(Against) the Dark Mountain Project

3 05 2010

Last week the Guardian wrote a feature on the Dark Mountain Project. Their so-called “Uncivilization” manifesto is a “clarion call” to cynical environmentalists. According to its author, Paul Kingsnorth:

It has brought together people from all over the world, from varied backgrounds – writers, poets, illustrators, engineers, scientists, woodworkers, teachers, songwriters, farmers – all of whom are tied together by a shared vision. It is a vision that a few years back would have seemed heretical to many greens, but which is now gaining wide traction as the failure of humanity to respond to the crises it has created becomes increasingly obvious. Together we are able to say it loud and clear: we are not going to ‘save the planet’. The planet is not ours to save. The planet is not dying; but our civilisation might be, and neither green technology nor ethical shopping is going to prevent a serious crash.

Not a view that Greenopolis would ever endorse. For the DMP:

If civilisation is defined as electric cars, supermarkets, flush toilets, Wiis, 110% mortgages, gyms, missions to Mars, then I want no part in it.

Can’t imagine that too many others would sympathise with this survivalist “return to basics” approach. After all, the flush toilet was a fantastic invention. Sure, there needs to be a rethink about the way we view and use resources but not at the cost of human progress. Sustainability and material improvements for human kind as a whole – think medicines, food production and green industry, vehicles and housing – can and must be reconciled.

The last word belongs to enkergrene who made this critique of the DMP in the comments section:

I read their manifesto and found it to be full of pseudo-intellectual naval-gazing that only thinly veils a kind of moral cowardice. Fine for artists and others with the luxury to live in fantasy, I guess, but I’d be glad to keep the scientists and constructive people firmly rooted in the pro-progress camp.

Here, here!




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