Star Wars – The Environmentalists Version

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The weapon of choice, a vegan cream pie“I don’t know if you know this, but the original draft of the movie star wars was not written by Lucas, the original draft was written by environmentalists. And it’s a little bit different”

Those were the first words I ever heard Derrick Jensen speak, and my world view has never been the same since. The year was 2006 and I had just moved to New York City to work for Democracy Now!. I was taping the Community Solutions conference, a peak oil convention held at Cooper Union. Unlike the other speakers, Derrick did not talk about about solar panels or wind turbines. He spoke of our culture’s systematic destruction of the planet and of the failure of the environmental movement. After hearing his talk, I immediately sought out his books and the first seeds of END:CIV were planted.

The “Star Wars” piece is one of Derrick’s best analogies, one that delivers a precise critique of mainstream environmental groups.

Directed by Franklin López, Motion Graphic support by pussykrew . Production assistance by Paul Clarke, Annette Fick, Rosalee Yagihara and Chris Bevacqua

19 Responses to “Star Wars – The Environmentalists Version”

  1. 1 gaia punk

    Epilogue: After the destruction of the rebel planet witty author and anti-civ environmentalist Derrick Jensen writes jaded but interesting books about the ineptness of the environmental movement and the horrors of civilization and after doing quite well with sales decides to go on a speaking tour through out the empire. Don’t get me wrong I like Jensen’s books but fuck aren’t most of us Jaded enough already. There is good news out there too…
    In the words of a great band Black bird Raum, “I wish that the earth was green again, I wish I had a gun in my hand”.

  2. 2 Ollie

    Threw this up on videosift – I think it will do well there, get some more views. I did the same for all your other videos. Trying to get the word out any way that I can. These videos really strike you, and make you think. A lot of us really need to stop and think, and contemplate whether we want to continue the way we are.

    Much respect, much love!

    Jolly Ollie

  3. 3 z

    my own liberal hand-wringing

  4. 4 resister

    Fuckin bootifull Rob!

  5. 5 z

    oh yeah, and as much as i like this video for its wit and poke, i have to ask: where is this thermal exhaust all we have to do is drop a bomb down?

  6. 6 J4zonian

    Jensen isn’t criticizing mainstream environmental groups; he’s criticizing non-violence. He’s angry and wants to commit violence and makes fun of people who understand better than he does the meaning and effectiveness of love and non-violent solutions–or rather, the INeffectiveness of violent solutions (especially when used by the less powerful.) He has good reason to be angry–furious in fact–as we all do about the abuses heaped on us and the rest of nature. What we do with that anger will make the difference between winning and losing. If we recognize and own it we can finally begin to do something effective–effectively non-violent–about the abuse.

    I love and value what he has to say about lots of issues and his talk and the video are funny–and a poor analogy for what’s going on with us. It’s fiction, and myth–see what Joseph Campbell has to say about the Star Wars movies.

  7. 7 Maxwell Black


    “he’s criticizing non-violence.”

    No, he is mocking those who dogmatically insist upon non-violence while considering other tactics as unthinkable.

    In his book Endgame, (which this comedic section is from) he actually goes out of his way to remind people that “we need it all.” Meaning, that yes, we need sit-ins, protests, media campaigns, letter writing, legal actions, lawsuits etc. However, at the same time we also need militant direct action, property destruction, and yes, what the corporate super-state would refer to as “violence.” I would call it self defense.

    From the tone (and words) of your comment it seems you at least agree that something needs to be done. Me too. I would just say that different people are comfortable with different tactics. I’m personally not ready to use certain tactics that Jensen has referenced in his work, but I would not judge those who did; we just have different skill sets that we are using to solve the same problem. We need mutual solidarity on both dimensions of this commitment.

    “He’s angry and wants to commit violence and makes fun of people who understand better than he does the meaning and effectiveness of love and non-violent solutions–or rather, the INeffectiveness of violent solutions (especially when used by the less powerful.”

    OK, he is angry! However I don’t think he has ever written about WANTING to commit “violence” but instead has talked about the necessity of certain acts if we’re serious about saving the natural world (meaning our home and thus ourselves.)

    The next half of the sentence:

    “…people who understand better than he does the meaning and effectiveness of love and non-violent solutions”

    I would love to meet these “people.” I’ve been politically engaged now for almost ten years and have never seen one example of this statement being true…EVEN WHEN I BELIEVED THAT STUFF!

    Quick, name one victory for: non-whites, (especially working class and poor non-whites) white working class (or poor whites/ 65% of poor Americans)single mothers, eco-systems, forests, oceans, media space and on and on and on.

    I’ve never seen one victory. And I have tried. I’ve written essays, signed petitions, donated money to Left media, gone to protests, held candles…and nothing.

    I think we’re in a situation where non-symbolic action trumps symbolic action (meaning magical love and non-violent ‘solutions’.)In other words if we really want to stop a clearcut we don’t send the government/corporations our prayers, hearts and bunnies: we instead should break all of their equipment and block their supply lanes. Everything else is wishful thinking.

    This next part though, is especially telling and is what caught my eye:

    “…especially when used by the less powerful.”

    Ah, since we’re doing DJ here, here is premise four:

    Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

    This speaks for itself.

