How Peter Michael Bauer Found Rewilding, President Donald Trump, If Urban Scout Lives And Other Topics – Interview

Through his infamous blog Urban Scout and his project Rewild Portland, Peter Michael Bauer has become a prominent force within radical environmentalist culture, both online and offline.

Following the previous post featuring his 2012 talk on rewilding, we conducted an interview with him to get some of his current thoughts and hear about his current projects –

How did you first come to align yourself with anti-civ thought?

“When I was 16 I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and though later I learned his intention was not necessarily to create “anti-civ” thought, I have a hard time understanding how it would lead to anything else. I immediately dropped out of high school and ran away from home to learn ancestral skills from a school on the other side of the country. Later I went on to read some Jensen and Zerzan (and all the contributors to Green Anarchy magazine like Kevin Tucker, Red Wolf Returns, etc.).”

What does rewilding mean to you?

“For me, it means returning to a lifeway that sits within the ecology of a place. It’s hard to say exactly, because it requires clearly defining or redefining what it means to be wild. There are so many connotations to that idea that the word rewilding is never going to actually be able to mean what it means. We really need a better word, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment. I look to immediate-return gatherer-hunters for inspiration in what could be thought of as the most free or “wild” people. So in a sense, it’s returning to that way of life, or if that isn’t possible, a new way that functions in the same kind of way.

I also see it as a kind of torch. Because we are all captives yet aren’t meant to be, we carry the torch of freedom inside ourselves, and keep it alive by passing it from one generation to the next. It’s more than just an idea, it’s a deep feeling that says “This isn’t the way things are supposed to be.” So it’s kind of like a thousand-year escape plan. Or perhaps, hunkering in a bunker and planning what we will do and how we will live when the tornado (civilization) has passed. We can’t exactly live that way now (though we can do things to mitigate the pain that comes along with civilization), but we are striving in the direction of freedom and autonomy. Keeping our eye on the prize.”

Were there any specific life events that drew you to anti-civ thought?

“Ironically, playing the video game Sid Meier’s Civilization as a child really brought the forefront of civilization’s mythology to the surface of my consciousness. There are only two ways to win that game: colonization or genocide. So later in life when I began to learn about prehistory and civilized thought, it all made sense almost immediately. I think also having Star Wars and “The Force” as a sort of mythology and religion as a child made me want to connect on a deeper level with nature, and the experiences I had doing so gave me an empathy for the natural world, which led me to want to make the world a better place. So while those experiences don’t have direct connection to anti-civ thought, they made me interpret the ideas in a different way because I saw civilization as a force that was destructive to the natural world that I loved.”

Are there any books, writers, or philosophers you’d suggest to someone who is entering anti-civ discussions?

“I mean, I think the three classic big names are Quinn, Zerzan, and Jensen. I don’t really know what to suggest anymore, though, honestly. For me it’s more about geeking out and being in the milieu and following along with everyone. I think the Black and Green Review is a great way of following along with where a lot of contributors to the ideas in the movement are going. Because there is a diversity of writers, some fresh to the ideas and others more seasoned, it makes for a good dialogue. The main thing I would suggest is staying off the internet as much as possible and trying to have conversations and discussions around a campfire, or in coffee shops, living rooms, etc.—with people in real life.”

How did Rewild Portland come to be?

“Well, I realized there is no such thing as a hunter-gatherer, singular. If I was ever going to actually rewild, I needed to encourage enough people to join me so that we would have a culture. Then I realized that part of the reason that is difficult is because the current culture doesn’t allow alternative cultures to exist. So Rewild Portland was my attempt at bridging that divide: working the system to create a different one. Setting up the ideas and lifeways on a large enough scale so that when civilization goes down, this other story will be ready to take up. So long as civilization maintains a monopoly on violence, rewilding can’t happen in a real, meaningful way. Sure, you could probably go live in the forest with a handful of people without being arrested (if you are white), but that’s not really a culture, is it? I’m not into rewilding just myself. In fact, I think that is a misnomer. I’m working in the realm of what one might call “systemic rewilding.” Although 10 years ago, before all this “rewild yourself” self-help branding existed, that’s just what rewilding meant. Rewild Portland is basically groundwork for whatever comes next.”

What do you think is the best route for anti-civ activists to go down in response to the mass extinction event currently underway?

