Escape from Cyberia

There were wild horses. And a beach. And a storm, I think. No, wait – that’s the cover photo on Susan Musgrave’s timeline. Maybe there were only some big waves the size of tiny houses on wheels, rolling into shore like a sustainably designed refugee camp, each with an innocent Syrian family inside just trying to survive the civil war at Christmas time, desperately awaiting tins of plum pudding from overseas that would never arrive because Indiegogo froze the plum pudding campaign (which had broken all crowdsourcing records in its first 24 hours) after the word ‘dessert’ was red-flagged by the US State Department’s poorly programmed algorithm searching for long-tail keywords – in this case ‘desert’ since that can signify a variety of potentially terrorist activities, as can ‘Bactrian’ or ‘bivouac’ or ‘Babel’. All the tiny doors of the tiny houses flew open as soon as the tiny wheels stalled in deep sand, and the Syrian families were tossed out onto the desert on tiny tidal waves of urchins and starfish and ling cod. The families became wild horses stampeding down the beach to escape the long-tail keywords pursuing them. (Everyone knows horses are afraid of long-tail keywords.) The sharp report of their hooves sounded like machine gun fire, but this was most likely due to the State Department’s residual power of suggestion, so I urge you to rise above it as I have tried to. And from our arisen position, we can now see that the horses are not running down a beach or a desert or a sandlot of any sort but rather the hard ceramic tiles of Woodgrove Mall, parting the red and green seas of Christmas shoppers (as Moses himself did) to expose the International Food Court for the CIA mind-control front that it is: a deep-fried spicy Szechuan offshoot of MKUltra.

I am crouched beneath the battery spin-rack in the Everything for a Dollar Store, surreptitiously photographing the entire Food Court spectacle through the window. I am sitting on absolute fucking gold here. No one but me has this story. This could be my comeback.


Dark Mountain: Issue 5 (PDF)

The Spring 2014 issue is a classic Dark Mountain collection of essays, fiction, poetry and artwork.

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I remember the rocket.

The house where I lived in 1972 was about nine line-of-sight miles from Cape Canaveral. On December 7th of that year, in the heart of the night, my family gathered with friends and neighbours to watch the massive Saturn V rocket carry Apollo 17 – the final moon mission – into history. We huddled around the TV up until the last minute of the countdown, then my dad hoisted his two-and-a-half-year-old son onto his shoulders and led the way out onto the lawn. There we stood in awe and silence as the fiery dart rumbled into the stars. Even from our distant vantage, I could feel the earth quiver.

Forty years later, the old memory rises to the surface as I pull another thin paperback off the shelf in the little two-room O’Brien Library, tucked among towering Douglas firs, incense cedars and big-leaf maples on the outskirts of Blue River, a struggling rural community in the central Oregon Cascades. The library is stocked by donation, staffed by volunteers and has been running check-out and returns on the honour system for over eight decades. Today is my first shift in the stacks, and my first job is to cull the science fiction section and open up space for new additions to the collection.

On the front of the paperback I hold is a shiny silver rocket, rumbling away from Earth toward a tiny red dot. A thin grey dust layer fuzzes the top of the book. When I lift the cover, it cracks loose as the brittle desiccated spinal glue gives out. Inside, the yellow pages are splotched with black stains that look like a defunct bacterial colony left too long in a forgotten Petri dish. The fine print says this particular novel – a saga of human glory set in a Martian outpost – rolled off the pulp press in the late 1950s. By all appearances, it has not been opened since the Kennedy administration. I lay the front page flat and slam down the stamp of judgment. ‘Withdrawn’. And into the discard box it goes.

By the time my three-hour shift ends, I’ve worked my way up through the Ds and passed sentence on dozens of titles, an inordinate proportion of which fall into one of two categories: the hypertechnic exploits of an intergalactic humanity, and post-apocalyptic home world nightmares. Taken together, the effect seems almost conspiratorial. How else to explain the widespread bias for painting dead and distant worlds in the rainbow colours of promise while this wild, verdant, beautiful Earth, the only gem of life in the known cosmos, is rendered with a palette of shadows?

