In May 2013, we started a series of articles called Towards an Anarchist Ecology. This series was based on a workshop of the same name we had been giving in South-western Ontario that set out to offer a precise critique of mainstream ecology and to offer some starting points for developing an anarchist knowing of the land. We released the last of the eight essays in mid-January 2014, and are now excited to release them in a new format, collected all together into a zine! It is available for download at: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/01/28/18749898.php
Our critique of the mainstream science of ecology, or as we termed it, dominator ecology, centres around the idea that “[It] is the ecology of management from a distance, and of remote expertise, that sees itself as fundamentally separate from the land, inhabiting a present without a past or future.” We trace out how the practice of dominator ecology upholds colonial and capitalist structures while enforcing our alienation from the land by situating it as the realm of experts.
It’s one thing to offer a critique, but it’s a bigger challenge to offer an alternative. The rest of the zine seeks to lay out five starting points for an anti-colonial, anti-authoritarian way of connecting with the land. These starting points are: rooted in relationships, deep listening, urban ecology, re-enchanting, and unexpertness. We have tried to identify and avoid the usual pitfalls of cultural appropriation, de-politicization, escape, expertly arrogance, and hastily jumping to an energetic or spiritual way of connecting.
At the root of it, we believe that everyone, wherever they are, inhabits a watershed and is a dynamic living creature that is part of a complex and beautiful web of interrelationships. We can choose to ground ourselves in this truth, to connect with the land around us, and let the health of our communities guide our actions.
This zine represents some of the conclusions we’ve reached in our four years of exploration as Knowing the Land is Resistance. We hope you will find something in it to help you in breaking with this stifling society of control and in finding lives of freedom and wildness.