Star Wars considered as an environmental feel-good movie

In "What If Star Wars Was Made By Environmentalists?" the movie is reimagined as "Star Non-Violent Resistance" and eco-tourism is used to establish independence from the empire; Vader is forced to file environmental impact statements on planetary destruction, etc. Funny!

What If Star Wars Was Made By Environmentalists?


  1. An interesting way to show just how silly pacifism really can be.

    You know what they say: One guy with a knife could kill an entire world of pacifists.

  2. I don’t know who it’s mocking.

    Environmentalists? Non-environmentalists?
    Is it advocating violence over ineffectual pacifism? Or is it making fun of the fact that our most famous and memorable movies are violent, unrealistic, and black and white?

    It seems like it’s mocking everyone involved.

    ~D. Walker

  3. Cory, you do understand what Derrick Jensen is trying to say?

    Jensen promotes a radical environmentalism that advocates the violent overthrow of civilisation itself. Those horrible motives that the right wing likes to claim greens have? They actually apply to Jensen and those of his ilk (Zerzan for example).

    I’m an anarchist and often travel in circles with those sympathetic to Jensen. I believe that capitalism, the state, religion, hetero-normativity, and all other forms of unjust hierarchy and domination must be abolished in order to bring about a more just and sustainable society. I believe that we all need to radically restructure our lives, including give up many technological conveniences (cars, large homes, air conditioning, etc) in order to prevent climate catastrophe and mass extension.

    However, I stand on the side of organisation against chaos, planning against immediate insurrection, and smart technology against smashing all tech.

    Jensen, the primitivists, and the insurrectionists disagree.

    Jensen believes that cities are unsustainable because they “require the importation of resources”. This is like saying that organisms are unsustainable because they require the importation of food.

    Unless we want to live in the stone age, people like Jensen must be stopped.

  4. There are three constituencies that might end up here and try to watch this:

    Most common on Boing Boing: Hardcore Star Wars nerds will be looking for a self-referential parody full of in-jokes that will reward their knowledge of the trivia and minutiae of the films and the background of the Star Wars universe. These people will not find Derrick Jensen funny. They won’t know what he’s talking about. They’ll think his Star Wars references are stupid.

    Anti-environmental laissez-faire capitalists and their cheerleaders will be looking for a parody of the environmental movement that impugns environmentalists’ motives and makes their concerns look foolish. These people will also be disappointed, and will be mystified by Jensen’s particular critique of mainstream environmentalism.

    Then there are the actual environmentalists. Most of these will think Derrick Jensen is a dangerous extremist preaching arson and mayhem to impressionable activists. Some of them will think he’s funny and insightful.

  5. Damn those limp liberals with their pacifism!

    Let us instead denounce them with our cynicism, for tho that will achieve far less, it will at least get me some laughs and I can make it sound like I am more radical than them to that rich chick who is considering getting dreadlocks but doesn’t like tofu.

  6. Silent Running is a great environmental sci-fi film, which happened to inspire the R2-D2 character. Check it out.

  7. Enunciate much?

    Wow, I couldn’t pick out half of what he said because he’s such a sloppy speaker. If you want to create PR videos, try picking a narrator that can actually speak properly.

  8. Jensen’s story was primarily aimed at other environmentalists who are involved in radical activism, so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t resonate with many people here.

    It’s his creative contribution to the ongoing (and sometimes pretty tiresome) debate over what kind of tactics are appropriate for resisting environmental destruction. As you can probably tell, Jensen is in the “by any means necessary” camp.

  9. > If you’re laughing, you may
    > be missing the point.

    Laughing is forbidden! You are not permitted to recognize the biting commentary on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the environmental movement’s severely balkanized internal politic and the use of ridicule and moral judgment to infantilize people who hold the opinion that ‘maybe if we actually DID something instead of just writing Earth Poems and updating our Facebook status we could make a positive impact’.

    Yes, you may not receive amusement from satire. It is SRS BSNSS.

  10. Jensen’s is a tough pill to swallow, but that doesn’t mean he’s not right. I read “Endgame” with every intention of finding the hole in his argument, but I could not.

