Interview of Martin Lee Mueller ― Resistance Radio

Browse all episodes of Resistance Radio or listen to audio of this interview:
Download mp3
(Sound of Eurasian cranes)

Hi, I’m Derrick Jensen and this is Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network. My guest today is Martin Lee Mueller. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oslo in 2016. He has previously helped build teaching centers in rural Mongolia, worked as a kindergarten teacher, been an elementary school librarian, and led a wilderness school in the Norwegian forest. His book Being Salmon, Being Human was recently awarded a Nautilus Book Award. The book has also inspired a stage performance, a joint project between Martin, two storytellers and a Sami joiker. Their group has previously played in the UK and Scandinavia. This summer, they are coming to the Pacific West Coast to perform in communities between British Columbia and California. Martin lives in Oslo together with his partner and daughter, near a small stream that has yet to see its salmon return from extinction.

So first, thank you for your work, and second, thank you for being on the program.

MM: Thanks, Derrick, so much, for inviting me to the program. It’s an honor.

DJ: Thank you. In your new book, Being Salmon, Being Human: Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild, you talk about the importance of stories. Let’s start by talking about what are some of the stories that we currently live by that are causing some problems for us and for the world?

MM: Maybe I will take this opportunity to tell you just a little bit about how this project that ended up being the book and also the performance, how it began. There was a newspaper article many years ago now, in the Norwegian Financial Times, of a professor of fishery economics, who asked a rather rhetorical question. He said “What if we let the wild salmon of Norway go extinct?” Because, he argued, there’s now a conflict in Norway between the wild fish and the feedlot salmon that are considered such a huge success story in Norway that, according to him, we couldn’t really have both. We had to choose one of them. And then his reasoning went that the choice should be obvious, that we must choose to let the wild species go extinct, because the industry has come, and come to stay.

The first thing I noticed was that there was no public outcry when this happened. And this made me wonder, why is there no outcry? Why is there no voice of resistance? Why does this seem to be rather acceptable, of a person of authority, a person of a certain intellectual influence? And so at that time I embarked upon this project asking that question that you just asked me. What are some of the underlying stories that are being told in this suggestion to let a wild species go extinct, one of the signature species of our country? What is motivating this notion that it is totally normal, totally acceptable to decide over the fate of so many other beings?

One thing I then had to try to learn about was how are feedlot salmon looked at in Norway? And there is a word in Norwegian that sort of describes the story of the feedlot salmon, that captures sort of the essence of what the public authorities and influential institutions think this is. The word is “laks eventyr.” There are two translations for it into English. You can’t really translate it directly. But one translation is “The Salmon Adventure.” And the other translation is “The Salmon Fairy Tale.” So, in the word resonates a certain evocation of national romanticism, of a nation-building period, of a period where Norway tried to pull itself out of centuries of having been dominated by other nations such as Denmark and Sweden. So the salmon story is considered a remarkable and breathtaking success story here in Norway. The feedlot industry is considered that breathtaking success story, so much so that some influential politicians, but also members of the royal family, have repeatedly said and suggested that feedlot salmon should be considered a part of Norwegian identity. So in other words, we have a clearly exploitative industry that is entertaining close ties with politics, and also to the royal family here.

And over and over again we see that this is an articulation of the story of separation that we have suffered from for centuries. It is in some ways rearticulating itself, and rearticulating itself now with the authority of science, with the authority of political power, with financial power, with technological ingenuity. And it is considered hugely successful, but of course there are downsides to it, and I’m sure we’ll have a chance to talk about those as well.

DJ: So there are a few directions I am thinking about as you say all this. One of them is that this is why I hate a significant percentage of people who run fisheries. And I’m not saying all, because I’ve known some fisheries biologists who actually do care about wild fish. But this is why fisheries departments are so horrible, and we can say the same thing about forestry departments, because they have the same attitude about forests.

Another thing I’m thinking – and you can take any of these any direction you want – is that this reminds me that every time I read an article in the mainstream press about any species going extinct, or any biome being destroyed, the article has to refer back to how this will affect the economy, which is atrocious.

The third direction is: can you talk a little bit – we said in the introduction that you live near a stream that has yet to see its salmon return.

MM: Yes.

DJ: So the third possible direction to go here is can you talk about … like, I know salmon in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t know salmon in Norway. Can you talk a little bit about – are the stories the same there, that the stories here are that the entire river would be black and roiling with fish, and do we have similar stories of abundance there? So do you want to talk about Atlantic salmon, or whomever salmon live in Norway, or do you want to talk about the other two things, or do you want to talk about something else?

