The battle against climate change by Paul Kingsnorth – Docu

[Music] the flush toilet is a good metaphor for the civilization we’re living in you you you crap into a pipe you flush it away and you never see it you never have to deal with your own and then you end up deep in it give me that it’s good for me by the end of a year rife with record-breaking weather revisit British writer and former activist Paul Kings North in his younger years he used his body to physically protect nature from the insatiable needs of modern man he chained himself to bulldozers to prevent them from destroying forests and paving them with asphalt but now Kings North says the Eco movement has sold its old to politics and industry sustainability has become this kind of comfort blanket for middle-class people in which they can say well I’ve got a Toyota Prius you know and I’ve got an ax or I’ve got an electric car and etc etc and you can buy your way into a sustainable lifestyle all Kings North no longer believes the world can be saved what is left of nature is now being thoughtlessly traded in for wind and solar farms if you can’t recognize that this web of life that we are part of is anything more than just a resource that you think you can understand and harvest then you’re doomed Kings North has withdrawn to the westernmost part of Ireland to live with his family on a plot of land that he allows to re wild but he does use a car and electricity because no one is innocent and that includes you Deborah despite all your eco ambitions this is backlight welcome to the world of a recovering environmentalist [Music] so this is a a wind power station euphemistically known as a wind farm up on up on the mountains in county galway in ireland this is a relatively small one actually compared to a lot of others it used to be the case that environmentalism and green campaigning involved being against the industrialization of mountains but now it’s in favor of them as long as the industrialization doesn’t produce carbon and the reason for that is that we tell ourselves that this is going to save us that the solution to climate change and the ecological crisis that’s unfolding is simply to replace coal and oil burning power stations with this kind of thing this low-carbon alternative there’s a few problems with that one of them is that there’s no way that you can actually build enough of these things and enough solar arrays and barrages in the rivers and wave machines in the sea to power the global economy at the rate that we consume at the moment the technology isn’t available you would have to smother the landscapes of Europe with these things to get anywhere close even to the state of the economy at the moment but the other problem is more of a philosophical one if you like which is that this is the mentality that caused the problem in the first place here we are assuming that the problem we’ve got is simply the omission of the wrong kind of gas and that the solution to that is to pay for the wild landscapes of Europe in in more industry all of which is is these metals is plastics is cement all of which is mined and transported from the rest of the world and buried in huge concrete bollards right up on the top of a mountain here that’s the same mentality that got us into this mess in the first place this just seems to me to be a betrayal of what everything was about to me these places are just a symbol of what went wrong because I have such a I have such a passion for open landscapes and mountain landscapes even very bleak ones like this this just seems to me to be a betrayal of what everything was about and environmentalism is not just about protecting landscapes it’s about having a correct relationship with the rest of life on Earth there goes the deer I don’t know what they think about the sound the noise of these things is incredible oh you know we haven’t even talked about the destruction of bird life a huge amount of bird life is destroyed by these things there goes the deer that’s also what some people say that what you call the neo environmentalist is that you know nature has ways of adapting you know they’re still deers running around the birds will find other ways to survive or adapt so but what do you think of of that that’s one of these the answers to well that’s to me that’s a psychopathic attitude that attitude is what is it what is the psychopathy the attitude that nature will adapt so it’s fine is is the attitude that’s been used by rapacious destroyers of the natural world for centuries of Bo or sure it will adapt of course it will yes but it will be poorer and there will be less of it and it will be entirely centered on humans and I keep coming back to the same question are we going to act as if this planet belongs to us and we can do what the hell we want and everything else will just fit in around it or are we gonna start saying well maybe just maybe we ought to put ourselves not at the center of the picture but just as part of a wider web how would we live if we thought that other creatures had a right to this as well we didn’t have a right to create technologies which destroy the bird life that we didn’t have a right to dig out the fossil layer and burn it that we didn’t have a right to just effectively assume that all of this is just a backdrop to our activities isn’t that depressing isn’t it depressing depends how you look at it I suppose it’s difficult it’s difficult isn’t it to look at the state of the world and not be depressed about it sometimes or unhappy you can’t honestly look at the state of things and not be unhappy some of the most despairing people I’ve ever met who can climb it scientists because they know what’s really going on so if you’re not unhappy or or worried or depressed about it at least part of the time then you’re not paying attention but you know you can’t live in that space all the time you have to get on with your life it’s fine but yeah it’s you know it’s it’s a difficult