Chris Thomas: Conservation In The Age Of Climate Crisis

Ecologist and author Chris Thomas discusses his view of whether abrupt changes in the global climate system will lead to severe loss of life on this planet, in particular human life — or whether many of the fears regarding this subject are overblown (but still rooted in legitimate understanding of where these global changes can ultimately lead). Chris invites us to look at species loss with a longer view, and understand these trends within perspective of millions of years of biological evolution and ecological change on this planet.

Chris Thomas is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, interested in the dynamics of biological change in the Anthropocene. He works on the responses of species to climate change, habitat fragmentation, and biological invasions. He is interested in developing conservation strategies appropriate for a period of rapid environmental change. In addition to his scientific publications, Chris has been a co-editor of nine scientific journals and is the author of ‘Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction.’ Learn more about Chris and his book here:

This is a segment of episode #145 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Inheritors Of The Earth: Approaching Conservation In The Anthropocene w/ Chris Thomas.” Listen to the full episode:

Kevin Hester & Rob Seimetz: Conversations At The End Of Time

The nature of this discussion with Kevin Hester and Rob Seimetz is to approach the difficulties of accepting the reality of the situation we are in and applying this understanding to our day-to-day existence, with all the complexities and inconsistencies that come with that. As the climate crisis continues to accelerate, and the likelihood of mass human displacement and extinction increases by the year, what does it mean to live and be in this time? The deeper question that comes up in the face of the likely near-term extinction of the human species is: what is this crisis asking of us as individuals and as a collective? How do we act in this time?

In the face of extinction, it is imperative that we act and resist beautifully, with love, in the time that we have, without being attached to the outcome. There is no map to the territory we have entered into, as individuals and as a species. At the very least, we must begin the process of accepting this truth in light of our current predicament, and aid others in their journey to acceptance, as well.

Kevin Hester is the host of Nature Bats Last on the Progressive Radio Network, and lives on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand. Kevin’s website:

Rob Seimetz is the host of Moving Forward on the Progressive Radio Network, contributes frequently to the online publication Counterpunch, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon in the United States. Rob’s website:

This is a segment of episode #144 of Last Born In The Wilderness “At The End: The Conversations We Need To Start Having w/ Kevin Hester & Rob Seimetz.” Listen to the full episode:

Ben Etherington: Primitivist Transformation & The Utopia Of Pre-History*

In this segment, writer and lecturer Ben Etherington and I discuss Primitivism in contemporary culture and media, using the highest grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s ‘Avatar,’ as the focus of the discussion.

In modern Western societies, the primitivist ideal is expressed though various means — a few examples being contemporary dietary fads like the “Paleo Diet,” fitness regimens like barefoot/minimalist running, radical anti-civilizational and anti- technological political philosophies (e.g. the works of anarcho-primitivist John Zerzan and the manifesto of the UNABOMBER Theodore Kaczynski) — as well as in popular films, literature, and art. Primitivist themes and aesthetics run through several popular films, most notably in James Cameron’s blockbuster film ’Avatar.’

To quote from Ben’s essay: “The plot of the film follows the tested formula of primitivist transformation. A man of civilization, in this case the paraplegic US marine Jake Sully, is sent to colonize the primitive lands beyond civilization’s perimeter only himself to ‘go primitive’ after learning of their innocent beauty and recognizing the barbarism of his own destructive civilization. It’s a structure that underlies other blockbusters like ‘Dances with Wolves,’ its sci-fi equivalents, and numerous journey-into-the-interior classics (especially the work of Joseph Conrad). Eros is built into this formula. Coition marks the point at which the civilized man gives himself over to the primitive tribe and discovers, or recovers, his primitive self. Primitivist utopias, in short, are fuckable utopias.”

What does this theme of “primitivist transformation” tell us about our current set of living arrangements in the “modern” world? What does this longing for more “primitive” forms of living and being mean within the broader scope of historical development, especially as we enter into the late stage of capitalist development on this planet?

Ben Etherington is senior lecturer in postcolonial and world literary studies in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. He holds honours degrees in Musicology and English from the University of Western Australia. He was awarded a General Sir John Monash Award to undertake an MPhil and PhD in English at the University of Cambridge, where he was later a Faculty of English research fellow. His publications include ‘Literary Primitivism’, the ‘Cambridge Companion to World Literature,’ and ‘Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry.’

Read Ben’s essay ‘The New Primitives’ published in the Los Angeles Review of Book:

Read anarcho-primitivist John Zerzan’s response to the essay:

This is a segment of episode #143 of Last Born In The Wilderness “The New Primitives: The Reverse Teleology Of Primitivist Transformation w/ Ben Etherington.” Listen to the full episode:

*Changed the title from what is displayed in the video at the request of Ben.