Perhaps, rather than conspiracy, this small sampling reveals a common cosmology that has, for decades, captivated not only society at large, but a whole legion of science fiction writers who have expressed it through their efforts to rouse civilised excitement about the colonisation of other planets. In particular, Mars, the most promising of the lot (owing to its relatively close proximity and the presence of life’s most essential ingredient, water). These writers, and their dystopian doppelgangers, along with scientists and politicians and people from all walks in between, have been so successful that the fourth planet has been deemed worthy of spending billions of dollars on real probes, landers and other visitation devices, each an automated vanguard in an effort to one day stamp human bootprints in the red dust plain even while our own world turns to dust.

It’s quite an achievement, spinning a frozen, barren, desolate, inhospitable planet millions of miles away into a possible home, while concurrently spinning our beautiful living home into a hell. And the net effect is blindness to the fact that the earth under our feet, even now, in the throes of so many socio-ecological crises, has much more going for it than Mars ever will. Antarctica looks positively tropical by comparison.

What is puzzling is how the collective consciousness came to this blindness in the first place.

I think it has to do with a particular criterion the cosmology of dominant culture has long used in determining what constitutes the so-called good life. That largely unspoken criterion is not the successful long-term inhabitation of a homeland, but expansion beyond it; growth, progress, advancement. And Earth, though still humbly habitable, is a world on which the possibility of expansion is nearly played out.

But Mars – a whole planet virtually untouched, and theoretically within reach – offers a chance, slim though it is, for us to remain in the habit of expansion. We have only to sell out this planet in an all-or-nothing gamble for the war god’s favour. That, after all, is what expansion has always been about, ever since our direct cultural ancestors – the agriculturalists of the Fertile Crescent – exhausted their home soil some six millennia ago and faced a future of limits and reduced numbers or a future of conquest and continued excess, which was, even then, the definition of prosperity among the elite minority who benefited most from it. And so, conquest it was. War.

Such aggression required extreme rationalisations. That task fell to the official storytellers of the day (the priesthood), who began spinning the glory of Mars even before the Romans had given the god his name. Even before Rome existed at all. The force – the spirit – that Mars came to mythologically embody was the colonial conquest and control of others. His spirit was, some six millennia ago, a new force loosed upon the Earth and with it came an unprecedented shift in cultural consciousness, away from an emphasis on ever-deepening integration into local landscapes, toward an emphasis on the golden riches to be found on the other side of an apparently inexhaustible frontier.

That frontier has been spreading outwards from the perceived insular centres of civilisation into a perceived ocean of untamed wilderness ever since. The whole time, the frontier has been a margin of conflict, of colonial aggressors waging a genocidal, ecocidal, even geocidal campaign of theft, subjugation and replacement against the human and non-human lives already dependent upon what the invaders see as their rightful spoils. On a deeper level, the invader incursions represent the replacement of countless grounded cosmologies with an increasingly singular cosmology rooted in longing. And the farthest conceivable reaches of the invader’s longing is the sky.

It’s no wonder, then, that our cultural ancestors eventually imagined the sky as the dwelling place of their gods. For them, divinity found its source in the dependability of the heavens, up and away from the increasing messiness and unreliability of earth, never mind that the biotic abundance on which human corporeality and wellbeing depended originated in the soil’s translation of sunlight into life.

The invader’s mode of existence mined the soil. So the soil continually failed them. It couldn’t be trusted. And everywhere they went it reinforced its untrustworthiness by suffering eventual exhaustion and consequent poor yields. How, under these circumstances, could so feeble and treacherous a goddess as Gaia be revered? What the soil miners failed to see was that her apparent feebleness and betrayal did not derive from the earth, but from their own excesses. It derived from their increasingly alien relationship with the landscape. Rather than heal the relationship by relearning how to live within the limits of the earth – within the planet’s annual solar budget – they turned their gaze upward and sought to emulate the gods above, gods of their own invention perched upon untarnishable golden thrones.

If the people could get better at bringing the lasting power of the heavens down, maybe the messiness and limits could be overcome. That became the programme the storytellers started to sell. The holy goal of godliness. In other words, complete control.

This went on for millennia and all the while the programme of control grew more refined and entrenched. The original kindred enspiritedness recognised as inherent in every star, leaf and breeze gave way to a multitude of anthropoid divinities – many still peripherally bound to the earth through the forces of nature they personified. Eventually, this multitude was further reduced to the equivalent of a spiritual wheat field, the monocrop of a single deity, singularly male, separate and above the mortal realm. He was a book-bound god, purely abstracted, and thus conceptually omnipotent. But what his believers overlooked was the real earthbound precondition on which this god’s omnipotence depended. The frontier.

