Tag Archives: creative response to ecocide

Time to Focus on Lifeboats

We launch this twelfth DP navigation with the most consequential graphic visualization of our prevailing crisis, vividly depicting increases in global surface temp between the years of 1880 and 2021.



The notion of a “desperado philosophy” descends from the plight of Melville’s imagined Pequod, in the midst of its own environmental catastrophe, an experience recorded by sole survivor Ishmael, saved by the “life buoy” of Queequeg’s handcrafted coffin. Queequeg, whose inscribed body was itself a kind of novel, recording the distant past and destiny of his own people.

The practice of desperado philosophy, or some may call it a vocation, requires that we remain calm even in the midst of the most violent riptides. Yes, the ship may be foundering on the rocks of our own past navigational errors; yet we know that panic will only make the situation worse.

Switching metaphors, though we agree with Greta Thunberg that we must act like our house (or ship) is on fire; that does not mean we should trample each other to death on the way to the exits, or scratch & claw over lifejackets.

As climate emergency deepens, whether expressed through the slow violence of drought and famine or through more dramatic phenomena such as bomb cyclones and wildfires, let’s stop focussing on the sinking Titanic and focus on the vibrant creativity required for the design, construction and sustenance of viable lifeboats, by which we mean community-scaled projects with a focus on resilience, skill-building, local self-reliance and climate adaptation.

To those who object that a focus on lifeboats sounds like doom & gloom, we respond: no, doom & gloom is NO lifeboats. 

This year, we will be posting less frequently, likely closer to a twice monthly rather than weekly rhythm, including occasional posts that will feature lifeboats worthy of close consideration for DP reader support and even replication. Given the scale of the challenges, there is no limit on how many lifeboats we will need. In the end, some may work better than others, yet there is no way to make that evaluation in advance. As always, we rely upon you, our DP community of readers, to guide this voyage. If you know of lifeboats in your own communities worthy of consideration and support, please send links.

We need to communicate, collaborate and co-create now more than ever before. Cheers to all for the year ahead; it promises to be another wild one.






Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.42.58 AM A correspondent has alerted us to the recent republication of a manifesto for possibly the most significant body of writing, creating and thinking to emerge from the financial chaos of 2008: Uncivilisation. Worth a close reading in its entirely, the manifesto concludes with a statement of principles that resonate strongly here at DP:

dm1 dm2


Robinson Jeffers serves as something of a muse for the Dark Mountain Project, as he does here at DP, and we note the citation from his poem, Carmel Point:

carmel Yes, as we enter into yet another chapter of the ongoing and deeper financial crisis that will shake our shallow notions of civilization to the core, we must uncenter our minds from ourselves.

We salute our friends on their voyage into uncivilisation, for they are trying to “think like a mountain”, and so are we. They have created, and absorbed, a good deal of heat via their manifesto, yet we commend them for having bravely faced the appalling facts of the deepening ecocide, and for having drawn their own autonomous conclusions.

As they write in their introduction to the 2015 edition:


Creative engagement and dialogue with the core ideas of Uncivilization will be an ongoing process for DP, as we venture ahead into a gravely uncertain future. We may stumble, yet we do so confidently, confident as the rock and ocean that we were made from.

For now, we close with a poem from another of our favorite poets, Jon Swan: