Deep Green Resistance.. Warriors against Ecocide


Deep Green Resistance

From Wikipedia,Deep Green Resistance (DGR) is an aboveground environmental movement that views mainstream environmental activism as being largely ineffective.[1]DGR also refers to the strategy described by the movement for saving the Earth.DGR believes that industrial civilization is endangering all life on the planet, and that a broad range of tactics are needed to achieve environmental and social justice in decisive material ways.

It advocates for a radical shift in society’s structure and function and calls for humans to actively fight for the Earth. DGR’s goals are to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and to stop those in power from destroying the planet.

DGR argues that these effects are systemic to the culture of civilization and thus aims to stop industrial civilization altogether.

Ultimately, Deep Green Resistance intends for the health of landbases to be restored, for indigenous peoples to regain their cultural integrity and land rights, and for the human communities that inhabit the earth to be egalitarian, just, and sustainable. DGR has gained attention because of its controversial nature–it advocates a pragmatic approach to saving the earth, utilizing whatever means necessary to stop destruction of the natural world.

DGR promotes the defense and restoration of landbases, and the recognition that most of the land belongs to indigenous peoples, who are suffering under foreign military occupation. DGR also aligns itself with radical feminist, indigenous rights, anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist movements, as well as other social justice issues. As an organization, it actively educates the public about the need for resistance and uses examples from past and current resistance movements, and advocates for a world where biodiversity increases from year to year. Due to security risks and surveillance, DGR maintains a strict firewall towards any possible underground.

Deep Green Resistance
Deep Green Resistance.jpg
Founder(s) Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Aric McBay
Founded 2011
Headquarters Active in at least 7 countries
Focus Environmental justice, Social justice
Method Direct action, education, lobbying
WHITE CLAY, NE—Five activists with Deep Green Resistance  were arrested on Sunday, August 26th 2012, at 7:40pm for blockading the town of White Clay, Nebraska.
Support DGR Blockaders Arrested in White Clay


The Deep Green Resistance movement believes that civilization, particularly industrial civilization, is fundamentally unsustainable and must be actively dismantled in order to secure a livable future for all species on the planet.[1] DGR identifies several traits that make industrial civilization a threat to the planet. Civilization can be defined by the development of agriculture and the growth of cities. [2]

Deep Green Resistance argues that agriculture is detrimental to land fertility and cities necessarily surpass the natural carrying capacity of land bases. Civilization relies heavily on industry, which operates largely on non-renewable and unclean fossil fuels. In geological time civilization is a recent phenomenon and DGR argues that its expansion has resulted in the loss of a great deal of traditional knowledge.

DGR’s principles stem from the concept of Deep Ecology and states that all species are inherently equal, and thus that humans are not superior to any other form of life. Deep Ecology attributes the current environmental crisis to the anthropocentrism that is embedded in Western perspectives. The term, first used by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, was quickly taken up by a variety of radical environmental groups, such as Earth First!.[3] Deep ecology provides a foundation upon which to base the cross-cultural nature-based spirituality that is often associated with radical environmental movements.[4]

The movement differentiates itself from Bright green environmentalism, which is characterized by a focus on personal, technological, or government and corporate solutions,[1] in that it holds these solutions as inadequate. DGR believes that lifestyle changes, such as using travel mugs and reusable bags and taking shorter showers, are too small for the large scale environmental problems the world faces. It also states that the recent surge in environmentalism has become commercial in nature, and thus it in itself has been industrialized. The movement asserts that per capita industrial waste produced is orders of magnitude greater than personal waste produced; therefore, it is industrialism that must be ended, and with that, lifestyle changes will follow.[2]


The Deep Green perspective argues that the dominant culture, a term that encompasses all the cultures within globalized civilization, will not undergo a voluntary transformation to a sustainable way of living. This includes the dismissal of a possible success of a slow and soft shift to sustainability.