  11. Jensen’s politics and tactics aside, I think this snippet should resonate with anyone who has ever done any kind of activism. Environmentalists aren’t the only activists whose efforts are continually frustrated by lousy tactics and infighting. Watching this made me relive my stint doing anti-Iraq war activism, during which I was admonished for daring to put a yellow “support the troops” ribbon on a banner (you know, to maybe appeal to the massive center a little bit) because it was a “racist symbol” and was “pandering.”

  12. As has been said, Jensen’s purpose with this analogy is as a satire of the futility of passive resistance to the destruction of the environment by corporations and all growth based civilisations.

    This should, by now, be self evident to all.

    The Deep Ecology movement (of which Jensen is a part) has a valid argument. If industrial civ (or civ itself) is going to destroy life on earth, then don’t we have a duty to resist it, or to destroy it?

    I don’t have an easy answer – but to dismiss him and the DE movement as Unabombers is trite.

    Those interested in the topic should start by reading “Ishmael”, by Daniel Quinn. Whether or not you agree with Quinn’s POV, it’s an interesting interpretation of human history since the Agricultural Revolution.

  13. First, I want to say that I thought this video was hilarious, and indeed also a biting critique of pacifism in social movements.

    “The Deep Ecology movement (of which Jensen is a part) has a valid argument. If industrial civ (or civ itself) is going to destroy life on earth, then don’t we have a duty to resist it, or to destroy it?”

    No, this is where Derrek Jensen and the rest of the anti-civ people have it completely wrong. We can have 7 billion people on this earth *because* of civilisation. If that civilisation goes away, it will be the greatest holocaust the world has ever known involving the death of billions.

    If we want to save lives, and indeed the world, we should be figuring out how to find sustainable methods of living with the people we have. Jensen is almost certainly right that what we are doing right now involving purchasing fair trade coffee and going on eco-tours is going to do absolutely fuck-all. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying to figure out ways that we can do it. If we can’t find a way, then the anti-civ dream will come true anyhow.

  14. “To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox: whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.”

    PK Dick(from Valis, p.134)

  15. Politics or causes aside – from a very high-level it is amusing that he is using pop culture, and a very specific piece of pop culture, to make his point, whether you feel that point has humor attached to it or not.

    Any argument or point he makes fails, because using pop culture shows an unabashed knowledge and slight fondness for civilization’s excess.

    Also his use of this subject implies the SW reference he makes is ubiquitous. That you may not understand the circles and topics he travels in, but by applying it to pop culture surrogates, you may gain a better understanding of either the humor or the folly of a POV, by completely toying with a ficticious POV already ingrained in the relm of “common knowledge”. This is a fail too – everyone will tune out at the beginning, knowing ewoks would never use stimulants.

  16. Now I don’t know if I agree with Derrik Jensen’s views or not. From what I read about him in the comments here, if he’s as much anti-civilization as some here suggest, then I doubt it. However, Jensen is right. The modern “activist” community is horribly ineffective. It’s all about “raising awareness” and being outraged, but it’s definitely not about actually ACHIEVING anything. We see it all the time with unfocused protests that try and bring every cause under the sun into one big protest. It’s all about getting upset and “struggling.” These activists are utterly contemptible, because not only are they engaged in self-centered intellectual masturbation, but they’re actually DOING HARM by discrediting the very political positions that claim to represent. No one wants to join your damn drum circle. People on the fence see that and think, “Geez. These people are crazy. Maybe the other side is right.” And so you leave.

    The modern left is forces of the status quo’s most potent weapon.

  17. Psshh. Typical sane people, thinking that Gandhi and Martin Luther King were right or effective.

    This “let’s blow up shit to advance our cause” won’t convince anyone that we need to save our environment. Even saying we should go to just before the Industrial Revolution, no cars or electricity or modern medicine, won’t work.

    There was a reason the population of Earth didn’t hit a billion until the 19th century. A bunch of people died because there was very little food, very little protection against disease and very few people to reproduce with that lived in walking distance. If you say we should save the environment by going backward to some previous point, you basically are condemning at least a billion people to die, mainly in Africa.

