Dark Ecology Book Club

The book we are starting with is

Book club style would be to set a deadline for reading a chapter, and then we all report about our reflections on the text. What do folks think? We could continue with other books after this one.


Here is a Worldcat search for this ISBN (9780571329694), which depending on your browser settings should detect your location and show libraries which have it on catalog, sorted by proximity.


very interested! conflicted on how to purchase it since it’s not in any chicago libraries…

Just placed a hold at the local library.

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I also reserved this one at my local Bib.

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I’m in for this.

That reference is handy, but sadly the nearest one is several states away from me. Might have to resort to amazon on this one.

This sounds interesting. I’ll try to get my hands on a copy.

I’m also trying to get my hands on a copy!

Definitely encourage folks to read the whole book, but many of the essays are on Paul’s website. Here’s the first one:


Since the essays aren’t particularly long, I’d suggest we do a deadline for each “section” rather than the each essay? Even as a slow reader, this isn’t a difficult read (save the very dark tone :sweat_smile:).

I’m a bit torn on that. Given this book is more collage than philosophy tome, it both is and isn’t reliant on a kind of structural argument in a weird way.


This essay is interesting but exasperating.


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Kingsnorth has been criticised in the UK by a number of writers for embracing what appears to be a “blood and soil” type of nationalism.

He is a good writer, of that there is no doubt and, no question, he is thought provoking. His two novels are a good read, BUT and this is perhaps a big but, I took the protagonist’s views in the first book (The Wake) as satirical but subsequent reading of and about Kingsnorth suggests that perhaps that was me projecting.

So - intriguing stuff and I shall be reading this thread with interest


The first section “Collapse” contains these essays:

A Crisis of Bigness
The Mathematics of Falling Away
The Drowned World
The Space Race is Over
The Quants and the Poets
A Short History of Loss

Yes, I agree.



I’d also like to suggest some trigger warnings; I was super not prepared for how dark the book lands right out of the gate. Extended thoughts on suicide and 9/11 in an environmental tome are unusual (re: The Mathematics of Falling Away). That’s as far as I’ve read, so that’s my only point of concern at this time.


The “dark” part of “dark ecology” is no joke.

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i’d be very curious to read these critiques, will go looking for them.

nowadays it’s common to interpret “nationalism” as xenophobia— which i didn’t exactly detect in any of his writing, though i could’ve missed it. what i interpreted as his nationalism is his commitment to a sense of place and connection to an environment— he’s much more harsh towards jet-setting internationalists.

to sidetrack (or perhaps fully related), i’d be curious to hear others’ opinions of edward abbey.


I’m generally aligned with Edward Abbey, except with regard to immigration. While I can sympathize with concerns about overpopulation, I feel that closing borders simply dodges the issue. It would be far healthier to welcome all (open borders) and work to accommodate all in the most sustainable manner possible (obviously, due to overpopulation, this should include a strong family planning policy set, as well as equitable access to higher education, which strongly correlates to declining population growth).

If we close borders, we simply create division and discord, ultimately leading to war and genocide. Non-human life suffers as much if not more than human life under such circumstances.

We have to take care of all life on earth. And that includes humans.

EDIT: I live in a Hispanic community. It really helps me see that our current status of fear mongering around immigration is nothing but. The people who are trying so hard to find asylum in our country right now, are precisely the type of people we should be welcoming with open arms.

EDIT 2: Climate collapse is going to make global migration an increasing necessity. We better get used to it and embrace it. Otherwise we severely risk entering into a sort of climate fascism.


This is probably a good a place as any to find links to the debate around nationalism & landscape writing in the UK

I lurk around the edges of Hookland - and there is no doubt that David Southwell (the writer behind the hookland project) and others have needed to fend off those trying to claim “deep England” for their own purposes for example

The Wake by Kingsnorth, upon reflection, strongly mirrored the themes behind brexit. At the time like I say I took it to be satire but much less convinced of that now

I’m cautious about saying to dismiss his thinking. He is clearly a deep thinker and I wouldn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water as it were but I also wanted to sound a note of caution…

BTW I would highly recommend the film Arcadia mentioned in all this. Very very good indeed


Use of “indigenous” and “cultural appropriation” to justify fascism. I’m slightly less agog at these examples of Newspeak each time they prove to have become more numerous and insidious. Still pretty agog though.

Careful with your words, kids, and how others choose to use them. Stay vigilant in defense of your meaning.

Thank you @junklight for bringing this to our attention. I’m not from the UK, so large parts of the story are less obvious to me.


I’m generally aligned with a more enlightened approach to migration, but there are so many deeply entrenched institutions that would need to be modified for this to be viable…

For example, returning to my country I’m required to submit a paper form (?) declaring how many cigarettes I bought and whether I’ve been on a farm. This form is then electronically scanned PLUS I need to be vetted by some sort of functionary who asks me questions… Also my suitcase might be checked for cigarettes when leaving the airportzzz

How can we expect to freely allow movement when dumb shit like “Customs” continues to exist, this is just the tip of the iceberg…

It will take a more holistic approach to free movement, but there are many workers who depend on administrating defunct or antequated processes…

Fuck airports, basically.