Individuals of the Deep Green movement believe that industrial civilization will inevitably collapse. This notion is based on historical evidence of the collapse of major civilizations such as Rome or the Mayan civilization. DGR maintains that humans must act decisively before the collapse to ensure the Earth that remains is inhabitable for all organisms and that humans build a more sustainably structured society following the collapse.[2] Deep Green Resistance supports an active resistance movement with the objective of accelerating the collapse of industrial civilization.[1]

Within the Deep Green theory, lifestyle or personal changes are not considered effective methods of creating meaningful change. The mainstream environmental movement is seen as being distracted by its emphasis on individual lifestyle changes and technological solutions instead of confronting systems of power and holding individuals, industries, and institutions accountable.[5][6] The founders of the Deep Green movement view technological solutions, no matter how well intentioned, as unsatisfactory and warn that they could even lead to accelerated ecological destruction and pollution [2](see Jevons Paradox). The Deep Green movement looks to pre-industrial and pre-civilization, land-based cultures as models for sustainable ways of living.[1]

Origins and advocates

The term was created for a conference entitled “Deep Green Resistance. Confronting Industrial Culture” in April, 2007 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Lierre Keith was the main organizer.

Deep Green theory draws on elements of anthropology, phenomenology, deep ecology and ecofeminism.

Derrick Jensen is a prominent public advocate of Deep Green Resistance. In addition to being a radical activist, he is also a writer, philosopher and teacher. Lierre Keith, another well-known supporter, is a feminist activist, writer and small farmer. Another advocate is activist, writer and organic farmer Aric McBay.[2] Waziyatawin, Stephanie McMillan, and Jack D. Forbes are also prominent influences on the movement. DGR draws on the philosophy and writings of many authors, including Richard Manning, Andrea Dworkin, Peggy Reeves Sanday, David Abram, Chellis Glendinning, Chris Hedges, Joseph Tainter, Richard Heinberg, Daniel Quinn, Zoe Blunt and Jerry Mander, among others.[1]

Literature and references

A book titled Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen was released in May 2011, from Seven Stories Press.[7] The book is divided into four sections: Resistance, Organization, Strategy and Tactics, and the Future. Each section contains several essays written by McBay or Keith and concludes with Jensen’s answers to common questions about resistance. The book intends to provide a framework from which readers can build upon in order to begin fighting for environmental change.[2]


Major opposition against Deep Green Resistance is similar to opposition toward anarcho-primitivism and Deep Ecology. Opponents claim that technology and social changes will exist in the future to solve the problems. They also frequently state that advocates of DGR’s beliefs are merely misanthropic, destructive nihilists, and that the end of industrial civilization would pose a moral dilemma because of the need for a reduced population (due to the end of industrial agriculture and mass production) and the relinquishment of life-saving technologies. Therefore, many argue that DGR does not offer a feasible or desirable alternative human lifestyle.[8] Opponents believe that DGR’s goals are unrealistic because they are too extreme to become widely accepted in society.

Deep Green Resistance is controversial, in a large part, because it does not condemn violent action if used as a necessary means by which to invoke environmental change. While DGR maintains that it is a strictly aboveground movement and denies having an underground, it actively encourages underground action, and provides the theoretical and aboveground framework to support such action.[9] This is largely viewed as ecoterrorism by critics,[10] and can be a deterrent to environmentalists who believe in nonviolent activism.[11]

The DGR movement has also come under fire by anarchists (particularly anarcho-primitivists) for asserting what they feel is a hierarchical and authoritarian approach to resistance against civilization. Anarcho-primitivist writers like John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker and others have criticized, among other things, DGR’s Code of Conduct, a lack of historical understanding of revolution and what is being perceived as a cult of personality around Jensen and Keith.[12][13][14][15]
It may also be true that, as the environment’s degradation[16] increases, DGR’s viewpoint becomes more and more the only game in town. The Earth First![17] / Edward Abbey[18] perspective around monkey-wrenching[19] and eco-tage[20] were, arguably, a problematic way of addressing problems at that time (for an interesting display of division within the green radical movement on a previous occasion when a perspective similar to that held by DGR was popular, see the book Defending the Earth[21], which recounts debate between Earth First!’s David Foreman[22] and the social ecologist Murray Bookchin[23], centered around statements on the part of Foreman that Bookchin deemed anti-human). Now, it is possible that the ecological inertia[24] and the inertia of the global capitalist-industrial system[25] means that only such methods are meaningful.