Wilderness, the ultimate foil for civilisation, had to remain the oceanic realm into which the conquering heroes and their armies could forever advance from their islands of civilisation. And that is how it was until 1893 CE when civilisation crossed a threshold and became the rising ocean surrounding now-shrinking islands of wilderness.

Historian Frederick Jackson Turner recognised this moment and expressed it that year by declaring the frontier closed. Actually, at the global scale, the frontier did not close in 1893 CE, but rather, it began closing for the first time since it opened some six millennia earlier. You could think of this event along the lines of the old riddle (slightly modified), ‘How long can you run into the wilderness?’ Answer: ‘Halfway, then you’re running out.’ The year 1893 CE represents the end of civilisation’s long run into the wilderness. After that, it began running out. At an accelerating rate.

But the implications of this new situation went unrecognised and thus, civilisation failed to undergo the essential corresponding social inversion (cultural deceleration, contraction and diversification: in other words, maturation). Instead, it continued to advance the divine programme of monocultural expansion and complete control, thereby becoming increasingly out of sync with reality. And now, barely a century later, the last wild islands are almost flooded. Expansion has again run up against the wall. And eyes long turned skyward for divine inspiration now look that way with a different intent. Divine ascendance. That is the ultimate objective to which we apply our scientific curiosity and exploration. The methods of science (some would say a god in and of itself) remove moral considerations altogether and render the interplanetary colonial effort little more than a technical challenge. And so the scientific priesthood uncritically constructs and rockets mechanical missionaries into space to prepare the way for the next logical wave. Flesh and blood aliens.

Looking back, we can now see that the moon was a practice run.

The colonisation of Mars represents the real deal, the culmination of the programme of complete control begun all those millennia ago. In fact, Mars is a world that will not accept us unless we are in complete control. Only as gods will we be able to exist there. Earth, on the other hand, can and does expose our hubris by resisting complete control in direct proportion to our every effort to take it. So we dream of a red heaven.

Well, not all of us. I, for one, am opening to a different possibility: withdrawal.

Into places where long-latent spirits stir.

I slide the box of discards over behind the circulation desk for the next volunteer who will leaf through the card catalogue and pull the titles. As I’m putting on my coat to leave, I glance back at the shelves. Where I’ve been working, there are large gaps between the remaining volumes. The sight is somehow freeing. In the gaps, I see opportunity; what as-yet-unwritten tales might fill them in? I can’t imagine, but I feel heartened nonetheless as I head for the door.
When I step outside into the cool fresh air, the palette of autumn draws my eyes upward not into the blue sky, but into a vision of vibrant yellow maple leaves in their full glory. They shimmer and seem to glow with their own inner light, offering a rich contrast to the deep greens of the stoic conifers who are cast in sharp relief by long October shadows.

Standing in the forest, I’m suddenly struck by the sense that I’ve just entered another library, a library of trees. The stories to be read on each leafy page would more than fill the openings. I imagine many of those stories would be about a long overdue homecoming set on a world that grows ever more wild, verdant and beautiful every day. A world with people struggling, longing, ceaselessly living to be grounded, integral parts of it all.

A breeze whispers through the canopy. Dozens of leaves release, each a golden spirit. They flutter down to earth.

As they fall, another memory rises, my first memory, deeper than the rocket.

In the heart of a cool summer night, in a green canvas tent set up in a Maryland forest on the other side of the continent, my mother is tucking me into a sleeping bag on the ground. I lay my head down. She bends, gives her two-year-old son a kiss then rises and silences the hissing lantern.

Beneath me, I feel the earth quiver.

You’ll find more where this came from in our latest book.


Dark Mountain: Issue 5 – The Editorial

Is there anyone left who actually believes in progress? Even the advocates of neoliberalism fall back to the argument that there is no alternative, no longer making much effort to convince us that capitalism is improving our lives. In the spring of 2013, a survey of public opinion in the US, the UK, France and Germany found large majorities in each country believe that today’s young people will struggle to achieve the standards of living of their parents’ generation. Welcome to the new normal: the grim meathook future creeping into our lives, fulfilling no apocalyptic fantasies, but slowly, undramatically unravelling the fabric of the world in which we grew up. Even the nightmare of climate change makes its way into waking reality as a muddled, muddy sequence of events which, though together they amount to a threat to civilisation, do not satisfy our idea of how such a threat should announce its arrival.

