The Culture of Make Believe, will introduce a new wave of readers to this important writer and thinker.
“Derrick Jensen is a man driven to stare without flinching at the baleful design of our culture, which encourages us to honor those who wreak the most havoc on the world (and on human lives) and to scorn those who protest against the havoc as opponents of decency and good order. In fact, The Culture of Make Believe so explicitly reveals the intimacy between the murder of the world and “decency and good order” that I’m surprised any author would dare write it and any publisher would dare bring it to print. His analysis of our culture’s predilection for hatred and destruction will rattle your bones.” Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael
“Derrick Jensen tears our illusions from us with his shocking yet graceful prose. It might numb us, but no. The Culture of Make Believe is a masterpiece. It stirs us with the excitement of being in a truer world, being our truer selves. Derrick Jensen is a public intellectual who who both breaks and mends the reader’s heart.” Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet For A Small Planet
“Derrick Jensen is your basic human being, and he sees the world in the basic way all human beings should, but do not. The planet Earth is alive, period. Human beings are one of many living populations on the living Earth, period. Armed with a heart-stopping language older than words, Jensen is a mathematician, a comedian, a fierce critic of decent white male human history and its complex web of racism, sexism, hate; its greed and wanton disregard for life. Read this book. Get it for everyone you care about. Jensen’s words are often difficult, but no one ever said facing the past and present of our culture would be a goddamn moonlit stroll down Memory Lane.” Inga Muscio, author of Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
At once a beautifully poetic memoir and an exploration of the various ways we live in the world, A Language Older than Words explains violence as a pathology that touches every aspect of our lives, and indeed affects all aspects of life on earth. This chronicle of a young man’s drive to transcend domestic abuse offers a challenging look at our worldwide sense of community, and how we can make things better.
This narrative moves elegantly between the microcosm of the author’s dysfunctional family and the macrocosm of History. Readers are initiated into the stifling world of child and sp/aousal abuse, and then beyond, where Jensen finds the same dynamics tricked out on the grand stage of Western civilization. The prose is as lyrical and cogent as it is convincing.
Jensen’s vast experiences as an environmentalist, high-jumper, student, teacher, beekeeper, and most importantly, as a human being give rise to the wealth of examples and anecdotes that further illustrate this cry for community. The masterful intertwining of all these elements elevates A Language Older than Words above and beyond an engrossing book, giving readers what might even be described as a curative outlook on life.
“Singular, compelling and courageously honest, this book is more than just a poignant memoir of a harrowingly abusive childhood. It relates the extraordinary journey of one man striving to save his own spirit and our planet’s…His visceral, biting observations always manage to lead back to his mantra: “Things don’t have to be the way they are.” Jensen’s book accomplishes the rare feat of both breaking and mending the reader’s heart.” Publishers Weekly
“Among the ambiguities of our time, this memoir stands out for its honesty and purpose… a map to personal healing through the larger historical, economic, cosmological—and mostly mysterious—processes that are source and balm for our traumas…this book shows that when we are fully engage with the world around us, the universe is our greatest ally.” Luis Rodriguez, author of Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A
“When you daily look into the blackened eyes and broken spirits of women who’ve been beaten by men who “love” them, every fiber in your being screams out, “How could this happen, who could do this, what will it take to stop it?” Derrick Jensen masterfully weaves together ancient wisdom, curiosity, the innocence and courage of a child to profoundly answer these questions. If you’re not moved to tears and action, wake up and read it again. Charlotte A. Watson, Executive Director of My Sisters’ Place, Inc.
Listening to the Land is a collection of interviews with environmentalists, feminists, theologians, philosophers, and Indians centering around the question: If the destruction of the natural world isn’t making us happy, why are we doing it?”
Railroads and Clearcuts reveals how the big four timber companies in the Pacific Northwest got their land illegally from the public domain.
This new triple CD contains one CD of Derrick’s final Language Older Than Words talk, one CD of his Culture of Make Believe talk, and one of Q and A.
A typical Jensen event is multidimensional and feels a bit like traveling beneath the earth among tree roots, as they twist their way into soil, rock, river beds and accompany fish, insects, discarded tires, cellophane wrappers, animal minds, history, and human instinct on strange and interlocking journey.
Speaking in an almost improvisational style, Jensen explores the nature of injustice, of what civilizations do to the natural world and how, in the face of the resulting horror that is one of the all too apparent consequences of grave injustice, civilized human beings create intricate systems of denial, silence, abnegation, deception and self-hatred to keep it at bay.
He also reaches back to our collective childhoods, to the reality of magic in life, to discuss how nature has spoken to us and to how we must remember all the conversations we’ve had with her and renew them. It’s his antidote to cynicism and apocalypse. That there is a language much older than the lying language we use daily, without being aware, to dispel the horrors of modern living and dying.
If there is a connection between Tiger Woods, newspaper journalism, the bad moods of trees, child abuse, amnesia, school, language, and salmon, Jensen finds those connections in a most personal way and exploits them so that the listener can actually experience the intricacies of Jensen’s point of view.
It is indeed a heart rending, mind expanding, and ultimately healing exercise to explore Jensen’s root system, with him not so much as a guide, but an experienced fellow traveler.
$10.00, autographed, and postpaid.
One CD is essentially the talk I gave on the Language Older Than Words tour, and the other CD is a “best of” Q and A.