Many are, and should be, discomfited by such suggestions. However, it is a long time since the Club of Rome[26] report ‘Limits to Growth’[27], the Brundtland report[28], and subsequent efforts to engage international governmental and corporate support were instituted (for example the Kyoto[29] and Rio[30] summits under the auspices of the UN), and many would now perceive them as having failed[31] [32] (and, to the extent that they are argued to have been successful, many would argue that there has been a profit protecting greenwash[33] [34] to hide minimal actual change). DGR is one easily explicable response to a situation that many perceive as beyond control. It’s members seek to fight back, and see themselves as tomorrow’s freedom fighters, whilst being fully aware that the underground (perhaps willing to use physical coercion, for example) part of the movement, at least, is currently more likely to be perceived as terrorist in nature, though the overground[35] part of the movement is more subtle, adhering to a code of conduct[36]. In the book, the activities of an underground are signposted more than they are explicated, which is a wise move on the part of it’s authors. And, in fact, they seek to inform and educate on ‘security’ and ‘warfare’ whilst at the same time denying that they represent an ‘underground’:

“It provides an exploration of organizational structures, recruitment, security, and target selection for both aboveground and underground* action. Deep Green Resistance also discusses a culture of resistance and the crucial support role that it can play.

“Deep Green Resistance is a plan of action for anyone determined to fight for this planet—and win

“*Note: We are strictly an aboveground movement. We will not answer questions regarding anyone’s personal desire to be in or form an underground. We do this for the security of all involved with Deep Green Resistance.”[37]

Further critique from this perspective, quite strongly expressed (the article accuses DGR of ‘crypto-green-fascism’) can be seen on the Libcom website, for example (

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f “Derrick Jensen” Presentation at Deep Green Resistance Workshop, 26 September 2009. Crescent City, CA
  2. ^ a b c d e f McBay, Aric, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen. 2011. Deep Green Resistance. New York: Seven Stories Press.
  3. ^Jacob, Merle. 1994. “Sustainable Development and Deep Ecology: An Analysis of Competing Traditions.”
    It has been a painful day for me. Two pieces of news came in this morning: one about the massacre of an Yanomami settlement in the Amazon, and the other about Obama green lighting Shell’s drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Resource wars connect the Yanomami of the Amazon with the Iñupiat of the Arctic. ….

    Environmental Management 18(4):477-488.

  4. ^ Taylor, Bron. 2001. “Earth and Nature-Based Spirituality (Part I): From Deep Ecology to Radical Environmentalism.” Religion 31:175-193.
  5. ^ Orion Magazine, Jul/Aug 2009.
  6. ^ “A Context for FG.” Fertile Ground Webpage. Accessed 6 October 2009
  7. ^ Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet Amazon product details. Accessed 30 May 2011.
  8. ^ 2012. “Deep Green Resistance: Occupy Until it all Falls Apart.” The Right Planet. <> Accessed March 30, 2012.
  9. ^ 2012. Deep Green Resistance. 23 Feb. 2012. <>.
  10. ^ Aardvark, Tory. 2012. “Meet Deep Green Resistance the Ecoterrorist Group.” <> Accessed March 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Naylor, Thomas H. “Deep Green Resistance: A Revolutionary’s Handbook Disguised as a Book on Deep Ecology.” Counterpunch. <> Accessed March 30, 2012.
  12. ^ Whittenberg-James, Bobby. 2011. “Down Graded Resistance: A Critique of DGR” <> Accessed May 21, 2012.
  13. ^ Tucker, Kevin. 2011. “A Response to the Deep Green Resistance”<> Accessed May 21, 2012.
  14. ^ Enkidu. 2011. “Authority and Civilization” <> Accessed May 21, 2012.
  15. ^ Zerzan, John. 2011. “Anarchy Radio 03-08-2011” <> Accessed May 22, 2012.
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