Friday, January 30, 2009

More on "anarcho-primitivism" and rewilding

Despite the fact that I probably breezed past the subject of "rewilding" a bit too quickly in lecture the other day, the topic is another great topic either for a term paper or (note to self) for a future NTRES 2320 lecture.

It's important to note that "rewilding" has both a narrow usage (e.g., Harry Greene et al and "Pleistocene Rewilding") but also a far broader one, e.g., as used in the "anarcho-primitivism" social movement. Perhaps I too casually conflated the two senses in my lecture comments the other day, but I think it is a fairly straightforward matter to make some very real connections between these two uses of the term "rewilding."

For example, here is a NationMaster Encyclopedia entry that turns up from a quick google search on 'rewilding' and 'primitivism':
Encyclopedia > Rewilding

Rewilding is the process of undoing domestication.[1] In green anarchism and anarcho-primitivism, humans are said to be "domesticated" by civilization. Supporters of such human rewilding argue that through the process of domestication, our wildness has been tamed and taken from us.[2] Rewilding, then, is about overcoming our domestication and returning to our innate wildness. Though often associated with primitive skills and relearning knowledge of wild plants and animals, it emphasizes primal living as a holistic reality rather than just a number of skills or specific type of knowledge.

Rewilding is most associated with green anarchy and anarcho-primitivism or anti-civilization anarchy in general,[3] though there is a large primitive living contingent who come at it from a less militant direction.[4] Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization.

The term rewilding is also sometimes used to refer to efforts to correct perceived imbalances in the ecosystem based on differences between modern and prehistoric ecologies. Among these efforts is a proposal by Cornell graduate student Josh Donlan to introduce megafauna such as cheetahs, elephants, and lions to North America, where they have been extinct since the Pleistocene epoch 13,000 years ago.[5]

Another common use of the term 'rewilding' refers to the restoration of native plant species to a plot of land, such as a backyard or streamside.


  1. ^ "Rewilding" from Green Anarchist Infoshop
  2. ^ GA Collective & Coalition Against Civilization, "The Origins of Civilization
  3. ^ The GA & Wildroots Collectives, "A Primer for a Balanced Existence Amid the Ruins of Civilization"
  4. ^ "Visons" page at
  5. ^ "Proposal Would Allow Wild Animals to Roam North America," Cornell University Press Release

Again, this is a big topic and deserving of a more responsible treatment than I could give it in class. Perfect paper topic!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rewilding North America

For those interested, Harry Greene is giving the Natural Resources departmental seminar on February 3 on this topic. It was dismissed very easily in lecture as yet another primitivist idea. Knowing Harry as a friend and colleague I can say that ignoring the idea as primitivist is a fairly parochial perspective that actually detracts attention away from the very issues the idea meant to bring to light. SO! Harry loves to argue, and I'm sure the lecture would stir ideas and new perspectives.

Root of the word "Nature"

In class yesterday, one student posed the question about the origin of the word, 'nature'. As a self proclaimed lexophile, I decided to have a little web-searching adventure and try to uncover the truth.
According to, the word nature is very old, over 5000 years, but has only been specifically part of the English language for about 700 years. It was derived from a word from the Old French language which meant 'course of things, character, the universe and birth.' Over the past 700 years, the term has evolved in English to mean "essential qualities and innate disposition" as well as "the creative power in the material world.", a site devoted to etymological subjects has quite a lot to say about the root of the word nature as well as many of its derivatives. If you'd like to see the article to learn more about this old and prolific word, the website is: .
FYI, today is National Puzzle Day! So visit and indulge in a nature themed puzzle to celebrate this quixotic holiday :-p

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Nature- Biblical

Today's lecture prompted me to think about how ideas of nature & natural have been appropriated (or misappropriated) by portions of the modern religious conservative movement. The following is a short, interesting piece from a former priest. It has some good quotes from the Bible on ideas of homosexuality being 'unnatural' as well as some other citations. Check out the comments, too, since the readers add yet more Biblical quotations (and a lot of interesting opinions).


Let's Get Mesolithic

Here's some song lyrics from Eddie From Ohio. It may be possible to download the MP3 for free here. At any rate, enjoy!

Let's Get Mesolithic

I searched the whole world over- to find the perfect mate.
There’s no place for traditionalists- If you want someone to date.
I just can’t catch that special match- in the Age of Modern Man.
I need to be transported to some ancient distant land
It’s B.C. vs. P.C.- It’s Darwin vs. God.
It’s Rubble vs. Redford- I want a hairy bod

Let’s get Mesolithic, you can pull me by my hair.
Call this girl old-fashioned, but I say a cave is where
you’ll find a loving cro-mag who will hunt and gather fare.
Let’s get Mesolithic tonight

I’ve dated new age women- they don’t impress me much.
There’s only one advantage- they insist on going dutch
The independent self-reliant gals you see these days
don’t understand my manly scent and knuckle-dragging ways

It’s B.C. vs. P.C.- It’s hands vs. fork & knife.
it’s Wilma vs. Jane Fonda- I need an obedient wife

Let’s get Mesolithic. let me drag you by your hair.
Call this guy old-fashioned but I say I cave is where
you’ll find submissive woman with her Stone Age Tupperware.
Let’s get Mesolithic tonight

I love it when you’re rough.
I just can’t get enough.
Come on over, Cave-boy, to my lair.
Give me some of that Alley Oop love stuff

I have no aspirations to leave the dwelling place.
I’m moody, broody & feel a duty to tidy the living space
So throw away your pager and forget that power lunch
I’m a “yes man” among women and I can surely take a punch

It’s B.C. vs. P.C.- It’s bedrock vs. couch.
It’s flintstones vs. Brad Pitt, I want someone who’ll slouch

Let’s get Mesolithic. We’ll grow out both our locks.
Instead of filing jointly we’ll just gather sticks and rocks.
There’s homo-erectus see the funny way he walks.
Let’s get Mesolithic tonight.

I have no big ambitions except to hunt the beast.
I poke sticks at the Mastodon for a big carnivorous feast.
I am a hunter and a gatherer, I like my woman dumb.
I’ll keep her my unequal to hold under my thumb.

It’s B.C. vs. P.C. It’s big man vs. wuss
It’s Steak Nite vs. Vegan, I’m a lion not a puss.

Let’s get Mesolithic and grow hair upon our backs.
Outsmart bigger predators and run when they attack.
Hang out naked and display my privates and your rack.
Let’s get Mesolithic tonight.

Let’s get Mesolithic, it’s the way it’s meant to be.
Why go buy a condo you can live up in a tree.
There’s no stress in a world when all the food and love are free.
Oh, let’s get Mesolithic, let’s get Mesolithic, let’s get Mesolithic tonight.

Mike Clem © 2001 J. Fish Music/ASCAP

Can't Get Enough of Joseph Knowles?

Me too. Don't miss the Joe Knowles picture gallery on the course web page.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome to Spring 2009!

Welcome to everyone! Students enrolled in the course will have received an invitation from to "join" the blog as an author; but anyone can comment at any time. Enjoy!