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Lierre Keith quotes (showing 1-29 of 29)

“Understand: the task of an activist is not to negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible--it's to dismantle those systems.”
Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
“Masculinity is simply a conglomeration of the personality traits necessary for the patriarchal soldier-rapist: physically strong, emotionally cauterized, rational, domineering, cruel. All of this is supposed to add up to "handsome" as well. Likewise femininity is ultimately a description of the personality that results from trauma and powerlessness: weak, passive, yielding, emotional, hyper-vigilant to the needs of the dominators and desperate for the dominator's attention.”
Lierre Keith
“What is your personal carrying capacity for grief, rage, despair? We are living in a period of mass extinction. The numbers stand at 200 species a day. That's 73,000 a year. This culture is oblivious to their passing, feels entitled to their every last niche, and there is no roll call on the nightly news.”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“People sometimes say that we will know feminism has done its job when half the CEOs are women. That’s not feminism; to quote Catharine MacKinnon, it’s liberalism applied to women. Feminism will have won not when a few women get an equal piece of the oppression pie, served up in our sisters’ sweat, but when all dominating hierarchies - including economic ones - are dismantled.”
Lierre Keith
“This is why militarism is a feminist issue, why rape is an environmental issue, why environmental destruction is a peace issue. We will never dismantle misogyny as long as domination is eroticized. We will also never stop racism. Nor will we mount an effective resistance to fascism, which is the eroticization of domination and subordination–fascism is in essence a cult of masculinity. Those are all huge spin-outs from the same beginning. The result is torture, rape, genocide, and biocide.”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance
“For those of us who can't be active on the front lines - and this will be most of us - our job is to create a culture that will encourage and promote political resistance. The main tasks will be loyalty and material support.”
Lierre Keith
“This is the moment when we have to decide: does a world exist outside ourselves and is that world worth fighting for? Another 200 species went extinct today. They were my kin. They were yours, too. If we know them as such, why aren't we fighting to save them with everything we've got?”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“John Locke, called the Father of Liberalism, made the argument that the individual instead of the community was the foundation of society. He believed that government existed by the consent of the governed, not by divine right. But the reason government is necessary is to defend private property, to keep people from stealing from each other. This idea appealed to the wealthy for an obvious reason: they wanted to keep their wealth. From the perspective of the poor, things look decidedly different. The rich are able to accumulate wealth by taking the labor of the poor and by turning the commons into privately owned commodities; therefore, defending the accumulation of wealth in a system that has no other moral constraints is in effect defending theft, not protecting against it.”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“I want my life to be a battle cry, a war zone, an arrow pointed and loosed into the heart of domination: patriarchy, imperialism, industrialization, every system of power and sadism.”
Lierre Keith
“If we took 75% of the world’s trashed rangeland, we could restore it from agriculture back to functioning prairies — with their animal cohorts — in under fifteen years. We could further sequester all of the carbon that has been released since the beginning of the industrial age. So I find that a hopeful thing because, frankly, we just have to get out of the way. Nature will do the work for us. This planet wants to be grassland and forest. It does not want to be an agricultural mono-crop.”
Lierre Keith
“What do plants eat? They eat dead animals; that’s the problem. For me that was a horrifying realization. You want to be an organic gardener, of course, so you keep reading ‘Feed the soil, feed the soil, feed the soil…’