time to be a human in that sense isn’t it because we know what’s happening and we know how little it’s possible to do about it so we just do what we can do we do what we can do with our lives and we see what happens I mean you know the good thing is the future is never is never predictable and the planet is very complex and we don’t know exactly how it’s going to react to anything so we don’t know exactly what’s going to come so we just we do the best thing but to me the big question is not what technologies are we going to use to continue the same trajectory it’s how do we change the trajectory and yeah I don’t hear that question being asked in a significant way in as many places as it should be even now okay writer Paul Kings north was one of the heavyweights on the environmentalist scene reaching a wide international audience with his passionate pleas both in his native England and on the other side of the planet he protested against the insatiable hunger of globalizing mankind but one day he realized he couldn’t save the world together with his wife a former psychiatrist who gave up her work – he has withdrawn from it now they grow their own vegetables and homeschool their children the interesting thing about kids when you have them especially if they’re running around in the fields which house do a lot of is you see that they already have this intense intrinsic relationship with everything else anyway it’s not theoretical they just they notice things they have this great you know they see that the spiders on the underside of the leaves and they see the colors of the grasses and they see when something has changed and my daughter sees fairies in the trees and is absolutely sure that they’re real and you know they notice things that you don’t notice and as you’re an adult as you become an adult the process of growing up is a process of teaching ourselves that none of that stuff is real so that you can go and live in civilization because if you could remember that intense relationship with nature that you have as a kid it would be heartbreaking when you have to live in the middle of London and sit in an office all day they do a lot of learning in their home school about a huge amount of nature work science observation it’s just about how life works and how its interconnected my wife is great at teaching that and she has a science background so she can she can really bring that bring that in but you know just just learning where you are in the web of life is a big deal actually I wouldn’t have a look at them and decide what do you think do you think that could be a fusion there’s definitely nice too wide it’s nice it’s amazing it hasn’t got to towering fall and yeah this looks because it looks like it’s a buzzy I gotta say it’s got very sloping forehead this I think is nice because it’s got a small it’s got a smaller power and forehead and this is even as a bigger even bigger burn care center so do you think this is us yeah I said living Island us what about this one yeah I think that’s a little that’s not even yeah it is it looks like an uber movie this is a place we bought four and a half years ago now we wanted to have a place we can afford with no mortgage and I rent a place that we could heat ourselves with our own fuel take our own water out of the well in the garden feed ourselves as much as we could school our own kids just live a life that’s a little bit more rooted and a little more real than the one we were living before and in the town and in the city in England so that’s what we’ve been doing quite a lot has happened in four years it looks pretty different now to what it looked like when we first came all the trees that you can see around here with the exception of the very big ones there in the background are all been planted by us I think we’ve planted about 800 trees since we got here the minute you plant trees in a place it becomes very hard to leave I’ve discovered it becomes very hard to leave because you watch them grow they’re growing like your children at a faster rate the place that you’re in stops just being a bit of land you bought that you could sell again and starts becoming something that you’re actually part of it’s very interesting and trees in particular have that effect yeah the chickens are keen to take part what it turned out we wanted to do more than anything was just rewilding we’ve feed ourselves from the garden and from the polytunnel most of the year now and the more food we learn to preserve the more we can hopefully feed ourselves with our own food to become self-sufficient as we can just because it’s a useful insurance policy and because it’s enjoyable the other thing you discover about just just pharming running your own place having a small holding ism you just have to enjoy it actually it’s not something you can do because you think you ought to or because you think it’s going to Apokolips proof for you you actually have to want to and having been here nearly five years I can’t imagine can’t imagine going back and living in a town not having any land we have that quality tunnel which has been here about a year now how much is Faris really well this summer a very good year again things are dying out now but it’s knocked over and we’re still what tomatoes and we’ve had any number of beans beetroot chard over jeans would you believe in the West of Ireland things are definitely changing yeah it’s very strange this is late October and I could be standing here in a t-shirt it ought to be a lot colder than this so yeah I mean it’s it’s certainly changing things are going things are things are shifting in in unaccountable ways and anyone will tell you that but yeah well we’ll see where that leads us and standing here the thinking of that doesn’t still make you sad or angry or what but does it make you feel it doesn’t make me I don’t think it makes me angry because climate change is so diffused that it’s difficult to know who to be angry at if