MM: Let’s talk about some of these things. The question of abundance is incredibly interesting. Just a few days ago I reread Leo Marx’s incredible book, The Machine in the Garden. He talks about how one of the recurring experiences of the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries for European settlers to the North American continent was that of incredible abundance. And of course you’ve written a lot about this in your work as well, and given beautiful and also terrible and painful examples of that. The passenger pigeon and of course the salmon as well, that are so thick, that are coming back in numbers so thick that you could literally wade across the river without getting your feet wet. And of course you’ve got stories of woodworkers having clauses in their contracts saying that they could not be fed salmon more than a few times a week. You’ve got stories like that coming from Canada and North America. But I have also come across similar stories here in Europe, actually on a French river, the Loire River, I’ve come across similar stories also, of workers on the river saying “We cannot be fed salmon more than a few times a week.” So you’ve got anecdotal evidence like that, but it is hard to piece all this together into a larger picture over here, and I’ve been wondering sometimes, why is that? Is that perhaps because Europe has been settled more densely for a longer time? So that this abundance, that we still find relatively recently in the Pacific northwest, has to some degree faded from living memory, unlike over there? Is that part of the reason? And what is the role of the salmon’s ecological work? Salmon here and there are keystone species. In the Pacific you’ve got several different unique species. In the Atlantic you’ve only got one species of salmon, the Atlantic salmon. And they are also the ones that are being farmed all over the world. So whether you have farmed salmon in Norway, or Chile, in South America, or in British Columbia; they will most likely be Atlantic salmon originally. But one peculiar difference between Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon is that not all Atlantic salmon seem to die after they have spawned, whereas it seems that all Pacific salmon do.

So there is that difference. However, it does seem that the overwhelming majority of the Atlantic salmon does also die after they have spawned. So, yes. Here and there, salmon are most certainly keystone species, able to bring incredible amounts of gifts of nutrients, of nourishment from the ocean back to the land. And yet, stories of abundance are more frequently coming from the Pacific northwest than from here.

There is another side to this. Leo Marx, in his book, he also says that the notion of abundance has shifted from something that we can experience in the landscape to something we mostly associate with science and technology nowadays. And isn’t that really peculiar? That in a sense science and technology is now suggesting we need to produce more salmon because we need to feed more people, and because rivers are collapsing. But of course in creating that logic they also create a kind of positive feedback loop, where more confinement leads to fewer wild fish, to there being fewer opportunities for wild fish to return. Which in turn strengthens the argument that we should have more contained fish.

And perhaps you can jump back in here, because there were several interesting leads you threw out, and perhaps we can figure out together how to continue from here.

DJ: Well, I was actually going to throw out another lead here, and this is a question the answer to which I don’t know at all. But you hear the Tolowa and the Klamath, who lived where I currently live; they are often called the People of the Salmon. And that’s true all up and down the Pacific Northwest. Were there traditionally, or are there, traditional indigenous people in Norway who also were People of the Salmon? Or, again, is the conquest so ancient that their memories are for the most part forgotten?

MM: There certainly are. They are the Sami people of northern Scandinavia and the northern parts of Russia and Finland. Or what western civilization now calls Russia, northern Finland and northern Scandinavia. And these people are likely to have been there, depending on whom you ask, either since time immemorial or perhaps since the last glaciers retreated to the north. So, yes, there is, like in North America, a long history of settlement of the north. And, like in North America, it is more than likely that the people who would have arrived there would have in some sense arrived side by side with the salmon, and perhaps with other fish, and learned to live in place not despite one another, but perhaps more through one another. Through being attentive to one another. Through observing and affecting each other’s lives. Through posing themselves as questions, as riddles that had to be pondered over time. And this community of Sami people, of course, has suffered some of the same traumas and losses that North American indigenous communities have suffered. They too were denied until very recently to speak their mother tongue. They too were taken from their families as children and put into Christian boarding schools. They too were shamed for being indigenous people.

In doing so, of course, much of the tradition has gone underground or to some degree disappeared. But of course it never disappeared fully, and there is now, here, like there, a renaissance movement becoming more and more visible in people trying to listen to the land again, trying to be attentive again to the voices in the land that are both human and more than human. And to find ways of moving forward that are of our time, but also resonate with tradition that would have enabled people to live in these lands for a long time.

I’ll give you some examples. The metaphor of the gift is something we encounter over and over again when we visit indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest, especially the notion that to create any kind of functioning longterm economic agreement between salmon and the human communities, you would need to somehow remind yourselves collectively, over and over again, that this is essentially a gift relationship. It’s a relationship of agents offering themselves and gifting themselves forward, so that what emerges is not a relationship of exploitation, but a relationship of contractual peers, a more than human alliance that is held in precarious check by gifting itself forwards in different ways. Salmon gifting themselves as they bring this incredible richness from the ocean, this gift of the oceans that they bring to the land, to people but also to bears or vultures or Douglas firs.

