No matter what we call it, poison is still poison, death is still death, and industrial civilization is still causing the greatest mass extinction in the history of the planet.
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APADerrick Jensen Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=no-matter-what-we-call-it-poison-is-still-poison-death-is-still-death-industrial-civilization-is-still-causing-greatest-mass-extinction-in-history-derrick-jensen
ChicagoDerrick Jensen Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=no-matter-what-we-call-it-poison-is-still-poison-death-is-still-death-industrial-civilization-is-still-causing-greatest-mass-extinction-in-history-derrick-jensen, accessed .
MLA"Derrick Jensen Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=no-matter-what-we-call-it-poison-is-still-poison-death-is-still-death-industrial-civilization-is-still-causing-greatest-mass-extinction-in-history-derrick-jensen
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A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope doesn't kill you, nor did it make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems - you ceased hoping your problems somehow get solved, through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon, or even the Earth itself - and you just began doing what's necessary to solve your problems yourself.
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It's no wonder we don't defend the land where we live. We don't live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.
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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.
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I am not a Buddhist. Yet there is a Buddhist story that I hold dear. A monk walks in a forest, and chances upon a tiger. The tiger chases him, and the monk runs until he comes to a cliff. With the tiger on his heels, the man grasps a vine and clambers down. Another tiger appears at the bottom. As the man hangs there, a mouse crawls from a crevice just beyond his reach and begins to gnaw the vine. Death above, death below, and death in between. He sees a big ripe strawberry near his mouth. It is delicious. In this moment, flying miles above the strawberry fields of California's San Joachin Valley, I think that I would change the ending of this story. Instead of giving the doomed man a strawberry, what if we leave him alone with the two tigers, the mouse, and the fraying vine? For the last time, his arms grow tired, he feels a familiar ache deep in his muscles. For the last time he catches his breath, feels a rasping in his throat and lungs. He feels this, and a thousand other things. It is all delicious.
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What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other's sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover's face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze? What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?
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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?
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This culture destroys landbases. That's what it does. When you think of Iraq, is the first thing that comes to mind cedar forests so thick that sunlight never touched the ground? One of the first written myths of this culture is about Gilgamesh deforesting the hills and valleys of Iraq to build a great city. The Arabian Peninsula used to be oak savannah. The Near East was heavily forested (we've all heard of the cedars of Lebanon). Greece was heavily forested. North Africa was heavily forested. We'll say it again: this culture destroys landbases. And it won't stop doing so because we ask nicely.
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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.
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Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens.
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