I was going to be angry I’d have to be angry at myself for driving a car and using electricity and all the other things that we do climate change is an enormous accident that’s happened to us that we’ve just created by living in a certain way and we’ve now got to a point where we don’t know how to get out of it but there is an enormous grief that lies underneath it that we don’t allow ourselves to look at I think very often we can read news everyday about the melting ice sheets in the collapsing glaciers and the desertification is in Africa and the Hurricanes in the Americas we can read about the extinction and the climate change and we’re just small people and there’s little if anything we can do and so it can raise a great despair in people and it does and I think it’s one of the reasons that we like to avoid even looking at it because it’s it’s not a problem with a solution actually and that’s one of the things that we’re having to deal with it’s a predicament we have to live through and we’re all responsible for it there aren’t any bad guys to blame there are some people who are more responsible than others but it’s there’s no enemy out there that you can blame for it and thus living like this help or would this help other people as well or is it just your way yeah I mean it’s hiding well I am hiding to a degree I wouldn’t I wouldn’t pretend I’m not certainly I’m hiding from the kind of worst excesses as a culture I grew up in but I mean living here allows I look living here allows us to have some element of peace it allows us to bring our kids up in a way that we thinks appropriate for the times it allows us to teach them about this it allows them to spend as much time as they can in nature as possible which hopefully might make them useful or at least understanding when they go up it allows us to you know plant a thousand trees which weren’t here before so there’s useful work that you can do but it’s not going to stop climate change nothing is going to do that [Music] okay when I was a young activist we used to say look if we don’t act within this period of time there’s going to be a catastrophe that’s been the message of the environmental movement for 30 years everyone stopped listening because they were fed up with being told there was a catastrophe around the corner if they didn’t change fingers I’ve got young children and I used to think that maybe they’d be old or even dead by the time that things really got bad but I’m not sure anymore so we’re in it and we have to learn to live through it and we’re not really equipped for that because sure out the doors of the story of progress that we believe in there we are it seems to me for years that the notion of progress is the religious story that we tell ourselves in Western civilization it’s the story that everything will keep getting better because it just has to and the more I look around me the more I think that we don’t really know how to deal with the possibility that that might not be true [Music] brilliant cycle a name foxes foxes brilliant as you’re working times over there do you ever miss like city life generally not no I was busy working as a consultant psychiatrist then and that was a huge amount of driving and weekends working so it took a bit of adjustment to sort of being unstructured with my time or having to structure myself but um yeah I I fight I would find it very hard to go back into that now yeah you ever talk about climate change really but we do think about it here you see happening a bit don’t you before I wasn’t all that so what do you what do you think what do you what is climate change actually I know that it probably all authority in the patient yeah there’s the magic council are – you’re on here on there they’re everywhere I surrounded by them does it worry you this farting of the cows earth mmm I can’t smell it but it’s a bit did you talk about it there a lot there is it also as something that’s we we do – yeah we do talk about it because it’s hard – especially when we’re learning together because it’s hard to study some things without referring to it especially when we’re outside and we learn a lot outside so yeah but also trying not to focus on it too much because they need to sort of feel they’ve got a future to enjoy as well so yeah I’m trying to find a balance [Music] activism is predicated on finding an enemy so you find the bad guys and then you go out on your campaign against the bad guys in any number of different ways but what if you’re the bad guy what if you are the one on the aeroplane you are the one driving the car you are the one using the central heating you are the one doing the things that is that are destroying the planet which you are and I am and everybody watching this is right and that’s not a blame game it’s not anyone’s fault which is born we’re just living our lives but by being born into this world we are part of the problem that we are creating that’s why they always want the solutions button that’s why they always want some guy to come along and go good news I’ve invented free endless power forever and you just press this button and you don’t have to change anything but the planet is going to be final well it isn’t you got to pay the price for it and that’s the problem we’re not prepared to change it we think that we can continue to eat the cake and not get fat so I think we have to go through whatever is coming somehow in order that we can come out the other side of it and pick up the pieces and say well what might be a better way to live than that so the orchard they’re apples and pears and they’re composted with our own manure for my compost toilet which would be surprised how how fragrant that is that is that is what went into our toilet the year ago and sat in a compost heap with sawdust and a few leaves for a year and has transformed itself into incredibly rich soil one of the first things we did when we got here was tearing out our toilet and replacing it with