This is where we are, in early 2014. At this point, even a recovery in the official measures of economic progress serves mostly to emphasise the gap between those measures and everyday experience. It is not surprising, then, that the arguments we were making five years ago when we published the Dark Mountain manifesto are heard more often and in some unlikely places, or that media coverage of this project no longer takes the form of reflex denunciation.

Meanwhile, when someone does speak up for the idea of historical progress, it is no longer with the bemused confidence of one reasserting the obvious; instead, the argument is made more often with the intensity of a defender of the faith taking up arms against a sea of doom, relativism and nostalgia. This is an attitude anticipated by Charles Leadbeater’s Up the Down Escalator (2002), or the interior monologues of Henry Perowne in Ian McEwan’s Saturday (2005), and it echoes the embattled certainty of the New Atheists. Fresh strains continue to surface, not least among certain bright young radical thinkers for whom a rebooting of the Promethean project of modernity has become a daring, avant-garde position. The most striking example is the group of philosophers gathered around the Accelerate manifesto, published last year, whose ambitions for humanity are summed up in the slogans, ‘Conquer death!’ and ‘Storm the heavens!’

Our extraterrestrial future features strongly in the Accelerationist writings, a ‘Maximum Jailbreak’ from a planet conceived as a prison. A similar attitude underlies the recent suggestion from Steve Fuller, professor of sociology at Warwick University, that the axis of politics is undergoing a 90-degree rotation: left and right, he argues, will be replaced by ‘up’ and ‘down’. Or, as the disaster engineer and sometime Dark Mountain contributor Vinay Gupta puts it, ‘Pretty soon, you’re going to have to take a political position: either pro- or anti-Mars base.’ So far, so sci-fi, but this reorientation is suggestive. Because, whatever other reasons are given, it seems rather as if space has now become the final refuge for a promise of progress that is out of credit here on Earth (Another tactic, with a similar undertone of desperation, is to borrow against the threat of apocalypse: ‘It has become a case of utopia or catastrophe,’ argues sci-fi novelist Kim Stanley Robinson, in a lecture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, ‘and utopia has gone from being a somewhat minor literary problem to a necessary survival strategy.’)

The other notable thing about the off-planet version of progress is how far removed it seems from everyday reality. This is not simply a matter of physical distance: in the 1950s and ’60s, the Space Age was able to capture the collective imagination, and the contrast to today is telling. It is not only readers of Dark Mountain who find visions of the rocket-propelled future weirdly anachronistic.

Keep following this line of argument and it could start to sound as if the myth of progress were a spent force, but this is too simple a conclusion. We live within a physical and a cultural infrastructure, built up over generations, much of which would have been unthinkable without the way of understanding the world contained in that myth. The sheer weight of these structures still carries our societies onwards: if we do go to Mars – as Tim Fox envisages in the opening essay of this issue – it will be by default rather than with enthusiasm, propelled by the momentum of a faith in which almost no one still believes, or rather the naked momentum of the exploitation machine which that faith once cloaked.

This leaves us with a challenge that goes deeper than argument: to extricate ourselves from deeply ingrained habits of thought, and to do so with care, with an attention to how we treat one another, with a realism about our vulnerabilities and our ongoing dependence on systems with which we are often far from comfortable, with an imagination capable of finding infinity in an hourglass. The Dark Mountain Project is not a political incubator, hatching the ‘down-wing’ of some new vertical alignment of politics (as if what the world needed were another binary opposition). Nor is it exactly what we thought it was, five years ago, when we wrote a manifesto for something like a literary movement. If only things were that simple.

It may just be one space (among others) in which people are able to find each other and start the kinds of conversation out of which new ways of making sense of the world take shape. There is no promise about how far this process will go or where it will take us – and the experience of these first five years has taught us to be open to unexpected turnings. Still, when we turn back to our earliest public attempt at framing the intentions of this project, it still feels like work to which we are alive, worth doing for its own sake, with no promises and no guarantees:

Words and images can change minds, hearts, even the course of history. Their makers shape the stories people carry through their lives, unearth old ones and breathe them back to life, add new twists, point to unexpected endings. It is time to pick up the threads and make the stories new, as they must always be made new, starting from where we are.

Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto (2009)

Thank you to everyone who has joined us over the past five years in the process of picking up the threads and remaking the stories. We hope to see you somewhere along the way.

You’ll find more where this came from in our latest book. 


Dark Mountain: Issue 5

By the time Gilgamesh shows up, it’s clear that the contributors to this issue of Dark Mountain have reached deep into the well of stories, where scatterings of stars are stitched into constellations. Here are the Pandavas and the Kauravas, rival clans of the Mahabharata, giving birth to strange children in stranger ways. And here, too, is old Adam, who has gone to seed and taken to naming racehorses while Eve found herself a lover from among the Nephilim.

The ground shakes, nine miles from Cape Canavarel, and a young Tim Fox watches from his parents’ lawn as Apollo 17 rumbles into the sky. Joanna Lilley’s abbatoir worker smuggles unslaughtered chickens home to his wife who feeds them sunflower seeds. Billy Templeton III’s grandfather stands naked in the eye of Hurricane Irene, shaking his body like a dogwood in the wind.

There is an underground walk that leads to the Black Chamber and an expedition in search of the Land of Cockaygne. Lauren Eden and Alastair McIntosh cross the sea to the Isle of Lewis, collecting memories of the seamen’s strike of 1966, when supplies from the Scottish mainland were cut off for six weeks. Charles Foster thinks he can shortcut the Vedic path to enlightenment, finds himself nose down on a forest floor for three days that end in a journey of six feet and three million years.

There are no shortage of ideas, here: writers attempting to make sense of the times and places in which we find ourselves, sometimes steering by the stars of old stories, sometimes getting oriented by objects and concepts closer to hand. Matt Szabo picks up threads of social theory from Max Weber and Zygmunt Bauman. Paul Kingsnorth draws on the work of psychologist Jonathan Haidt and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. And there is a further series of extracts from the late Dr. David Fleming’s Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It.

The other thing we’re proud of about this book is the artwork. For the first time, we have a dedicated art editor, Charlotte Du Cann, and it shows. In collaboration with Christian Brett of Bracketpress, she has redesigned the whole book, but the impact of this is most striking when you get to the colour sections.

Katrine Skovsgaard, 1844 Hours of Sunshine

There’s also more room given to the stories surrounding the images we publish. Katrine Skovsgaard’s image, 1844 Hours of Sunshine, is haunting enough in its own right, but it becomes unforgettable once you understand that each of those lines against which the pine tree is silhouetted was made by the passage of the sun on one of the 365 days over which her pinhole camera was exposed.

During the weekend of the final Uncivilisation festival, there were dozens of conversations about what should come next – how to keep what had mattered about those gatherings alive. Now that this book has arrived, it feels as if the spirit of the festival has got into its pages. There’s an extra force here, an energy and excitement that goes beyond what I remember from previous issues. The printed word cannot replace everything we have experienced in each other’s company – those of us who have had the chance to meet each other over the past five years – but somehow it seems that we channelled more of that experience into this book than I was aware of during the process of editing. I hope that you will feel that, too.

You’ll find more where this came from in our latest book.


Here Be Dragons

“Are there dragons?” she asked. I said that there were not. “Have there ever been?” I said all evidence was to the contrary. “But if there is a word dragon,” she said, “then once there must have been dragons.” Precisely. The power of language. Preserving the ephemeral; giving form to dreams, permanence to sparks of sunlight.

This is from Penelope Lively’s novel Moon Tiger (1). When something is named, given its own word, it is made visible, it exists. And, as the Dark Mountain manifesto says, ‘Words … can change minds, hearts, even the course of history.’

During the Dark Mountain event at the Wordsworth Trust, Paul Kingsnorth repeatedly stressed the DM mantra that ‘we must escape the language of science’. Scientists might have felt somewhat beleaguered as criticism and the Romantic poets flitted unavoidably through the discourse, although someone asked if there wasn’t a danger of the writing tending too far towards the spiritual, and ‘putting people off’.

