Paul Kingsnorth: Portrait of a Recovering Environmentalist

2018, Environment  -   5 Comments
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Ratings: 6.67/10 from 21 users.

An acclaimed novelist and poet, Paul Kingsnorth has also served as one of the most vocal and determined environmental activists. He inspired many throughout the world with his thoughts on conservation, and his belief that humanity could play the key role in saving the world from the ravages of climate change. But that was yesterday. In the vpro documentary Paul Kingsnorth: Portrait of a Recovering Environmentalist, we meet a man who no longer believes we can save the world.

He now lives on the outskirts of the grid in Ireland, where he remains committed to maintaining an efficient, sustainable life. It's a commendable way of life he and his family have adopted, but he's under no illusions that it will make a bit of difference in the larger fight against climate change.

He recognizes that steps have been taken to curb the ill effects of the crisis, but he believes that the global approach to the problem has been misguided.

Firstly, wind turbines and solar panels would have to blanket the entirety of the Earth in order to satisfy our world's dependence on energy. For Kingsnorth, that concept is both impractical and immoral, because it presumes that nature's role is solely to accommodate our activities. By calling upon the powers of industry to resolve our climate issues, we're essentially regarding the natural world as an entity for financial gain. Climate change technologies are exploiting the very resources they are designed to protect. They're intruders on the landscape, their bombastic sounds disturb the natural order, and their turbine panels destroy vast amounts of bird life.

In order to truly combat climate change, Kingsnorth asserts, we must change our way of thinking as a modern species. We must reclaim our sense of the divinity of nature, and stand before it with humility. Without this, the technologies will prove meaningless.

Throughout the film, Kingsnorth rides a wave between cynicism, aspiration and resignation. His approach to the issue of climate change has evolved significantly over the years. His once fiery brand of impassioned activism has given way to a more reflective and philosophical rhetoric.

Kingsnorth: Portrait of a Recovering Environmentalist may prove depressing and defeating to some. Others may find a greater truth in the film, and one in which they can extrapolate their own sense of hope.

Directed by: Tomas Kaan

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5 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Devil Travels

    Paul Kingsnorth certainly has a narrow, even binary, view of the world and holds some false beliefs. In fact, he is so focused on his little piece of the planet that he can't see there's an entire universe around him.

  2. Joe Zorzin

    He isn't really a recovering environmentalist- he's one who has decided to change his lifestyle to make it have less impact on the world.

  3. Conspiracy 2Riot

    This is the most realistic & honest interview I've ever saw, regarding the environmental movement, which really should be called 'green capitalism'. He's right. People are clamoring for 'sustainable' everything, but expect nothing in lifestyles to change.

    And so it the same for these fake NGO's & Extinction Rebellion, which isn't a rebellion by a long shot. It's a way for young people to FEEL like they're making a difference, when the end game goal for corporations & capitalism is to rebrand themselves as green and responsible. Then sell the same things that destroy natural habitat...because capitalism demands natural capital to exist.

    It's still going to be a consumer driven market. Not a need based market. And they're going to trick everyone into demanding their pensions be handed over to smart, sensible, environmentally friendly investment firms to finance these fake solutions.

    Wind, Solar, Hydro, Nuclear...none of these forms of energy are parachuted into locations w/o fossil fuels helping them every step of the way. From the Mining, Manufacturing, Transport, Set up & Maintenance...fossil fuels are required. This seems to be lost on everyone.

    Besides which, were we to even be able to draw down GHG's being emitted, we'd cause Global Dimming to be diminished or go away altogether. Do that and for quite some time we'll heat even more rapidly.

    There are no solutions to our problems that can be answered with the technology we have. Zero.

    1. Devil Travels

      Technology advances have provided more energy efficient tools and a better standard of living. It's the increase in population and demand that has given the illusion that things are not getting better.
      But if we stop thinking of this planet as all there is, then the illusion will change perspective.

  4. Jackal

    Can you imagine every family in the world using up as much space as his family to survive in the particular style which he has chosen? His sort really has no consideration for other people.