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Deep Green Resistance

This will be at least a two-part review: so much is coming up. I turned to this “Strategy to Save the Planet” because I’m sick of the species extinction rate of… what? An estimated 200 daily, which could mean anything from 100 to 1,000 but the biggest crime in the Universe regardless. I need a strategy for the creatures that will die today and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Something that works because “protesting” doesn’t.

It’s such a relief to find in print the thoughts that I’ve been having. I was feeling I was alone in them, maybe a bit mad. But McBay, Jensen and Keith have reached similar conclusions. For instance I have recently been reciting the mantra that “sustainable development is an oxymoron”; indeed sustainable has become another greenwash word. So too for these guys.

All my adult life I have been a good recycler and low impact consumer, by Western standards. Goddammit, I even haven’t had children, which has slashed my eco footprint to a fraction. And to what end? On every count the planet is dying faster and faster. My choices have made no difference. The only consolation is that I didn’t waste time and effort in producing a generation doomed to die young, one way or another.

A further congruence is our take on civilisation (which seems to be anything but “civil”). History teaches us that it’s bound to fail; humanity hasn’t managed a single one that’s survived. Oh yes, this one’s global and more powerful but therein lies its Achilles Heel. There’s no escape from it and the power merely magnifies the potential fuck-up. In contrast Romans at the edge of their empire (like in Britain) could just melt into the local culture. And I bet they, and the Mayans, thought they were technologically advanced. They were too, but it didn’t save them.

So is this just a book for the converted? Not when it hits you with almost throwaway bombshells. One of these explodes at the start of the chapter about civilisation.

Did you know that the cod in your supermarket ain’t that at all? I’d always tried to square that circle of cod being endangered yet still on our shelves. True Atlantic cod – the stuff so bounteous that early explorers could almost walk across it – is Gadus morhua but two other species in the worldwide genus are also cod. Moreover, another dozen fish have the word cod in their name and so can be marketed as such. But get this: to mask the wholesale destruction of the species, the industry also calls a raft of other fish “cod” – even haddock and whiting.

I’m gobsmacked. There’s no linguistic depth to which industry will not sink.

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