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“Does anyone beside me experience a deep sorrow that someone called a "Hero for the Planet" and a "star of the sustainability movement" is designing truck factories and Nike headquarters? Ninety percent of the large fish in the ocean are gone. Ninety-seven percent of the world's native forests have been cut. There are 2 million dams just in the United States. Once-mighty flocks of passenger pigeons are gone. Islands full of great aucks, gone. Rich runs of salmon, gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. The oceans are filled with plastic. Every stream in the United States is contaminated with carcinogens. The world is being killed, and this is the respond? Not only am I angry, not only am I disgusted, I am also deeply, deeply sorrowful.

And I am deeply ashamed.

We need to act differently. ”
Derrick Jensen, What We Leave Behind
“I wish that my childhood would have been different. I do not, however, regret what happened. This does not mean tht I would gladly go through it again. But mythologies of all times and all places tell us that those who enter the abyss and survive can bring back important lessons. I have no need to merely imagine the unimaginable. And I will no longer forget. I have learned that whether I choose to feel or not, pain exists, and whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, atrocities continue. I have grown to understand that in the shadow of the unspeakable I can and must speak and act against our culture's tangled web of destructiveness, and stop the destruction at its roots.”
Derrick Jensen
“It's okay to be happy, it's okay to live your life exactly the way you want it... It's okay to find what makes you happy and then to fight for it. To dedicate your life to discovering who you are.”
Derrick Jensen, Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
“The global industrial economy is the engine for massive environmental degradation and massive human (and nonhuman) impoverishment.”
Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization
“The only real job of a teacher, especially a writing teacher, is to help students find themselves.”
Derrick Jensen, Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
“It’s unavoidable: so long as we value money more highly than living beings and more highly than relationships, we will continue to see living beings as resources, and convert them to cash; objectifying, killing, extirpating. This is true whether we’re talking about fish, fur-bearing mammals, Indians, day-laborers, and so on. If monetary value is attached to something it will be exploited until it’s gone.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“I had broken the most basic commandment of our culture: Thou shalt pretend there is nothing wrong.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“The task we all face as human beings ... is to find and become who we are. The task teachers face is to find their own way of teaching, one that manifests who they are.”
Derrick Jensen
“I wondered what it does to each of us to spend the majority of our waking hours doings things we'd rather not do, wishing we were outside or simply elsewhere, wishing we were reading, thinking, making love, fishing, sleeping, or simply having time to figure out who the hell we are and what the hell we're doing.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“a real partnership in which all parties help all others to be more fully themselves”
Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization
“Question four: What book would you give to every child?
Answer: I wouldn't give them a book. Books are part of the problem: this strange belief that a tree has nothing to say until it is murdered, its flesh pulped, and then (human) people stain this flesh with words. I would take children outside and put them face to face with chipmunks, dragonflies, tadpoles, hummingbirds, stones, rivers, trees, crawdads.
That said, if you're going to force me to give them a book, it would be The Wind In The Willows, which I hope would remind them to go outside.”
Derrick Jensen
“By deafening ourselves to the emotional consequences of violence we have become confused by its relationship to sex. We have come to believe that violence equals aggression, and we have come to base our model of sexuality on our model of violence... converting an act of aggression into an act of consensual sexuality.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“Last December I saw an advertisement outside an electronics store. There was a little boy, delirious with delight, surrounded by computers, stereos, and other gadgets. The text read: “We know what your child wants for Christmas.” I stared at the poster, then said to no one in particular, “What your child wants for Christmas is your love, but if he can’t get that, he’ll settle for a bunch of electronic crap.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“This is the key to understanding the difference between indigenous and civilized warfare: Even in warfare the indigenous maintain relationships with their honored enemy. This is the key to understanding the difference between indigenous and civilized ways of living. This is only one of many things those we enslave could tell us, if only we asked: They, too, are alive, and present another way of living, a way of living that is not - in contradistinction to our God and our Science and our Capitalism and everything else in our lives - jealous. It is an inclusive way of living. They could tell us that things don't have to be the way they are.”
Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe
“The fundamental metaphor of National Socialism as it related to the world around it was the garden, not the wild forest. One of the most important Nazi ideologists, R.W. Darré, made clear the relationship between gardening and genocide: “He who leaves the plants in a garden to themselves will soon find to his surprise that the garden is overgrown by weeds and that even the basic character of the plants has changed. If therefore the garden is to remain the breeding ground for the plants, if, in other words, it is to lift itself above the harsh rule of natural forces, then the forming will of a gardener is necessary, a gardener who, by providing suitable conditions for growing, or by keeping harmful influences away, or by both together, carefully tends what needs tending and ruthlessly eliminates the weeds which would deprive the better plants of nutrition, air, light, and sun. . . . Thus we are facing the realization that questions of breeding are not trivial for political thought, but that they have to be at the center of all considerations, and that their answers must follow from the spiritual, from the ideological attitude of a people. We must even assert that a people can only reach spiritual and moral equilibrium if a well-conceived breeding plan stands at the very center of its culture.”
Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe
“Let's be honest. The activities of our economic and social system are killing the planet. Even if we confine ourselves merely to humans, these activities are causing an unprecedented privation, as hundreds of millions of people-and today more than yesterday, with probably more tomorrow-go their entire lives with never enough to eat. Yet curiously, none of this seems to stir us to significant action. And when someone does too stridently point out these obvious injustices, the response by the mass of the people seems so often to be . . . a figurative if not physical blow to the gut, leading inevitably to a destruction of our common future. Witness the enthusiasm with which those native nations that resisted their conquest by our culture have been subdued, and the eagerness with which this same end is today brought to those-native or not-who continue to resist too strongly. How does this come to happen, in both personal and social ways?”
Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe
“Violence, and evil, doesn't always come dressed in black, and it doesn't always look like Charles Manson. Nor does it always come to us as obvious and arrogant[...]. Often it comes to us with the simple plea to be reasonable.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“Does anyone really believe that a pattern of exploitation old as our civilization can be halted legislatively, judicially, or through any means other than an absolute rejection of the mindset that engineers the exploitation in the first place, followed by actions based on that rejection? This means if we want to stop the destruction, we have to root out the mindset.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“Death is, and must be, deeply emotional. To intentionally cause death is to engender a form of intimacy, one that we’re not used to thinking about. To kill without emotion and without respect, or to ignore the intimacy inherent in the act, is to rob it of its dignity, and to rob the life that you are ending of its significance. By robbing death and life of significance we reduce ourselves to the machines Descartes dreamed about. And we deny our own significance.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“ISOLATION DOES STRANGE THINGS to a person’s mind. This is true for any social creature, human or otherwise. Monkeys taken from their mothers at birth, placed alone in stainless-steel chambers, and deprived of contact with other animals (“human and subhuman” alike, according to the researchers), develop irreversible mental illnesses. As one of the experts in this field, Harry Harlow, put it: “sufficiently severe and enduring social isolation reduces these animals to a social-emotional level in which the primary social responsiveness is fear.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“So while this is a book about fighting back, in the end this is a book about love. The songbirds and the salmon need your heart, no matter how weary, because even a broken heart is still made of love. They need your heart because they are disappearing, slipping into that longest night of extinction, and the resistance is nowhere in sight. We will have to build that resistance from whatever comes to hand: whispers and prayers, history and dreams, from our bravest words and braver actions. It will be hard, there will be a cost, and in too many implacable dawns it will seem impossible. But we will have to do it anyway. So gather your heart and join with every living being. With love as our First Cause, how can we fail?”
Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet
“When dams were erected on the Columbia, salmon battered themselves against the concrete, trying to return home. I expect no less from us. We too must hurl ourselves against and through the literal and metaphorical concrete that contains and constrains us, that keeps us from talking about what is most important to us, that keeps us from living the way our bones know we can, that bars us from our home. It only takes one person to bring down a dam.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“I waited for him to come out. He didn't. I considered going in after him, but knew the fact that I had readied myself to kill him did not mean that he had readied himself to die.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“Perception is of course intimately tied to preconception. I have, as is true for each of us, a pair of cultural eyeglasses that will determine to greater or lesser degree what will be in focus, what will be a blur, what gives me a headache, and what I cannot see. I was raised a Christian—the mythology resides deep in my bones—and I know the story of Jesus nearly as well as I know my own. Until my late teens I couldn’t see some of the darker acts perpetrated in the name of Christ. I still feel a twinge each time I say, “I am not a Christian,” a slight apprehension that I may have gone too far. Sometimes I look up, a small part of my upbringing still telling me that my blasphemy will call forth a bolt of lightning from the sky.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“I no longer see Descartes' statement as arbitrary. It is representative of our culture's narcissism. This narcissism leads to a disturbing disrespect for direct experience and a negation of the body.”
Derrick Jensen
“Have you ever felt love?