“I don’t think there is one right route for anyone. I don’t like to give prescriptions. One of my favorite and most frustrating things about Daniel Quinn is that he doesn’t present any solutions. He says something to the tune of, “I’m like the surgeon general. He didn’t say, ‘Stop smoking.’ He said, ‘Smoking causes cancer.’” I think when you leave it open-ended like that, you create many more solutions to a problem than if you give the one you think is right. What I really think is that everyone should follow their heart and their passions and do what they feel they need to do. There is often a drive to feel like what you are doing is the “most effective,” but the reality is that there really isn’t one thing that will be the most effective. Anyone who says they have figured that out should be seriously questioned.”

Has your outlook or activities changed much since Donald Trump took office?

“I think everyone in any activist community has taken notice of the “fascist creep.” So many white supremacists have come out of hiding and we’re all like, “Oh. Shit.” I mean, we kinda knew they were there…but it’s making us realize how important it is to engage in a dialogue against it, while figuring out what need it seems to be filling for white men. The only way to combat it is really to fill that need with something else. So, that’s what we have to figure out, and that’s what it’s making me think about.”

You’ve recently rereleased your book Rewild or Die. What do you want your readers to get from reading the book?

“The main point of that book was to introduce people to the ideas of rewilding and take them down the rabbit hole as fast and as briefly as possible, in order to inspire them to go back and go deeper on their own. I wanted to show people that rewilding is a lens through which you can view anything. It’s a systemic journey of culture change, not a self-help plan, not simply a back-to-nature commune. Of course, since its writing in 2008, there have been many people who have taken on that term as a self-help plan, which is both funny and maddening to me. That’s probably fine because it will bring more people to the deeper and more meaningful rewilding movement in general. But seeing all that, I realized there wasn’t really a resource out there specifically under the banner of “rewilding” doing that, so I rereleased it in hopes that more people would go beyond the self-centered version to a more holistic one.”

Does Urban Scout still survive in any way, shape, or form and will he ever be as big a part of your life as he has been over the years?

“There are parts of Urban Scout that I love and parts that I hate. Things I still think I did that were genius, and things I think were a huge mistake. If he ever makes an appearance again, it will be more of a “roast” than a celebration. I still love Rewild or Die, warts and all. However, I’m way more in love with the work that I am doing now in my rewilding philosophy classes because it is real, face-to-face human interaction and discussion of the ideas. Those classes and all of those people are informing the next book on rewilding that I am writing, and I couldn’t be more excited about it for that reason. It’s like, so many minds working together to create this thing. I’ve always considered myself a catalyst, not a guru (though part of Urban Scout’s shtick was feigned celebrity, which confused and angered a lot of people—for good reason), and so in this work I feel more like a court reporter, which is I think the best place for a catalyst to be.”

Are there any interesting projects on the horizon for you?

“We have the first-ever North American Rewilding Conference coming up in October. Honestly I’m so busy with everything that I haven’t quite delved into it yet. Watch for developments in May. I like to start things small and grow very slowly. I learned that from the oak tree. The conference will be an Open Space conference, where there are no expert presentations. Everyone comes together at the very beginning on the first day and creates the topics of discussion for the entire conference. It’s a nonhierarchical, organic, and community-driven way of organizing a conference. I imagine it will be like my rewilding philosophy classes, only way more amazing, with more people.”

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News From Hunt Saboteur Groups – Ecological Defence In The British Isles

The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles. Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17 “Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next […]

The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles.

Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

“Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next to no scent and hounds were only heard in cry once all day.

From the meet the hunt went east into the valley before turning back and heading towards Edgerley House, where they hold their opening meet each season. Here a foot team was already waiting for them and watched from a good vantage point as Gary cast hounds out in the valley between Edgerley and Fursdon. They moved on towards Cleavehanger and then north in direction of Park Wood. Sab teams in front and behind the hunt kept sight of them throughout as they carried on in direction of Burrowcleave Wood. Unbeknownst to the hunt, hounds put up a fox. Sabs covered the scent and hounds never got onto it.

The hunt headed back towards Park Wood and south in direction of Coleridge Barton, with hounds being cast through small coverts and along hedges on the way. Sabs followed them as the hunt held up cars on the main road whilst they rode back towards Cleavehanger. Here hounds were once again cast out. Sabs watching from three vantage points witnessed them break out of a covert in full cry, heading in a line towards Cleavehanger. However, just as sabs were about to intervene, hounds lost the scent. From here Gary made his way back towards the meet, via the coverts east of Furdson and through a field full of very young lambs…

Gary didn’t seem to have much of a plan today, and there was a lot of going around in circles. Sabs were with him throughout, taking up positions in front and behind of the hunt. The lack of scent and constant sab presence was evidently bothering Gary and in the early afternoon he lost his temper after our sabs declined his request that they open a gate for him! However, the hunt did pack up by 3pm. Another nice early finish for us!