    The only way that Africa and Asia will industrialize and prosper is continued technology. We’re going to have to make some sacrifices, like no GMOs or organic farming, and we’ll need to find a way to power the earth efficiently and with as little an impact as possible but we can do that, if we can land on the moon and come back, we can do that.

  18. @Jacobian:
    “We can have 7 billion people on this earth *because* of civilisation”

    we DO have 7 billion people because of civilization….but there’s no way this planet can sustain 7 billion people on this planet. It’s simply not possible.

    “Any argument or point he makes fails, because using pop culture shows an unabashed knowledge and slight fondness for civilization’s excess.”

    I don’t follow your logic at all. Because he is aware of the existence of Star Wars (and maybe even enjoyed it) nothing he says about civilization can possibly be true?

  19. @Jacobian:
    We can have 7 billion people on this earth *because* of civilisation. If that civilisation goes away,

    “Have” and “can have” are two different things. We have seven billion people. We can’t have it for long. We are using everything up faster than it grows back.

    it will be the greatest holocaust the world has ever known involving the death of billions.

    Those billions will die anyway. We are all going to die, eventually. Everybody dies. You already knew that. What we can control is whether the inevitable discontinuity is manageable or apocalyptic, and whether or not our descendents inherit anything from us worth having.

    @homestarrunrun is just one fallacy after another.

    Nobody would be promoting Gandhi as one of their new Jesus products if World War II had not destroyed Britain and rendered Empire untenable. Gandhi would be a footnote in Asian history and no American would know or care who he was.

    The last thing Africa needs is more white people running around creating elaborate excuses and cover stories for the next round of foreign exploitation.

    If we can send a dozen guys to the moon and get them back, we must be able to feed and power an industrial civilization, with billions of people and an entrenched ideology of endless exponential growth, without using everything up? No, that does not follow.

  20. Hey, you know where’s a good place to start an active resistance? China!

    Fastest growing fossil fuel consumers in the world and all kinds of horrible anti-environmental things going on there.

    Go on. Sick e’m boy!

  21. How wrong was the unabomber? Did you read the whole manifesto? And, furthermore, how wrong is Jensen? Read his books and approach his philosophy with an open mind. People are killing the planet, and the planet is over-populated, and pursuing an unsustainable quality of life. What’s the next step? Ask corporate America nicely to stop? What? They’re not listening? Now what…?

  22. # 34

    “we have to make sacrifices.”

    Which we are you talking about? Don’t forget that we live in a biotic community as well. But more to the point, population growth and oil consumption parallel each other. Unfortunate, oil is borrowed energy against the future. Meanwhile petroleum-fueled farming (transportation, fertilizer, machinery) is making land unfarmable. You cannot genetically engineer good soil that is full of nutrients. And you can’t eat iPods when you are hungry. Sorry.

  23. “Unless we want to live in the stone age, people like Jensen must be stopped.”

    Thank you…. thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m also a fellow anarchist, and I’ve got to agree with everything there. Jensen, Zerzan and the other primitivists and anti-civ folks are a scourge. Just because some technology was destructive doesn’t make all technology destructive. We’re supposed to grow and adapt as a species not regress. Feudalism sucked, so we moved to capitalism, capitalism sucks, some experimented with state socialism others trying to bring about an anarchist society. But either way that was growth. Technology is getting better and better at not being destructive, what needs to happen is that the incentive needs to change. Instead of profit being the incentive we need to folks on community and sustainability as the primary motives, and this will only happen with the over throw of capitalism.

  24. @#40

    “Technology is getting better and better at not being destructive”

    how do you figure? (note, just because you don’t see the destruction, doesn’t mean it’s not happening)

    also, Jensen never says that all technology is bad. He says that destroying your landbase is bad – and that as long as there is system in place which rewards people for destroying their landbase, they will continue to do so.

  25. Unless we want to live in the stone age, people like Jensen must be stopped.

    This comment must have leaked over from a parallel universe, where Derrick Jensen has some kind of power, and any hope of ever accomplishing any of his goals.

    Here in our universe … “must be stopped,” from what? Speaking at independent bookstores?

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