a compost toilet which I built myself which is literally just a big bucket the more than toilet the flush toilet is a good metaphor for the civilization we’re living in you crap into a pipe you flush it away and you never see it you never have to deal with your own and then you end up deep in it but I just think it’s the notion that you just press a button and all of your waste disappears and somebody else deals with it somewhere and it’s probably all going to be okay is exactly how we just grow up we live our lives like that for as long as I can remember and for much longer than I’ve been alive there have been fantastical promises of technological salvation and we get them now from Silicon Valley we hear that we can upload our consciousness into machines so we don’t have to live as physical beings or there’ll be lab-grown meat for everyone in a few years time or nuclear fission I believe is still around the corner any minute now hyper solar power etcetera etcetera and none of it ever quite comes to pass it’s always something that’s just around the corner that we have to keep progressing towards it’s a salvation all narrative it’s like it really feels like a narrative of religious salvation like we will get you to heaven it’s like the narrative of colonizing Mars that’s a wonderful one we’ll all go and live on Mars it doesn’t matter that we’ve destroyed the earth we’ll go build a new planet on Mars built for and by humans it’s a psychotic narrative that one as far as I’m concerned it’s psychopathic the notion that is well we’ve we’ve killed off the only living planet that we know of in the entire universe never mind we’ll go and somehow rustle up another one else and dead dust if it were even physically possible which it isn’t what kind of what are you saying about who you are as a person as a people if that’s what you think is a good idea instead of staying here and trying to work out your relationship with the rest of life you’re going to go somewhere else and just start again with the same problem [Music] when people talk about solutions to the ecological crisis what they usually mean is we can find some technological way of not burning fossil fuels or maybe we can invent a giant vacuum pump that will pull the co2 back down out of the atmosphere maybe you can probably not it’s worth saying that it is not possible at this moment in time to produce anything like the energy that the global economy produces without oil but more than that the question is what’s the problem you’re solving what do you think the problem is with this society that we’ve got to this point I don’t think it’s a technological problem I think it’s a it’s a cultural problem even a spiritual problem that we’ve got in our relationship with the rest of life in our relationship with our own desire and our own greed and our notion of what we mean by progress which is usually very narrowly defined to me there’s a kind of spiritual emptiness at the heart of it we don’t really know what relationship we want to have with the earth and you can okay maybe you can fuel your capitalist Gluck growth Society on solar power instead of oil but you’ve still got the same problems in terms of the world that you’re eating the amount that you’re consuming the values that you have the individualism the kind of digital narcissism that we have as a culture it’s not a healthy culture we live in over many years the environmental movement for a number of very good reasons started moving away from that position that nature can be defended for the sake of itself that we should just protect this forest because it’s a forest and we shouldn’t destroy it for the same reason and they started moving towards a rationalist position an economic position because that’s what they thought they had to do to get things done so they would go to governments and they would start using econometric principles and discussions and they would start saying well you know we should protect this forest because one day we may find the cure for cancer in here or we should protect this forest because it’s drawing X tons of carbon out of the atmosphere every year all of which may be good reasons to protect a forest that’s fine but actually they’re not the reason they’re not the reason I can understand why people talk to governments and corporations like that what happened with the green movement in my view is that it fell into a trap that was set by those who didn’t want it to succeed which was to say if you want to talk to the people in power you have to use their language and the assumptions their language is based on which is that all of that stuff out there is a natural resource and we have to use that natural resource sustainably and that’s all fine but that can all be worked out in a calculative fashion and we don’t want to hear any of your discussions about eco centrism other the the intrinsic value of nature or your spiritual connection to the land or any of that sort of hippy rubbish we’ve got you know we’ve got sensible grown-up things to talk about nature is fine as long as it contributes to economic growth and the problem of course is as soon as you buy into that language you’ve bought into the whole conversation about how we live in a growth led rationalist society and then if somebody can provide a better reason to destroy a forest for example well look there’s oil underneath this forest so if we take the forest down and turn the trees into toilet roll and dig up the oil it will be a greater contribution economic growth and we can put some wind farms up over here which will compensate for the carbon that we emit and there’s the rationalist hypothesis and if you’ve already given up on the idea that there’s anything inherently valuable in that place you haven’t got an argument you haven’t got an argument you can’t say but look it’s a forest we shouldn’t be digital you can’t do it this it’s gone [Music] hey snowy white scooper Li’s I think we should come natively