Deep Waters: An Invitation

Paul Kingsnorth & Dougald Hine are the founders of the Dark Mountain Project.
There is nothing new about oil companies trashing our oceans, seabeds, shores and coastal lands. Just ask the people of the Niger Delta. Our ways of living are founded on ecocidal industries – and we are trapped between the desire to sustain those ways of living and the possibility, creeping further into public consciousness, that they might simply be impossible to sustain, in every sense.

Yet the Deepwater Horizon disaster – and the highly-televised flailing which followed it – have some of the qualities of those moments in which public consciousness shifts. There is a sudden sense of betrayal, for those whose places and livelihoods have been desecrated, and for millions more who can identify with them. Few environmental disasters have reached so far into the consciousness of those who would never consider themselves environmentalists.

Could this be some kind of turning point? And, if so, what is there left to turn towards?

Since its launch a year ago, Dark Mountain has sought to offer a space for deepening conversations about the unfolding ecological, social and economic crises among which we find ourselves. Conversations which take in not only technical, scientific and political considerations, but the deep roots of these crises in our ways of seeing and the stories we tell about history, necessity and our place in the world. So, today, we are making a new invitation to reflect on the experience of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and what it means: for the United States and its view of the future, for a world hitting at ecological limits, and for those most immediately affected by it.

Over the next few weeks, we will be seeking responses from poets and engineers, philosophers and fishermen, songwriters, storytellers and statisticians. This is an invitation to mourn, to interpret, to contextualise or to prophesy – to create, in whatever form suits your thoughts and feelings, work which does justice to what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico and to all the less-publicised acts of ecocide echoed in this event.

A selection of the resulting work will be featured on this site – and we hope to publish it in a Print-on-Demand special issue of Dark Mountain. We are open to video and audio, as well as poetry, fiction and non-fiction, photography and images of all kinds. Work should reach us by Monday 16th August at the latest, but we will consider pieces as they arrive and begin publishing those selected as guest posts on this blog over the next few weeks.

Please send your work to [email protected] and use the subject line ‘Deep Waters’.


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