We’d like to thank everyone who has recently donated to our Land Rover repairs fundraiser. We had to get major work done on the engine which cost us in excess of £1000. If you can help us recover some of the cost, it would be much appreciated. Without our vehicles, we can’t sab. https://ko-fi.com/devchs

Thank you!”

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Communique From Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

Today we joined several other groups to scupper the Woodland Pytchley’s plans.

Shaun Stacey’s stewards did their best to send sabs home by committing 3 assaults, but each group retained their composure, refused to lower themselves to Stacey’s level and stuck to the huntsman and hounds.

Eventually the police couldn’t ignore the thugs’ actions any more and arrested Stacey, while the many sab groups kept a watchful eye on the hunt from roads and in the field.

The huntsman trotted back to his kennels before 4pm while Stacey was being processed in the local cop shop. Videos of his assaults are on their way to police, watch this space.

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Communique From Dorset Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

“Hit Report Saturday 25th March 2017

Joined by our friends from South West Sabs and a hunt monitor we decided to pay a visit to the Portman Hunt today for their last Saturday meet of this season. The meet was at Smugglers Mead in Stepleton and after setting off the hunt headed along Smugglers Lane in the direction of Everley Down.

For the duration of the morning the huntsman stayed on the western side of Boynes Lane paying visits to Ball Pit Coppice, Preston Wood and Rolfs Wood. With two landy’s out today, working with the monitor and foot sabs breaking into two and sometimes four teams we were able to keep track of the hunt all day. They spent well over an hour in the Happy Valley and Furzehill area and we suspect this was due to that fact there is only one footpath leading through the middle. This did not deter foot sabs though who did a marvellous job of patrolling the foot path from each end.

After lunch there was the usual change of horses and this happened on the road outside Hill Farm under the watchful eyes of the sabs. When re mounted on his fresh steed the huntsman took the hounds across the road in the direction of Lime Pit Coppice.

For the duration of the afternoon the huntsman kept to the eastern side of Boynes Lane. Drawing through Heth Coppice, Boynes Coppice, Shales Coppice and Ashy Coppice then headed down to Rough Ground. Whilst searching Rough Ground the hounds picked up and there was a flurry of activity. With foot sabs either side and one of the Landy’s on the yellow road south of Rough Ground we kept them in our sights. At this point one of the teams of foot sabs observed the hounds with what appeared to be fresh blood, we have footage of this which we will be reviewing and releasing separately. The police had been called by one of the Landy’s and one of them was a Wildlife Crime Officer who was very interested in what was happening and we were grateful to have him around.

A hound and a horse had extremely close shaves with motor vehicles on the road today at seperate times, both escaping serious injuries by a gnats whisker ! There was another incident when a horse got caught in barbed wire and a foot sab had to try and free the horses leg, sadly despite this happening riders behind continued to jump the fence without a care in the world or seemingly for their horses.

We also found several hounds running along the road South of Shales Coppice, there was a man chatting to two females riding bikes and following the hunt and they caught the first hound. We stopped to tell them that there was another one further down the road but despite saying thank you they made no effort at all to go and get it ….. shortly after we spotted the third one !

The hunt packed up around 4.30pm. Thank fully this season is about to finish but our work will continue with sett surveying over the coming months. If you want to join us please email us at dorsethuntsabs@riseup.net

Massive thanks to our monitor for his help and a big thank you to the WCO from Blandford and his colleagues for their assistance today.”

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Animal welfare, ecological welfare and human welfare are intimately connected; they’re fundamentally inseparable. And so long as people stand by and allow acts of cruelty, like those of fox-hunters, to pass us by unchallenged/unresisted, the welfare of the environment we live in and are part of will continue to diminish.

“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Disposable Plastic Bottles – A Disaster For Wildlife And Rivers

Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground. They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat. […]

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Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground.

They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat.

They are made from the petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate, which requires fossil fuels to produce and be transported. In their production, they require two gallons of water for the purification process of one gallon of water. They take longer than a human lifetime to decompose – 450 years as one estimate states.

Littering means many end up in ecosystems, such as rivers, where they create a plethora of problems for the animals who live there, such as their tops being mistaken for food by fish and birds, with 90% of seabirds now consuming trash.

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In Britain, plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe for rivers, such as the Thames, with plastic bottles being one of the more common items found by those attempting to reduce the damage. The situation has gotten so bad that the Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the damage caused by disposable drinking products.

