by Kendra Langdon Juskus
The most recent issue of Orion Magazine (a forum for exploring the intersection of the natural and cultural worlds) features a column by writer-activist Derrick Jensen, entitled “Forget Shorter Showers.” The piece is a controversial one, generating lots of lively discussion on Orion’s website. Its main tenet is that lifestyle changes adopted on an individual level are powerless to change creation’s trajectory toward destruction, and that more organized forms of resistance to that destruction are crucial for any change to happen.
“Personal change doesn’t equal social change,” Jensen asserts, explaining the four main problems with relying on personal changes to a more simple lifestyle: prioritizing personal change assumes “that humans inevitably harm their landbase;” it places blame for environmental degradation on the individual, rather than on corporate industrial and municipal parties; it accepts that we are consumers and limits our action to the realm of consumption; and its logic ends in suicide (in order to do the least harm to creation, we must disappear).
With assertions like these (and a lack of clear alternatives to the problems presented), Jensen’s article begs for engagement and discussion. But neither Jensen nor Orion Magazine profess a faith perspective, and Christians will find that perspective critical in any contructive engagement with this article. So in addition to inviting your responses to Jensen’s article, over the next week we will be featuring responses from well-respected Christian voices in the creation care movement. Stay tuned to be in on the conversation.
Read Derrick Jensen’s “Forget Shorter Showers” at Orion Magazine.