I can understand why he has rejected the 21st century rhetoric of environmentalism. Environmentalism focussed too heavily on climate change, and then built up a huge myth of sustainability economics, which was reduced by the usual Global Human Economic Machine to aim for nothing more than maintaining and increasing the standard of living to which individuals had become accustomed.
Climate change environmentalism destroyed the focus of environmentalism on protection of wildernesses, wild animals, plants. insects, birds, fish , trees, fungi and all living things, most of which were as yet unknown to scientists. Instead the Global Human Economic Machine just rolled on, its juggernaut bulldozing, weedkilling, genetically modifying, depleting and supplanting whatever wild habitats were left on sea and land. While forests burned in Indonesia, Borneo, the Amazon and the Congo, environmentalists got stuck on climate change economics, the counting of greenhouse gas emissions of industrial conglomerates and domestic pedestrians. Siberian forests were raped, Albertan wilderness was scraped clean for tar sands oil and the Australian outback was stripped for iron ore and every mineral that China, India and Brazil needed to become the equals of the USA and Europe. Oceans were sieved by industrial trawlers for their fish, and even as the ice melted at the Poles, the once pristine marine habitats there were claimed by commercial fisheries.
What use is environmentalism if it does not save Nature, let alone restore it? What use was environmentalism when it became like Inspector Clouseau, sent on a wild goose chase while the looters and thieves get away with the murder of Mother Nature?
So it was that while interest faded in Global Warming, even after it was renamed to Climate Change, Paul Kingsnorth was one of the first standard environmental journalists to notice that they were wasting their efforts while Global Ecocide thrived. He withdrew from the fight. He went to the Dark Mountain Project.
Compare this to George Monbiot, another standard environmentalist, whose every beep is based on Climate Change, greenhouse gases, and plain old-fashioned lefty socialism. The man never takes an interest in wilderness, or whales, pandas, or nearly extinct tigers, while he can rant endlessly about the superiority of nuclear power as an energy solution that is free of fossil fuels. Yesterday, he was so disappointed in the newsworthiness of record Arctic Ice sea melt this year, that he announced August 28 was the day the world went mad. That is just ridiculous, because everybody knows that humanity has been mad for years, decades, centuries and millenia. He just can't accept that climate change environmentalism has lost ALL public appeal.
So back to the question, what is Uncivlisation, the Dark Mountain Project, and Paul Kingsnorth's retreat? Its Manifesto explains that civilisation in itself destroys Nature, and Mankind becomes so comfortable with civilisation that it becomes blind to the vulnerability of both its civilisation and the ecosystem on which it depends. Logically, then, it become morally essential to create an alternative to civilisation. Note that there is care taken not to attempt to destroy civilisation, since without any alternative, it will destroy itself. This alternative to civilisation is uncivlisation, and it declares
the eight principles of uncivilisation
‘We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’
- We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
- We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
- We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
- We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
- Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
- We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
- We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
- The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.
Okay, Number 1 has probably been true many times in history. So meaningless drivel there.
Number 2 is about rejection of faith in civilization. Painfully obvious.
Number 3 reduces uncivilisation to the realm of story-telling. Why stop there? I can think of many people who can inspire many more ways of being uncivilised.
Number 4 is about creating their own world in stories. Is that all?
Number 5 explains that Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet, and this will be explored through ART. Why not just explore this through LIFE, and not just ART?
Number 6 celebrates writing and art, while ignoring everything else that they consume, i.e. that they cannot produce anything that they consume.
Number 7 Silly.
Number 8 Some message of hope for the sort of people who have to believe that the World is always coming to an End.
Sorry, this is the most rubbish set of 8 principles you could ever set down to lay a basis for Uncivilisation. I cannot understand why Paul Kingsnorth is wasting any time on this. It is the poorest form of escape and a very immoral method of creating Uncivilisation. These people should be running around naked and shitting in the street if they want to inject uncivilisation into the world. The Dark Mountain Project to me is nothing more than another Rubbish Landfill.