Our Green Reads book group recently discussed The Monkey Wrench Gang with an equal number of people on Zoom and in person, a true hybrid experience.
The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel by Edward Abbey, who was an anarchist and environmental activist; his writing heavily influenced the environmental movement, especially out west. Our discussion really homed in on what is environmental action as opposed to environmental terrorism and how it differs from civil disobedience. We each offered our thoughts about what we were comfortable with personally. Some of us could really see the value of eco action and appreciate the efforts that lead to change in policy over the years. Others of us were less comfortable with the approach that was demonstrated by the Monkey Wrench Gang. Perhaps there is a role for the whole spectrum of actions to eventually arrive at a place that is in the productive middle where real change can be made.
Frequently somebody in the group will say, “What can we DO about all of these problems?” Our increased environmental literacy is a great outcome of the group. I am recognizing that as we get to know each other better and can speak most authentically, this is a great forum for airing our feelings and concerns. We get to hear others say what we might also be thinking. Anxiety can be kept a bit at bay when our fears and frustrations are spoken aloud. There is real value in that.
Here is an article in the Washington Post that talks about How to cope with the existential dread of climate change. I think it is worth reading. Our book group can support at least one strategy in getting through these times.