All right. Well, what does the soil want to eat? Well, it wants manure, and it wants urine, and it wants blood meal and bone meal. And I…could not face that. I wanted my garden to be pure and death-free. It didn’t matter what I wanted: plants wanted those things; they needed those things to grow.”
Lierre Keith
“Resistance is a simple concept: power, unjust and immoral, is confronted and dismantled. The powerful are denied their right to hurt the less powerful. Domination is replaced by equity in a shift or substitution of institutions. That shift eventually forms new human relationships, both personally and across society.”
Lierre Keith
“One group of people that get a lot of PTSD are soldiers who have been in combat. You know who gets more PTSD, has higher rates of PTSD? Women who have escaped prostitution. That tells me that the war that men wage against women is actually worse than the wars they wage against each other.”
Lierre Keith
“The necessity of political struggle especially means confronting and contradicting those on the left who say that resistance is futile. Such people have no place in a movement for justice. For actionists who choose to work aboveground, this confrontation with detractors - and some of these detractors reject the idea of resistance of any kind - is one of the small, constant actions you can take. Defend the possibility of resistance, insist on a moral imperative of fighting for this planet, and argue for direct action against perpetrators. Despite what much of the left has now embraced, we are not all equally responsible. There are a few corporations that have turned the planet into a dead commodity for their private wealth, destroying human cultures along with it.”
Lierre Keith
“It’s time to put away our fairytales, all of them, and assume our responsibilities, the adult responsibilities that begin with adult knowledge. Our planet needs us. She needs us to think like healers and act like warriors. And if you think that’s a contradiction, then get out of the way.”
Lierre Keith
“Life is literally a process of one creature eating another, whether it’s bacteria breaking down plants or animals, plants strangling each other, animals going for the throat, or viruses attacking animals. “All of nature is a conjugation of the verb ‘to eat,’” in the words of William Ralph Inge.”
Lierre Keith
“I think the biggest reason otherwise radical people don't want to face the necessity of ending industrial civilization is privilege. We're the ones reaping the benefits. We've sold out the rest of life on earth for convenience, creature comforts, and cheap consumer goods, and it's appalling. I'm sickened by this bargain.”
Lierre Keith
“There is a name for the tsunami wave of extermination: the Holocene extinction event. There's no asteroid this time, only human behavior, behavior that we could choose to stop. Adolph Eichman's excuse was that no one told him that the concentration camps were wrong. We've all seen the pictures of the drowning polar bears. Are we so ethically numb that we need to be told this is wrong?”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“Intimacy requires a slow, cumulative build of safety between people who agree to a relationship, an ongoing connection of care and concern. The performance of pain is essentially a form of bonding over trauma, and people can get addicted to their endorphins.”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“The violence of hierarchy is the violence that the powerful use against the dispossessed to keep them subordinated. As an example, the violence committed for wealth is socially invisible or committed at enough of a distance that its beneficiaries don't have to be aware of it. This type of violence has defined every imperialist war in the history of the US that has been fought to get access to "natural resources" for corporations to turn into the cheap consumer goods that form the basis of the American way of life.”
Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“Dr. Steven Bratman has coined the term orthorexia nervosa, a pathological fixation on eating proper food.”
Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
“Our planet needs us. She needs us to think like healers and act like warriors. If you think that's a contradiction, then get out of the way.”
Lierre Keith
“This is why militarism is a feminist issue, why rape is an environmental issue, why environmental destruction is a peace issue.”
Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
“Do we want to feel better or do we want to be effective? Are we sentimentalists or are we warriors?”
Lierre Keith
“And just as agriculture has displaced species-dense communities with its monocrops, its diet has displaced the nutrient-dense foods that humans need, replacing them with mononutrients of sugar and starch. This displacement led immediately to a drop in human stature as agriculture spread - the evidence couldn’t be clearer. The reasons are just as clear. Meat contains protein, minerals, and fats, fats that we need to metabolize those proteins and minerals. In contrast, grains are basically carbohydrates: what protein they do contain is low quality - lacking essential amino acids - and comes wrapped in indigestible fiber. Grains are essentially sugar with enough opioids to make them addictive.”
Lierre Keith
“As of now, it takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of food energy for humans—somewhere between four and ten calories of fossil fuel for a calorie of food. The fossil fuel is in both the fertilizer and the pesticides, and it’s essential to the machinery needed to plant, harvest, process, and transport grain. All told, an acre of corn drinks about fifty gallons of oil.”
Lierre Keith
“Plants have to eat, too,” I tried to explain. “They need nitrogen, they need minerals. You have to replace what you’re taking out. Your choices are fossil fuels or animal products.”
Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
tags: nature
“Inhabitants of urban industrial cultures have no point of contact with grain, chickens, cows, or, for that matter, with topsoil. We have no basis of experience to outweigh the arguments of political vegetarians. We have no idea what plants, animals, or soil eat, or how much. Which means we have no idea what we ourselves are eating.”
Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
“Our best hope will never lie in individual survivalism. Nor does it lie in small groups doing their best to prepare for the worst. Our best and only hope is a resistance movement that is willing to face the scale of the horrors, gather our forces, and fight like hell for all we hold dear.”
Lierre Keith


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