Did you need scientific proof of this? How would you have definitively and scientifically proved your love existed? If you could not prove it, would that mean your love didn't exist? What would you trust: your own feelings, or science?”
Derrick Jensen
“Make no mistake, our economic system can do no other than destroy everything it encounters. That’s what happens when you convert living beings to cash. That conversion, from living trees to lumber, schools of cod to fish sticks, and onward to numbers on a ledger, is the central process of our economic system. Psychologically, it is the central process of our enculturation; we are most handsomely rewarded in direct relation to the manner in which we can help increase the Gross National Product.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“I said that I feel bad whenever I drive, because I’m adding to global warming. The Maori nodded agreement. So did Jeannette. Then she added fervently, “But you didn’t set up the system. Do what you can, but don’t identify with the problem. If you internalize what is not yours, you fight not only them but yourself as well. Take responsibility only for that which you’re responsible—your own thoughts and actions. You didn’t make the car culture, you didn’t set up factory farming. Do what you can to shut those things down.”
Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words
“Even if through simple living and rigorous recycling you stopped your own average Americans annual one ton of garbage production, your per capita share of the industrial waste produced in the US is still almost twenty-six tons. That's thirty-seven times as much waste as you were able to save by eliminating a full 100 percent of your personal waste. Industrialism itself is what has to stop.”
Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance
“The fundamental difference between civilized and indigenous ways of being is that for even the most open-minded of the civilized, listening to the natural world is a metaphor. For traditional indigenous peoples it is not a metaphor; it is how you relate to the real world.”
Derrick Jensen, Dreams


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A Language Older Than Words A Language Older Than Words
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Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization Endgame, Vol. 1
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The Culture of Make Believe The Culture of Make Believe
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Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance Endgame, Vol. 2
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