as well oh yeah I was done than before he’s got a dent in the top though mmm lots and lots of little brown markings all over this when I was young when I was a child I used to spend a lot of time walking across mountains and moorlands and cliffs with my dad who was a long-distance walk I wish to do a lot of these long-distance paths in Britain all over England and Wales and parts of Scotland being sort of dragged forcibly up the mountains which wasn’t always enjoyable especially when you’re young you know you’re climbing up some mountain in the pouring rain and wanting to be at home so it’s not always a kind of bucolic experience at all but it is very formative if you spend a lot of your time outside and you spend it watching the Sun go down over the cliffs or seeing the owl diving at you and ice as you walk across the Moors for most people I know who become environmentalists or campaigners or just writers or conservationists or anything that kind of experience is at the heart of what they do because it’s just a bit a bit about love and connection and attachment and ease you see the world beyond your little human self like a lot of people at university I kind of became politicized and quite radical as you do when you’re 18 but at that time there were a lot of Road protest actions going on around Britain [Music] [Applause] and I just went along to some of them and I started to get involved in them and I started to chain myself to things and get arrested and you know I got involved in a quite a radical but also very rooted direct-action movement which which which brought together this kind of love of place and landscape in history that I’ve always had where the sense that you can do something to stop it which which you could in a very physical way in those days you know they want to build a road through here you put yourself in front of it its proper sort of Gandia nor in the u.s. wilderness style direct action and half a mile away anger at the excellent progress of the Twyford scheme had turned to more direct protest campaigners hacking away of riverbanks to flood the site and climbing onto machinery to end their protest banners police who were heavily outnumbered waited until reinforcements arrived to make arrests that was scuffles as eleven people were detained mainly to face charges of criminal damage at the heart of that is not politics this that’s the important thing for me we talk about activism or environmentalism as if these were kind of political movements and in some sense is practically they are but actually they’re about protecting things that you love and have a passion for the green movement originally was not left-wing and it wasn’t right-wing either it was supposed to be at least an attempt to move beyond that division and say look let’s put the interest of life as a whole at the heart of our politics rather than arguing about the various power dynamics that the left and the right argue about but the Greens now have been kind of subsumed into the political left to a really really dangerous degree I believe because what that’s done if you look at the issue of climate change is that in the States for example particularly but not just their climate change and protecting the natural world as a whole are now seen as left-wing issues which they’re not they’re not left or right they’re there there’s something that all humans should be concerned with but because environmentalism has become very leftish a lot of people aren’t leftish can then represent it as something that those socialists want us to do so that’s why you get this kind of ludicrous climate change denial on the political right protecting nature is now seen as a as a partisan issue which isn’t and shouldn’t be so that’s one part of it and the other part of it of course is that it didn’t take very long for business to see that there was money in sustainability right so you’ve got this lovely word sustainability which originally was a radical notion which originally was hey we should live within our means people we should not live in an economy or a society which takes more than it can give back and which destroys the rest of life in order to feed ourselves we need to be sustainable otherwise it all falls apart now very quickly that became something you could sell you can you can sell sustainability now you can you can tell everybody that your product is sustainable and they should buy that one or not the other one every corporate boardroom in the world now has got a corporate sustainability officer who effectively is green washing the company and pretending that it’s more ecological than it is and sustainability has become this kind of comfort blanket for middle-class people in which they can say well I’ve got a Toyota Prius you know and I’ve gotten over I’ve got an electric car and etc etc and you can buy your way into a sustainable lifestyle lovely it’s going to tell you about mycelium and then I’ve got an exercise for you okay so we’ve been looking at mushrooms haven’t we yeah the parts of the fungus that are ground and so actually most of the fungus is underneath us and we can’t see it can we lines they can sense or they think they can sense what kind of animal is walking on the forest floor Wow alright so imagine that this whole forest floor is connected right all the trees are connected and so it’s almost like a carpet and they it is like a carpet and it’s sensitive and it’s got a kind of intelligence right so it can tell the difference between a deer walking into the forest and a human walking into the forest and the mycelium sends signals to the tree so for example there was a deer walking into the forest that loves to eat the leaves of a certain tree the mycelium will be able to send signals to that tree and that tree can secrete some chemicals that the deer doesn’t like to eat so think about that when you go walking to the woods the trees know that you’re there right because the mycelium are sending them