Tell us a bit about yourself. (You don't have to share anything you don't want to, but please write something here, so we know you're not a spam robot.)
I'm a freelance writer, editor and project manager. I work mainly in the community sector and mainly from home, which right now is in a particularly lovely part of the New Zealand countryside. When not writing or working I love to read, bake, walk, talk, eat, practice yoga and think about things.
What drew you to the Dark Mountain Project?
The more closely I have observed the trajectory of our global civilisation in recent years - our society, economy, industry, politics, technology and culture - the more cynical I have become about our collective prospects.
As our global population and consumption continues to spiral, the over-extension of our ecosystem appears all but inevitable. Even without the worst case scenarios, and even allowing for the development of some wonderful new technologies that can 'solve' some of our current problems, environmental degradation and resource depletion seem bound to increase, bringing conflict and suffering on a vast new scale. Yet despite the overwhelming case against continuing with 'business as usual', our governments and institutions of all kinds continue to push the growth agenda - or are complicit in it, with a bit of hand-wringing - and our media continue to peddle us fantasy, distraction and lies on their behalf.
Meanwhile, the environmental and social justice movements - for all their passion, tenacity, intellect, media smarts and frightening science - are still perceived by most people as a sort of gloomy sideshow; a hectoring, smug, party-pooping sideshow that can safely be marginalised or ignored. People simply look the other way, as if they were talking about some other planet, some other time. On the evidence of the last three or four decades, these movements alone cannot change humanity's course quickly or deeply enough - or 'turn the Titanic around'.
The sound choices of an enlightened few are not enough to make up for the lazy choices of the many. A bit of recycling here, a Facebook petition there, 'ethical fashion' in the shops, more wind farms... It's all great, and worth doing, but it's not enough - and it's not the point, either. These movements and their activities simply can't and won't overcome our individual and collective greed, selfishness, ignorance and apathy - very basic human traits that have been around forever, and which have proved our undoing before. These aspects of our nature are exulted in today's consumer economy and played on by our politics, and they simply don't favour long-term or altruistic thinking. They can't be beaten down by rational argument or remonstration, or by appealing to our compassion, or even by invoking fear and guilt.
History suggests that only actual, visceral, immediate threat to our persons, our possessions and our ways of life will bring about the kind of paradigm shift required. In other words, catastrophic change, disruption and crisis on a massive scale - leading to partial or full collapse of what is, after all, merely a house of cards, a thin veneer of order and permanence slipping around on an unstable base. Our sheer numbers, combined with the power of our technology, the hunger of our industry and the injustice of our economic model will be our undoing. Not to mention the inability of most of us to provide for even our most basic needs on our own.
Like you, I felt greatly discouraged by this conclusion at first, and found it hard to find others who shared such an unpalatable view of reality and/or who were genuinely interested in exploring what such a collapse might mean, constructively, without descending into apocalyptic conspiracy theories or nihilism. What can - should - we be doing now if this is to happen within our lifetimes, or our children's? How can we prepare?
And then I found your blog, and read your manifesto, and breathed a sigh of relief. Not only am I not alone in thinking such thoughts, but far cleverer and better connected folks than me are already organising themselves around these ideas, and getting some traction (or at least some airtime). Plus, you see the core role that the arts can play in capturing these themes, sounding the warnings, proferring alternative visions and preparing us psychologically for this brave new world. It so happens I'm writing a novel that tries to do just that, so the DMP is especially timely for me!
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