Derrick Jensen | The Sun Magazine #2

Derrick Jensen

Derrick Jensen’s most recent book is titled As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (Seven Stories Press). He lives in Crescent City, California.

— From February 2008
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Of Coyotes And Conversations

On the way to the chopping block, I picked up the hatchet. I laid him down, and he stretched out his neck. I swung the hatchet, but alas, not hard enough. He was wounded. His eyes caught mine, and I will never forget that look. They were soft, like a lover’s, and they said, “This hurts. Get it over with.” I swung again, and he was dead.

April 2001
The Sun Interview

Saving The Indigenous Soul

An Interview With Martín Prechtel

The Mayans say that the other world sings us into being. We are its song. We’re made of sound, and as the sound passes through the sieve between this world and the other world, it takes the shape of birds, grass, tables — all these things are made of sound. Human beings, with our own sounds, can feed the other world in return, to fatten those in the other world up, so they can continue to sing.

April 2001
The Sun Interview

A Weakened World Cannot Forgive Us

An Interview With Kathleen Dean Moore

When the earth is whole, it is resilient. But when it is damaged too severely, its power to heal itself seeps away. If we continue to turn against the land, pour chemical fertilizers onto worn-out fields, sanitize wastewater with poisons, dam rivers, burn oil, and bear more children, then there may be no chance of healing. A weakened world cannot forgive us.

March 2001
The Sun Interview

Road To Ruin

An Interview With Jan Lundberg

State and federal expenditures on highways and major roads total more than $160 million a day. The Cyprus Freeway in Oakland, for example, cost taxpayers thirty-five hundred dollars per inch. Simply to maintain U.S. roads in their current poor state would cost taxpayers about $25 billion per year. Yet we typically spend only $16 billion per year on maintenance, thus assuring that existing roads will deteriorate. Meanwhile, we spend more than $60 billion per year to widen existing roads and build new ones. Even from a strictly fiscal standpoint, it makes no sense to build more roads when we’re not maintaining the ones we’ve got.

February 2001
The Sun Interview

Getting Free

Escaping The Prisons Of Our Own Making — An Interview With Bo Lozoff

Those three years of retreat were the hardest of my life. I’d been doing prison work for almost twenty years, but that one incident in Louisiana popped my balloon, and everything deflated. I had no energy. Had I been in a mainstream career, people would have pushed me to take Prozac. But I recognized that a very important spiritual development was occurring, and I needed to follow it to its conclusion.

December 2000
The Sun Interview

Invasion Of The Classroom

How Corporations Buy Access To Children — An Interview With Alex Molnar

Schools get the Zap Me labs for no upfront cost, but they have to guarantee that children will use them for so many hours a day. And guess what: the browser portal has advertising on it. This means kids’ ability to do their schoolwork is contingent upon their viewing advertising.

November 2000
The Sun Interview

Crimes Of Punishment

An Interview With Christian Parenti

I describe SWAT teams in Fresno as a kind of postmodern public execution — a highly ritualized, highly theatrical display of the sovereign’s power. Like an invading army, they occupy whole neighborhoods, harass the residents, and surround the houses. They have machine guns, barking dogs, and armored personnel carriers. This is state propaganda, political theater, directed not at the “perp” holed up in the house, but at the hundreds of community members watching.

October 2000
The Sun Interview

Free Press For Sale

How Corporations Have Bought The First Amendment — An Interview With Robert McChesney

Thomas Jefferson and like-minded individuals included freedom of the press in the First Amendment because they knew that if the party in power were able to outlaw dissident newspapers, it could essentially abolish any dissent whatsoever. And, just as Jefferson had foreseen, in the late 1790s, President John Adams and the significantly antidemocratic Federalists who supported him tried to purge many of the radical newspaper editors in the country by means of the Alien and Sedition Acts: So the First Amendment wasn’t something the Founders dreamed up in order to protect Philip Morris investors two hundred years later. They had a very real, immediate political cause: the survival of democracy.

September 2000
The Sun Interview

Where The Buffalo Go

How Science Ignores The Living World — An Interview With Vine Deloria

I think the primary difference is that Indians experience and relate to a living universe, whereas Western people — especially scientists — reduce all things, living or not, to objects. The implications of this are immense. If you see the world around you as a collection of objects for you to manipulate and exploit, you will inevitably destroy the world while attempting to control it. Not only that, but by perceiving the world as lifeless, you rob yourself of the richness, beauty, and wisdom to be found by participating in its larger design.

July 2000
The Sun Interview

Nothing To Lose But Our Illusions

An Interview With David Edwards

What prison could be more secure than one we’re convinced is “the world,” where the boundaries of action and thought are assumed to be, not the limits of the permissible, but the limits of the possible? Democratic society, as we know it, is the ultimate prison, because who’s going to try to escape from a situation of apparent freedom? It follows, then, that we must be happy, because we can do whatever we want.

June 2000
The Sun Interview

Urban Renewal

The Resurrection Of An Ex-Gang Member — An Interview With Luis Rodríguez

Someone once pointed out to me that the word respect comes from the latin respectus, which means “to see again.” It’s a beautiful concept. We have to see each other again. We have to see the gang member again, and the poor farmer, too. As we see them again, we find they’re not that different from us, that a thread connects us all: the Indian on the reservation and the immigrant just arriving on these shores; the middle-class kid in the suburbs and the gang member in the inner city. The more we look, the thicker that thread becomes. Sometimes it may be invisible, but it’s there. We’ve got to make it more visible. There is no such thing as a separate reality. What we do here affects people over there.

April 2000
The Sun Interview

An Epidemic Of Deception

Why We Can’t Trust The Cancer Establishment — An Interview With Samuel Epstein

The American Cancer Society’s money — even that used for research — is spent in ways guaranteed not to offend either big polluters or big pharmaceutical companies. Why? In part, because the board of the ACS is closely interlocked with those same companies.

March 2000
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