By Michael Berry
Activist turned skeptic Paul Kingsnorth no longer believes technology can save humanity from "ecocide."
Through 19 essays in Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist (Graywolf Press, 2017), Kingsnorth argues that it is time to abandon the notion of sustainability, "an entirely human-centered piece of politicking, disguised as concern for 'the planet.'"
Instead, he advocates for "dark ecology," a philosophy that insists on the nonsuperiority of humanity, emphasizes the need to preserve nonhuman life, and urges withdrawal from the political fray. For Kingsnorth, that meant moving his family from England to rural County Galway, Ireland, where he could build compost toilets, learn to cut grass with a scythe, and plant 500 small trees.
Author of the Man Booker long-listed novel The Wake, Kingsnorth believes we need a new kind of storytelling to reconnect humanity with the natural world. Versed in both art and science, he uses an engaging prose style to link disparate topics, from cave paintings to the space race, from the poetry of Charles Bukowski to the Norman Conquest. He's candid about the ironies in using fossil fuel vehicles to plant his low-impact trees. "It turns out that living a simpler life can be quite complicated."
Although he writes about feeling despair, grief and loss in the face of climate change, Kingsnorth says he has not given up hope—only what he perceives as false hope. "Together, we shall find the hope beyond hope, the paths that lead to the unknown world ahead of us."
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA.
By Robin Scher
Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
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By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
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