Rather than tackling the issue at hand, most of the proposed solutions and strategies in place are based in industrial recycling measures. But, besides being ineffective and inefficient, the industrial recycling industry comes with an entirety of its own toxic problems and pollutants.

Solving the problems created by plastic pollution appear too vast to comprehend, especially when so many believe in the false promises of the bright-green business-as-usual-environmentalism that dominates discussion. But with techno-utopians and those in positions of institutional authority being less than helpful, it is clear that it is up to individuals and communities who value the health of the ecosystems they are part of to do what they can to reduce the damage of this culture and resist its relentless violence towards the living world.

I leave you with this quote from prominent environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen –

“By now plastic is almost everywhere. By everywhere I mean in a huge portion of consumer products, in food and packaging, in liquid containers and the liquids they contain. By everywhere I mean in the oceans and in the air and on the land. By everywhere I mean on Mount Everest and in the Marianas Trench and in remote forests.”

The Confusion Regarding Air Pollution In The UK And Its Consequences: Human and Non-Human

In February last year, the far-right wing newspaper The Daily Mail reported that air pollution is “killing” 40,000 British people a year. Several months later, Greenpeace posted on their website that air pollution is causing 40,000 lives to be “cut short”.

These claims have been criticised within the British media and by scientists. And the truth seems to indicate that air pollution, rather than being the sole cause of these deaths, is actually a contributing factor in a situation that is highly complex and difficult to understand.

One of the central issues is throughout this debate has been that the figure of 40,000 was produced through statistical research. The problem here is that, statistical evidence, while it can be beneficial in some areas of scientific research, is reductive to the extent that it often limits the variables so as to remove all context from the findings and produce numbers that are don’t actually reflect the situational truth.

So the questions we really need to ask is, what is the truth, in its situated context? What can we say we really know, given that most of us aren’t scientists and are relying on evidence produced by those with personal agendas? Because the lies told by Exxon scientists regarding the harmful effects of oil and global warming serve as a reminder that scientific research isn’t performed in a non-political vacuum, free from authoritarian dynamics that serve the interests of elites.

It is highly likely that air pollution globally causes the death of more than 3 million people, 75% of which are in Asia, where economic globalisation has taken a foothold in, leading to the escalation of industrialism (often in the guise of “development) across the continent. This stands to reason, given the how much air pollution has risen across the worlds cities and the encroachment of urbanisation in the “developing” world. In fact, The World Health Organisation has previously reported that air pollution kills 6.5 million people a year and that pollution causes the deaths of 1.7 children a year. Proposed solutions to this problem, such as a new type of inhaler, are reliant on the production of technologies – technologies whose production are reliant on industrial production and distribution, which are the leading contributing factors in the global air crisis.

According to Carbon Brief, the UK’s carbon emissions fell by 6% in 2016, which would indicate a (slightly) improved situation. But primary air pollutants include – carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulates, persistent free radicals, toxic metals, ammonia, chlorofluorocarbons, odours from sewage and industrial processes, and radioactive pollutants. So does this statistic reflect the situated truth? Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician within Medicine at the University of Southampton, states in the video below that air pollution is “affecting our health in many different ways, that we’re only just beginning to understand”.

So far the focus here has been entirely anthropocentric – that is, with a focus on the impact on humans. So what of the non-human impact?

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Air pollutants like sulphuric acid, when combined with the water droplets in clouds, can cause the water droplets to become acidic and form acid rain. This leads to physiological damage to plant cells and geochemical changes in soils and soil waters that obstruct growth by affecting absorption of nutrients by roots and by leaching nutrients from soil. In British trees this causes damage to their leaves, which limits the nutrients available to them.

Air pollution can also cause eutrophication. This is the process whereby rain can carry and deposit the nitrogen in some pollutants on rivers and soils, which adversely affects the nutrients in the soil and water bodies. This impacts upon the living beings, such as the fish, frogs, insects and birds who make rivers their homes, which impacts the wider biodiversity of these islands.

The ground-level ozone, produced via air pollution, is also highly harmful for vegetation and can have a drastic impact on ecosystems and the animals who make those ecosystems their homes.

So it is apparent that air pollution is a problem, for the human animal and non-human-living-beings, and the situation is one that is highly complex, confused through the mediums that attempt to reduce the context of the discussion to only those variables that suit their particular interests.