Tad Hargrave: The Poverty Of White Culture

To be labeled and exist as a “white” person in our current era is to live with certain privileges within the dominant culture of North America — some of which are subtle, and many of which are not subtle at all. It is important to note that along with the privileges that come with existing as a white person in modern North America, to be "white" is also to lack a connection to the land and place white people reside in. Also, to be "white" is to bear unacknowledged wounds -- intergenerational traumas that inevitably stem from being the descendants of people that fled the brutalities of Europe during centuries of land enclosures, colonial expansion, and rapid industrialization. In the process of assimilating to the dominant culture of North America, North Americans of European descent shed themselves of their ethnic and cultural traditions and ties to their homelands, and instead adopted the racial identity and social category of “white.” Of course, I’m speaking in broad generalities when it comes to this subject, but I do think that by understanding the historical trends and events that have brought us to this time and place we are in, we can begin to have an honest conversation about the subject of race, as well as engage in the difficult task of unpacking the concept of “whiteness” and begin reckoning with what we may find in this exploration. Tad Hargrave provides a nuanced and enlightening perspective in our examination of the concept of “whiteness" and superbly wrestles with the complexity of the subject.

Tad Hargrave is a man with an eclectic background. Tad is a founding member of several comedy troupes, dedicated almost two years of his life learning his ancestral language (Scottish Gaelic) in Nova Scotia and Scotland, runs a marketing website “Marketing For Hippies,” worked as the Executive Director of the Canadian branch of Youth for Environmental Sanity (a world renowned youth organization), and writes for the the blog “Healing From Whiteness: Remembering the Larger Story of History” — which is the basis of this discussion. Read more here:

This is a segment of episode #142 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Reckoning With Whiteness: Privilege & The Wounds Of Identity w/ Tad Hargrave.” Listen to the full episode:

Charles Eisenstein: The Dream of the Land & The Purpose of Humanity

In this segment, Charles Eisenstein discusses the themes and ideas presented in his upcoming book ‘Climate: A New Story,’ a book that "flips the script on climate change," making the "case for a wholesale reimagining of the framing, tactics, and goals we employ in our journey to heal from ecological destruction,” in which the global climate crisis ultimately stems from.

Charles points to what the global climate crisis, and the ecological crisis more broadly, is asking of us. Is humanity meant for self-destruction (an evolutionary cul-de-sac), or is this crisis pointing to something else entirely? Can we develop a right relationship and role within the living systems of this planet by beginning the sacred process of healing from the wounds we have wrought on our long journey to this moment? Are we going to continue to live within and act on behalf of a paradigm that disconnects us from the living planet, alienates and disconnects us from each other and the land we live on, and rationalizes the ongoing maintenance of a global economic system that demands infinite growth in order to exist? The climate crisis, and the ecological crisis more broadly, points to the deeper crisis of meaning humanity is coming up against in this time we find ourselves in. The stories we have been telling ourselves about our role on this planet no longer make sense, for very obvious reasons. The abrupt changes in the global climate system speaks to this reality.

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer that focuses on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. He is the host of the podcast ‘A New and Ancient Story,’ a podcast that engages in topics that “revolve around concepts of interbeing and ‘technologies of reunion’ — anything drawing from and contributing to a new story, including material, social, psychological, agricultural, healing, and educational ‘technologies.’” He is the author of several books that expound on these topics, including ‘The Yoga of Eating,’ ‘The Ascent of Humanity,’ ’Sacred Economics,’ ’The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible,’ and most recently ‘Climate: A New Story.’ Learn more about Charles and his work at his website:

Learn more and purchase ’Climate: A New Story’ here:

This is a segment of episode #141 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Initiation: A New Story Of Climate w/ Charles Eisenstein.” Listen to the full episode:

Jeremy Lent: Neoliberalism & The Narrative Of Progress

Jeremy Lent — integrator and author of ‘The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning’ — discusses the work of popular science author Steven Pinker and his defense of the “progress narrative” implicit in the neoliberal economic paradigm that dominates political and economic policy of the modern era. Jeremy initially presented his brilliant critique of Pinker’s work and the “progress narrative” in his widely-shared article ‘Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.’ Read that piece here:

Jeremy Lent is an author and founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering a worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth. The Liology Institute, which integrates systems science with ancient wisdom traditions, holds regular workshops and other events in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to ‘The Patterning Instinct,’ Jeremy is author of the novel ‘Requiem of the Human Soul.’ Jeremy holds a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Learn more about Jeremy and his work at his website:

Learn more about the Liology Institute here:

This is a segment of episode #140 of Last Born In The Wilderness “The Grand Narrative Of Progress: The Neoliberal Order & Participatory Politics w/ Jeremy Lent.” Listen to the full episode here:

Dr. Joe Tafur: Ayahuasca, Shamanism, & Healing On The Genetic Level

Dr. Joe Tafur, Family Physician and Shipipo-trained Shaman, discusses how two seemingly different traditions (i.e. Western medicine and Shipibo shamanism) can become more integrated with each other, in ways previously not understood or considered possible, for doctors and shamans alike. We discuss how Shipibo shamanism and the administering of sacred plant medicines within this shamanic practice works on the epigenetic level of the illness, generating dramatic changes within the “emotional body” of the individual, manifesting on the physical level of the body.