signals when I just sit on my a kur of land and attempt to cut the wood inside the grass and listen to the birds I’m not attempting to live in the past I’m just attempting to have some connection with the world as it is in the present this is this is here this is not the past this is what life is life is all around us we are still all dependent upon agriculture we’re still all dependent on on on the the air and the water and the earth and the soil and everything that moves and lives we haven’t gone into some techno utopia we’re never going to we’re still animals in the world so how can we have some sort of small small relationship with that all I’m doing personally is trying to do that for myself for my family so it’s very selfish really I’m not pretending that I’m setting any examples for anybody people are endlessly asking me how can everybody else live like you and I say oh well I didn’t say they could you know I want everyone else to live like me but how can you live in a way that we the people used to do in in the past because that’s of course the criticism these newer environmentalists throw back at you and you’re romanticizing the past why would you do that why are you doing well I’m not living in the past I’m living in the present that’s why I’ve got a car an internet connection there’s the progressive narrative has a real pro with anything that appears to be emulating the past or anything that draws on the wisdom of the past or anything that has roots in the land or anything that has a connection with nature because that’s all seen to be we put that in a box labeled reactionary romanticism and put it over there and we say the future is the future is high-rise factory farms and and genetically modified meat and all the other things that these people have decided the future is going to look like that’s not the future we don’t know what the future looks like we’ve no idea what the future looks like that’s the progressive myth there’s much grow in the conifer would you think we should come down here and steal a Christmas tree what lovely lady is talking about monkey why would you have children if you think the world is collapsing well it’s a question that supposes that you have children for rational reasons isn’t it as if we’re kind of making a calculation well I won’t rationally have to I mean you have children because you know you love each other and you want to have children that’s how it works and nobody knows what the future is so you give them the best of what you can give them and who knows they might turn into ecological superheroes and save the world that would be nice that’s or they might not but you know just you do you do what you do so I suppose they just try and equip them the best that you can so they I want them to have a sort of understanding of yeah how everything works and fits together in a way and about how it’s chaos with small parts of order within it and and then they might be able to use some of that you know in their daily lives to understand all sorts of things there but there is always a worry you always worry about although future they’re gonna have oh he’ll be like oh yeah I got a beetle on those oh yeah he’s did you like about the mushrooms up there do you still sometimes experience moments of great despair for example looking at Trump doing his trumpian things or well actually unless I’m less angered by Trump being Trump than I am by environmentalists flowing to climate change conferences actually I mean they’re both damaging but at least Trump doesn’t pretend he isn’t saying what you like about him he’s not sir he’s not subtle in that regard look mostly I’m at a point where I’m I just accept where we are and then we just have to live through it sometimes yeah plenty of things still make me angry I see the latest climate change report or I see the trees being sawed down in my local neighborhood and it’s still upsetting of course it is but you know it’s just all that’s changed for me is I’ve relieved myself or if the responsibility of trying to change the world or save the world anyway because I don’t believe that it can be saved in the sense that we can stop the climate changing and prevent the extinction and go back to living in a kind of happy clappy global liberal democracy because that’s not going to happen we’re in for enormous changes so we just have to be open to that see where they take us [Applause] did you end up thinking that there is an answer in spirituality even though that’s almost a dirty word yeah I’ve never used the word spirituality openly no I mean here’s what I think now this is the conclusion I’ve come to which has made me uncomfortable but also strangely liberated it’s that this is the the the crisis we’re going through the ongoing collapse of the natural world that we’ve created and the likely collapse of the culture that we’re in as well over the next hundred years or so as a result of that though is at its core it’s a spiritual crisis because we are the got to be one of the only cultures or societies or civilizations that have ever existed that don’t have something sacred at the core of them we don’t have a religion in the broad sense of the word but more more than that we don’t have a sense of anything that’s greater than us that we have to bow our knee to that we have to humble ourselves before whether it’s a god or a goddess or the the divinity in nature itself we don’t recognize those terms really we see them as antiquated we see them as old-fashioned and backward and reactionary we have part of the myth of progress that we believe in is the notion that we’re evolving beyond religion that there’s something primitive about that sense of the sacred or I don’t think there is and it’s been a long journey for me to realize that that if if we don’t have anything that we believe is above us then we become destroyers which is what we’ve become we put ourselves at the center of the world and we become these these individuals