Proposed solutions are highly reliant on the effectiveness of state measures, which have so far failed to improve the situation, and technologies that involve the same industrial processes that are producing this worsening situation. The eco-extremist journal Atassa states – “We are now entering an age of extremes, an age of uncertainty, where leftist illusions and conservative platitudes can no longer prepare us for our future course”. This is a truth than anarchists and environmentalists need to embrace.

I’m going to end this with a quote from a book I am currently reading, available through Little Black Cart (who also published Feral Consciousness).

Biodiversity is the expression of healthy ecology. It may seem distant to these Isles because these Isles are sick. It has been said that civilised man walks the earth leaving deserts in his footprints. As the frontiers of this civilisation opened up, so the cedars of Lebanon and Broadleaf forests of this island were trampled underfoot. With the great forests all but destroyed the soils of Lebanon eroded, and washed and blew away. Thanks to this island’s mild temperate climate, its fate was to remain a different kind of desert. A desert of ploughed fields, of a thousand swaying barley stalks – from Cracks in a Grey Sky an anthology of Do Or Die: Voices from the Ecological Resistance

Into the Gloaming by Ramon Elani

This is a poem written by friend of ours Ramon Elani, taken from his personal blog The Tigers Leap with his consent.

Eland has a PhD in Philosophy, has written for both The Dark Mountain project and the eco-extremist journal Atassa, and draws from Taoist themes in a great deal of his writings.

 

Late autumn hours fall,

the scent of decaying Oak leaves

mix’t with the fragrance of the mist

as it rises, curling from beds of moss

and gently swaying ferns.

A soft wind plays through the pines,

it bears the kennings

deep into the heart of the gloaming time.

Resounder, the One of the Streams, Hoary Beard.

 

We wait for the Stranger at the Door,

the light runs fast

pursued by dreams of the man on the gallows.

When he saw the carved bones in his hands

he fell to screaming.

Word from word,

deed from deed,

do you know the twelfth

that’ll cause the dead to speak?

 

Between this world and the next,

when the dreams and the hours become one,

can we find the strength to remember?

Remember when to quit the grazing ground,

remember to keep to the footpaths

and shun the highways,

remember to hang your clothes between two wooden stakes,

remember why the eagle weeps when it reaches the shore.

Remember the grinning wolf,

the grunting boar,

the dancing bear.

 

Does the moon still know it’s course through the sky?

Do leeks still grow from the green earth?

The sun grows dark and the world slips into forgetful sleep.

Like a fir tree,

limbless and charred,

where once under the roof of gold

and field unsowed.

Who will abide now

in the House of the Wind?

The old woman sits in the Ironwood

while murderers wade deep in the roiling water.

 

It goes hard on earth

when rootless trees stand

among the hail of reeds.

Keep the ancient promise

and travel with me through the mists of night.

Come resolute of horn,

the stalker on the moors.

Cliff-dweller,

Harvest-ruiner,

what the wolf left behind.

Cast your loss into a deep forest tarn,

and the crone of memory shall whisper to you

from its depths:

“Go back,”

“Go back,”

“There’s nothing here for you.”

 

Wolf-Hater,

The one who bends the gallows,

Go down into memory and knowledge

On ravens’ wings!

God of carved knucklebones,

Traveler to nine places only known

By the women of the Stinking Nightshade

Wand weavers, horse penis graspers,

The ones who wrap tattered rags

Around the agony twisted bones of winter-dead trees,

To pray to wells and fountains,

To the rich earth slime that bubbles and froths.

Bog-haunters, Fungus-belt wearers,

They are buried in wagons.

Troll-Wakers. Knot-tiers,

They weave while their husbands fight,

And bind the feet of the enemy with invisible hairs,

So he dies screaming in blood.

Fierce Seeress,

Whose staff manly hands should not touch,

You have your wand and thread,

I have my fists and mad eye.

I am hanged,

You sit on thrones.

Oak and holly,

run naked into the twilight forest.

Make the others remember why

they once feared the rustling leaves.

They will remember why

the shapes among the trees

haunted their sleep.

They think that those who rest

beneath the vines

are gone.

But they will see us again

under the shrieking moon.

They will feel the teeth,

the talons, the tusks.

The mists will swallow the world

and all will be forgotten.

73% Of British Beaches Littered With Plastic Pellets Known As Nurdles

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A search of thousands of British Beaches has found that almost three quarters of them are littered with lentil sized plastic pellets, known as nurdles.

These pellets are used as a raw material in the production of plastic products.

They soak up chemical pollutants from their surroundings and release them into animals who eat them, such as fish and birds.