    “He has good reason to be angry–furious in fact–as we all do about the abuses heaped on us and the rest of nature. What we do with that anger will make the difference between winning and losing. If we recognize and own it we can finally begin to do something effective–effectively non-violent–about the abuse.”

    I’m glad that you properly called it all abuse. And I almost agree with the rest. I just think that if we really do care about the things we say we do then–just like our corporate government says about it’s ambitions and dreams–all options should be left on the table.

    peace, love and explosive bunnies


  8. 8 Jen

    hmm, irony, double edged, it must really hurt, hope you are alright. don’t know if it is the film or the screen, but some are not looking too good, would be good to embrace health, eat better, drink water

  9. 9 Frank Gubasta

    i listened to a talk jensen gave where he said a certain cell phone tower needs to be taken down and the surrounding empty parking lot torn up and a vegetable garden planted. i e-mailed him calling him on it. i said: when you’re ready to start taking the tower down, i’ll come to the site with a pick and shovel and some seeds and start ripping up the asphalt surrounding the tower. of course i never heard back from him. he talks a big game (a talktivist – not an activist) urging others to do things that would land them in prison. i also heard him being questioned by someone regarding acts of sabotage (blowing things up) and he said i’m a good and fast writer (and not very modest i might add) but i’m not good with explosives (let’s leave prison for someone else who’s got the balls – [anyone can learn the ‘art’ of using TNT or molotov cocktails if they truly wanted to]). while he seems genuinely concerned about the state of the ecosystem, i’d like just once to see him do something like jeffrey ‘free’ luers did (burn up some suv’s and got 20 odd years for his courage), instead of urging others to do said acts and keeping his own hands clean and out of prison. people like him need to be called on for their bullshit, and just maybe the bastard is on the FBI payroll as an agents provocateur.
    you want the towers to come down and parking lots ripped up then get rid of your cars and your cell phones. as gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world.”

    The Final Solution:

  10. 10 dane842

    Jensen also talks about not getting caught, there are lots of ways to get caught when using the internet, talking to strangers and publicizing the things you do to put your money where your mouth is.

  11. 11 Gary Voss

    If we simply toilet train the world, we won’t need to change a thing. It’s that simple! Let’s be the change we want to see!

  12. 12 Namo Lundeen

    I’m going to side with Mr. Frank Gubasta. I’ve noticed that a lot of people like Jenson talk a really big game when it comes to property destruction, and yet so few of them actually carry out the acts themselves. They prefer to let others do their dirty work for them and face all the legal consequences.

    You can knock non-violent civil disobedience all you want. At least those that engage in it practice what they preach. They preach non-violence as a means to social change, and they live by it. People like Jenson never seem to actually practice what they preach. They just go tour around talking and making money while others listen to their rhetoric and go to prison for them.

    Tell me Jenson, how would the Black Bloc have dealt with the Death Star? All I’ve ever seen from them is a few broken windows and some overturned dumpsters. Is that what they would have done to the Death Star? Would they have run through it’s hallways dumping garbage as they went, maybe occasionally smashing a window? And you’re going to tell me that that’s so much more effective that what civil disobedience has accomplished?

    You know, if there’s one lesson we should learn from the RNC it’s that the government WANTS us to be violent. That’s why they attempt to entrap us into making bombs. That’s why they send in provocateurs. That’s why when the police attack a peaceful crowd with tear gas and pepper spray, they can say, “The anarchists done gone made me done it!”

    I’m not really in the habit of policing other people’s protest tactics. If you absolutely feel you have to engage in property destruction, well then have at it. But Jenson can take his civil disobedience critique and shove it up his hypocritical ass. Have a nice day y’all and keep fighting the power. But be fucking smart about. Peace.

  13. 13 Anonymous

    Well this got a few fingers wagging.

    I don’t reckon we can criticise the ideas, by criticising the one who verbalises them. Yeah, maybe this motherfucker is not on the front line throwing cherry-bombs. But what he says rings true with some of those who are, and most are not hypocritical. You can criticise the ideas, but not the man, because he’s just some schmuck, not an idealised super-man.

  14. 14 Justine Naive

    This is narrated by Jensen who thinks it is inevitable that most of the people on the planet will die in nasty ways – and that anyone who tries to prevent this is stupid, naive and will destroy the planet. Of course, he thinks movement building and strategy is futile – except for the movement that he has the strategy and the goals all lined up for. But uncoordinated urban gardening and the like is good – not as good as blowing stuff up randomly, but good.

    The plot gets a bit more complex when you see the whole movie . . . the heroes burn or blow up all the cities, factories and bicycles and that causes the death star to implode and 12% of the population lives happily ever after (after eating the other 88% that is). Hey, that would be a movie!

  15. 15 Jamie

    A lot of people like to get right down to violence vs peace, think about it, pick a side, and not look at the variables involved in the arguments that Jensen presents.

    But no one, in their emotional pleas for peace, brings up any peaceful movements that have accomplished anything at all. Anything at all. And no one chooses to address the historical peace movements that Jensen brings to the discussion, which would have accomplished nothing without the physical resistance that took place simultaneously. As in, it is clearly argued that the peace activist heroes of our day simply rewrite history, to avoid debating the real mechanisms of change at the time, that actually took place.

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