that just eat the world and the conclusion if there is a conclusion maybe it’s not a conclusion maybe it’s just a step on a road but the place I’m in at the moment is that if there’s going to be any future for the kind of culture we’re in or the whatever it turns into it’s got to be in finding some sense of the sacred in in nature itself it’s got to be going back to or going forward to some almost pagan or animist sense of the divinity in everything gods in the sea the gods in the stones that the spirits of the air I don’t know what you would how you would put it but if you if you can’t recognize that this web of life that we are part of is anything more than just a resource that you think you can understand and harvest then you’re doomed we’re all animals we’re all the identical to the people who who painted that the Paleolithic cave walls 30,000 years ago we haven’t changed biologically at all or very little and we’re still wild creatures we’ve never been domesticated so we can put this pattern of civilization on us but it can fall away very quickly so what’s underneath it and how do we get back to that the reason that these passions royalists all the time is that that’s what we still are we’re still these animals and our bodies and our souls react to the world world around us we like to pretend the central heating and Wi-Fi connections have somehow put a wall of glass between us and and the rest of nature but it it’s not there we’re still in it and we could start behaving a bit more animal-like again and it wouldn’t do us any harm at all there’s a whole aspect of our nature that’s that’s it’s slid away that the part of us that is prepared to be honestly bewildered and which says we don’t really know much of what the world is we don’t really know why we have the reactions to it that we do and that there is a necessity at some point to stand back with that lack of knowing and just stand at the foot of at the foot of the mystery at the foot of whatever the hell this world is and whatever the wildness of it is in our small place in it and to have some or for that to have some respect for that to have a sense of humility before that [Music] if you go to any landscape and you just sit there quietly and listen what do you hear what song is the see singing is it different from the song that the sky is singing and how does it change throughout the daym throughout the seasons they’re not trivial questions actually these are the questions that societies were asking long before we turned in on ourselves the theologian Thomas berry is a great spiritual ecological writer has this phrase the great conversation which he says is the conversation between humans and everything else that lives and he says the tragedy of modern humanity is that we’ve ended the great conversation we’ve stopped speaking to everything else that lives and we just speak to ourselves and we think it’s progress and it’s not progress it’s a great breakage so how do you restart the great conversation and the answer is you start by listening you just start by shutting up for a minute which is hard for a writer you know I’m very bad at shutting up just ask my wife but you know how do you shut up and listen as a human how’d you come to just a place like this or anywhere and just be quiet pay attention to what everything else has to say and then how does that infiltrate into your words into your conversation as individual beings that is necessary work and as a culture it’s necessary work as well in it it’s my belief that we can either choose to do that or we can have that forced upon us because we’re not we don’t get the choice I don’t think for very long to live as if the rest of the world wasn’t alive most of the novels we produce in the films we produce and all of the narrative material we produce at the moment is obviously very centered on humans largely having relations with other humans the question is how can you start to tell stories differently what would the world would look like if you told a story that wasn’t about endless human progress didn’t have humans right at the heart of everything and wasn’t just about people what other stories would you be telling if you had all of the other perspectives in there and if you listen to an old fairy tale or if you listen to indigenous people telling a lot of their old myths that’s what their stories are like that is what the oldest human stories are like they’re not just all about people talking to other people about people and their internal world that’s a very modern very Western notion the oldest stories are always about places they’re always about speaking animals they’re always about gods they’re about all these different ways of representing and personifying the rest of life how can we start to do that again what happens if we tell stories differently if there’s if there’s any answer for me about how we not necessarily get out of the mess we’re in but at least move on to a different place it’s how it’s that one how do we tell stories differently and how what what stories would we tell if we wanted to believe that the world was not just a human playground once you drop from your shoulders the self-imposed burden of having to save the world from everything if you can kind of breathe a sigh of relief and say ah okay well what can I actually still do and it yeah well for me anyway I can’t speak for anyone else but for me it comes down to the work you have to do on yourself what values have you got what sort of person do you want to be how can you use what few skills you have got to do what you need to do plant trees cut the grass whatever it is that you have the skills and the ability to do [Music] [Music] [Music] thank you for watching for more on this subject take a look at the playlist you can also watch this recommended video don’t forget to subscribe to our Channel and we’ll keep you updated on our documentaries [Music]


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