Dr. Joe Tafur is the author of ‘The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.’ Dr. Tafur is an Integrative Medicine activist, having studied medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. After residency, Dr. Tafur subsequently completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry under psychoneuroimmunology expert Dr. Paul Mills. While in San Diego, he also served on the board for the Alternative Healing Network and on the Steering Committee for the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine. At the center, Dr. Tafur completed traditional apprenticeship in ayahuasca shamanism. He is both doctor and shaman. Learn more about Dr. Tafur and his work at his website:

Support Dr. Tafur’s research with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) through his organization Modern Spirit:

This is a segment of episode #139 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Physician, Heal Thyself: Ayahuasca, Epigentics, & Integrative Medicine w/ Dr. Joe Tafur.” Listen to the full episode:

Douglas Rushkoff: Whistleblowing, Assange, & The End Of Democracy

In this segment, Douglas Rushkoff discusses his views on the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks and its Editor Julian Assange, the controversial DNC email leaks released during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and what Assange’s motivations behind the leaks may have been. I ask Douglas to share his thoughts on whistleblowing in the digital age, his view on the pro-transparency activism of whistleblower organizations like WikiLeaks, and the question of whether democracy is truly possible and attainable in our media-saturated culture.

Douglas Rushkoff is a writer, documentarian, and lecturer. Douglas has authored numerous best-selling books, including ‘Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity,’ ‘Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,’ ‘Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age,’ and the yet-to-be released ’Team Human.’ He is Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens. He wrote the graphic novels ‘Aleister & Adolf,’ ‘Testament,’ and ‘A.D.D.,’ and made the television documentaries ‘Generation Like,’ ‘Merchants of Cool,’ ‘The Persuaders,’ and ‘Digital Nation.’ He lives in New York, and lectures about media, society, and economics around the world. Douglas’s lifetime of work has focused primarily on human autonomy in the digital age.

Learn more about Douglas and his work, and pre-order his upcoming book ‘Team Human’ here:

This is a segment of episode #138 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Survival of the Richest: Anticipating 'The Event' & The Anti-Human Agenda w/ Douglas Rushkoff.” Listen to the full episode:

Max Wilbert: Dismantling The Culture Of Empire

Our culture is a life-destroying force on this planet. What is to be done in the face of the reality industrial civilization is forging on the living planet we all share? Max Wilbert and I discuss this question within the context of Max's years of work discussing and raising awareness of the large-scale ecological crisis currently unfolding on this living planet under the global system and logic of capitalist industry and Empire (under the guise of “economic prosperity” and “development”). Max has spent years organizing, educating, and actively fomenting practical and diverse forms of resistance against the structures (infrastructure) of industrial civilization, and we discuss what forms of resistance are required to effectively dismantle industrial civilization and culture.

Max Wilbert is a third-generation organizer who grew up in Seattle’s post-WTO anti-globalization and undoing racism movement. Max has a 15-year history as an organizer and revolutionary. He is a co-founder of Deep Green Resistance and longtime board member of a small, grassroots environmental non-profit with no employees and no corporate funding. His first book ‘We Choose To Speak,’ a collection of pro-feminist and environmental essays written over a six-year period, was released in 2018. Learn more about Max Wilbert and his book at his website

This is a segment of episode #137 of Last Born In The Wilderness ‘We Choose To Speak: The Living Planet & Dismantling The Culture Of Empire w/ Max Wilbert.’ Listen to the full episode:

Lise Eliot: Brain Development, Binary Gender Identity, & Children

In this segment, neurologist Dr. Lise Eliot delves into questions regarding transgender and childhood gender identity. What factors of brain development inform gender identity in children? Dr. Eliot elaborates on what we do know, and don’t know, about the development of gender identity and gender expression in children, and how the ambiguity of gender expression in certain individuals points to gender as a cultural, rather than biological, function.

Dr. Eliot’s research is centered on brain and gender development, especially the role of neuroplasticity in shaping neural circuitry and behavior. Her studies range from cellular neurophysiology to meta-analyses of brain sex difference and include two highly-praised trade books, ‘What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life,’ and ‘Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps.’ Through both empirical and scholarly research, Dr. Eliot analyzes the interplay between innate biology, sociocultural factors, and individual experience in molding our brains and behavior across the lifespan. Learn more about Dr. Eliot and her work:

This is a segment of episode #136 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Pink Brain Blue Brain: Gender, Small Differences, & Big Gaps w/ Lise Eliot.” Listen to the full episode: