Book: Advancing Nonviolence and Social Transformation
Chapter: Chapter 15. Deep Green Violence: Our Animal Bodies as Sites of Resistance
Consensus metrics in regards to the health of planetary ecosystems suggest that we are in the midst of the sixth largest extinction crisis, and industrial lifeways are causing a warming of the earth’s atmosphere. The embedded violence of modern industrial lifestyles based on fossil fuels drives rampant consumerism and resource extraction, which comes at the expense of the vulnerable poor and non-human others. Most data suggests that these trends are not sustainable, and very real issues of environmental racism and environmental justice raise important ethical questions about whether humans will have to significantly alter their lifestyles to avert planetary collapse and to generate more holistic, just societies. Some groups interpret this data and maintain that extra-legal tactics might need to be embraced and put into action in order to avoid worst case scenarios. One of the most publicly vocal of these groups, Deep Green Resistance, advocates for decisive ecological warfare precisely for this reason: their analysis of capitalism and understanding of planetary metrics leads them to argue that both above and belowground actions, undertaken in the context of ecological warfare against those who they maintain perpetrate violence against the planet, are required. This chapter investigates their claims, and the political, ethical, and tactical reasons behind them. DGR’s stance that nonviolence protest is not capable in and of itself in averting planetary triage and issues of environmental justice raises important questions that discussions about nonviolence should address.