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.
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As someone who has lived the entirety of their life within the ecological devastation known as St. Catharines, it’s very heartening to know that like-minded folks exist in such proximity to this place. I found your website & this zine a few months ago, but the writing itself has started to become more and more important to me as I’ve started to witness the conversion of teeming meadows into parking lots & student lofts. Thank you for everything that all of you have written, it gives me hope (and not the kind of hope that renders one passive, one that fills me with exhiliration).
May I print a copy and share this at a temporary pop-up poetry slamming coffee shack heavy on black brew and elemental broods? I’d just stumbled upon your trove a few days ago and am feeling modular synchronizations filling up my brains. I would love to share these insights with the few passerby’s at the shack while it is in operations, spread the good word like dogwood on a winter’s eve, if you’d be pleased 🙂
Yup, go ahead! All our pdfs are online in the zine section of the sidebar and you’re free to print and distribute them.