‘Ergs and Bacon … Eliot and entropy’ (2)

Science needs special words because the meaning must be unambiguous; in contrast, ambiguity is often cherished in fiction and poetry. Poets such as Jo Shapcott, Lavinia Greenlaw and Robert Crawford, who have worked with scientists, absorb and revel in the language of science, using its words to open our eyes to new perspectives. As a novelist, but also a former research scientist, I too enjoy and use the language of science in my fiction, even though my novels are not ‘about’ science or scientists.

Scientists might use special words, but very little of the exclusivity of that mid-20th century attitude of ‘blinding them with science’ remains: one requirement of research funding these days is that scientists should communicate the excitement of what they are doing, and why. On the radio especially (where a person’s appearance can’t affect the listener’s judgement – no chance of commenting on that awful hair, that tedious smile, or those sexy legs: admit it, you do it too) you can hear scientists of all ages talking enthusiastically, comprehensibly and often with humour, about what they do and its implications. They use the words of science – but you will also hear them using metaphor, simile, painting visual images with words.

The Dark Mountain manifesto states that ‘creativity remains the most uncontrollable of human forces’. As mathematician Richard Feynman said, ‘science takes a lot of imagination,’ for although science does indeed require controlled experiments, creativity plays a major part in the scientific process too – the fun of ‘thinking outside the box’, of meeting and talking and exchanging ideas, of finding new ways of seeing. Scientists share ideas with scientists; scientists increasingly share ideas with artists, musicians, fiction writers and poets. Although the term ‘SciArt’ is passé, the collaborations continue; many are one-directional due to differing expectations, but many are enlightening: new ways of seeing, new ways of show and tell – artworks, websites and volumes of short stories (including the new genre ‘cli-fi’) and poems.

Who’s listening? (Where’s the market?)

But if we’re to escape the language of science and find a new lexicon to show what is happening to our world, to our ecosystems, we must select our targets carefully. Who do we want to read the poems, who will visit the exhibition, who will be so enraged and activated as to make a change?

Some of this new work will be read by the middle-class educated, some by the ‘worried well’. Politicans will not read it; those who work the land won’t read it; it won’t influence the Chinese lad with aspirations to own a car, or the Nigerian using poisons to extract gold, or the loggers denuding the Montana hills; nor the fund manager who hedges the price of wheat.

The language of science; the language of the spiritual; the language of profits and the globalised economy – their sentences are all too complicated, too abstract and impersonal.

We need to make it personal, to frame the questions in such a way that we can reconnect with our own ecological niche. The poet John Burnside (3,4) says many interesting things about the link between poetry and ecology, what he – and before him, Rachel Carson – calls ‘the science of belonging’. He also asks the question ‘what is to be done?’, with reference to the ‘degradation of our shared environment’. His answer (‘simple, banal, absurdly unambitious’) is that we walk, and by walking, engage with our environment and see our world as it is. You may want to look through the eyes of the Romantic poets, but you should also see the mundane. Why do dead leaves and a paper cup swirl in that corner of the street? Why is there a patch of strident, virulent green over there on the moor? Why are the molehills red? Why has a mattress been dumped there? Scientists ask questions, so do most (but not all) poets and novelists – and by questioning the mundane we’re forced to use a language that brings the environment closer to each of us.

The dragon in the room

But still the words are not personal enough for us all to act. The dragon in the room is barely visible amongst the throng of humans. We have overgrown our many and varied niches in the planet, there are too many of us trying to consume the dwindling resources.

I suggest that instead of agonising about a language, we should change the topic, stand on tiptoe to see the dragon whose name is over-population, and write about where the main problem lies. We must use the languages of science, of poetry, of fiction, to bang that message home in every way we can – because ultimately the business of having children, and trying to care for and feed them, is very personal. But the solution, through education and sensitivity, is eventually attainable. As David Attenborough says, ‘Just keep on about it, just keep on about it’ (5).The debate matters, and we must use whichever words are necessary.

1. Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger, 1988, Penguin.

2. Edwin Morgan, Pleasures of a Technological University, quoted in A Quark for Mister Mark , p121, eds. Maurice Riordan and Jon Turney, 2000, Faber

3. John Burnside, A Science of Belonging: Poetry as Ecology. p91, in the excellent Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science, ed Robert Crawford, 2006, OUP

4. Wild Reckoning, an anthology provoked by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, ed by John Burnside and Maurice Riordan, 2004, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

5. Sir David Attenborough: If we do not control population, the natural world will; and Is population growth out of control?