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Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Paul Kingsnorth

The award-winning essayist and author of Beast and The Wake examines the impact of humans on the Earth and considers how we might live in this changing world.

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Paul Kingsnorth was once an activist, an ardent environmentalist. He fought against rampant development and the depredations of a corporate world that seemed hell-bent on ignoring a looming climate crisis in its relentless pursuit of profit. But as the environmental movement began to focus on ‘sustainability’ rather than the defence of wild places for their own sake and as global conditions worsened, he grew disenchanted with the movement that he once embraced. He gave up what he saw as the false hope that residents of the First World would ever make the kind of sacrifices that might avert the severe consequences of climate change.

Full of grief and fury as well as passionate, lyrical evocations of nature and the wild, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist gathers the wave-making essays that have charted the change in Kingsnorth’s thinking. In them he articulates a new vision that he calls ‘dark ecology,’ which stands firmly in opposition to the belief that technology can save us, and he argues for a renewed balance between the human and nonhuman worlds.

Provocative and urgent, iconoclastic and fearless, this ultimately hopeful book poses hard questions about how we have lived and should live.

Critic Reviews

An important and stimulating collection of essays by a radically original writer.

Geoff Dyer
Critic Reviews

Kingsnorth at his best, a tremendous combination of the personal and the political . . . There’s plenty to enjoy, learn from and even inspire.

Critic Reviews

Fascinating . . . Kingsnorth is a talented, engaging writer . . . Every essay provides food for thought and given a chance, can rearrange the way you views things . . . It could even change the way you decide to live.

Critic Reviews

Kingsnorth writes a good essay. Filled with detail and balanced thought, personal anecdote and fully-researched argument.

The Skinny

Paul Kingsnorth’s debut novel, The Wake, won the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize. His second, Beast, was described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a portrait of the psyche in gaunt, glittering transcendence’. He is also the author of One No, Many Yeses and Real England, and a poetry collection, Kidland. He is the co-founder of The Dark Mountain Project.

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