And the humans would have understood over time that the best way to relate to this gift given freely would be to reciprocate by offering other kinds of gifts back to the salmon. It could be the gift of attentiveness. It could be the gift of a beautiful story told, or a song sung, or a ritual that would return a weir, a dam built, into the river after it’s been used for a certain time. So this is something that is already quite visible in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s what’s really interesting. Recently a Norwegian Sami researcher, who is herself from the Sami community and lives up in the north, wrote a Ph.D. dissertation where she talks about the language that is being used by traditional fishermen to this day in the north. And among the many interesting observations she makes, is she has one word, “bivdit.” And “bivdit” has two meanings. It means to fish, in the sense that we speak of fishing, in the sense of I catch that fish, that kind of subject verb object relationship. But there’s also the inversion of that, because it also means asking permission to be receiving the gift of the fish. So the word itself keeps open an alertness to the reciprocal nature of encountering wild salmon in the rivers. It keeps open an alertness to their subjectivity, to their agency, to the possibility that they may gift themselves, but they may also withhold themselves.

And so isn’t it interesting that we have these different cultures living on different continents that perhaps independently have discovered this incredible notion of the gift. And in that, something that may be universal in the ways that humans have encountered salmon, that may hint at possibilities of what it might take in the future, for future human-salmon relationships to thrive.

DJ: It seems that we’re in many ways getting to the core of how to survive, ourselves, on this planet, and how everyone survives. And also, if I may, to the core of your work. That it’s the fundamental understanding that how we perceive the world affects how we behave in the world. And so the stories that we tell each other affect how we treat – and how we perceive the world affects how we behave in the world. So feel free to just take that anywhere you want.

MM: One interesting observation about the story of the separation, or the story of human dominance, is that it’s largely self-proclaimed. And it creates this aura of being inevitable. It has the benefit of technological power, leverage, political power, and habit, as well. And so it creates this almost impenetrable screen that makes it seem almost like the air we breathe. That invisible, that transparent. But it remains largely self-proclaimed. And what if we were to reverse the burden of proof? What if we were to simply say “We no longer take this story for granted.” We say we look for a different kind of story, a different kind of legitimacy that is not self-proclaimed, and what could that be, and how could we speak of it?

This makes me think of some wonderful writers, such as Freeman House, from the Mattole River, or Douglas Christie, a theologian who has written about salmon, or David Abram, my mentor, or Janet Armstrong, who has written so beautifully about salmon as well, and many others. Looking into the work of such writers, what we find is that the legitimacy that they evoke is one that is bequeathed by others; by river, by the voice of thunder. By forests that are being nourished by the return of the salmon. And through their work, it seems to me they try to give voice to these other beings so that all these voices can convene and be heard in human speech; perhaps in poetic speech but also through the beautiful eloquence of scientific speech; so that they may once more inform the human community, and inform us of our responsibility to remain curious and open to the presence of these others, to the weird and different ways in which they are in the world that are so unlike our way of being in the world, and yet so real. And isn’t that a kind of legitimacy that actually has a far more fundamental embedment in the living world? And how, then, to turn this into political action?

This is of course a very difficult question. But we do see, and I think there are signs both in the Pacific west coast, but also here in Norway, that there is a growing alertness, a growing sensitivity to the speech of other beings, the speech of other things, the speech of places as well. And a growing willingness to let that inform political action, to let that inform science, to let that inform new artistic expressions, ways of conceiving economic arrangements between us and the salmon. New ways of perhaps creating a gift economy between us and them. That may seem very weird, looked at from the point of view of the dominant culture, and perhaps even unthinkable, or unspeakable, ineffable. And yet they are emerging here and there.

DJ: So when you say – I’m sorry, I don’t have the exact language. When you say that there is some increased attention to the voices of these others, are you talking about, for example, the increased recognition that plants communicate through pheromones? Or are you talking about what Jeannette Armstrong has said about animals giving us dreams? Or are you talking about attending to the circumstances that if salmon are going extinct, maybe that’s also the voices of the salmon saying “You’re doing something wrong”? Or is it all of these and many more?

MM: I think it’s all of these and many more. Let me give you a concrete example. One from here and one from there. They’re strikingly similar. The stream that I live on is a very small stream, and until recently I didn’t even realize that there had been salmon, because they’ve sort of slipped from human memory, or at least from everyday conversation between us who live in this small watershed.

Recently I received a small booklet in the mail that tells the story of this river, written by some enthusiasts who have researched the archives to find out more about the river. And I came across an episode there where part of the river has been laid underground, because it has to give way to a highway connecting Norway and Sweden, a major highway. And inside the tunnel there was a small dam that prohibited any migrating fish from returning from the oceans and up into the watershed. And at some point, only a few years ago, somebody walked or crawled into this river and found, just below the dam, uncounted numbers of trout waiting, and facing the dam, but unable to go up. And so that prompted this small community of enthusiasts to suggest we must build a fish ladder, because the fish are actually telling us they want to move upstream. And the fish ladder was built and the trout are once more living in the stream and have colonized the stream upriver.

Some years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula just before the time when the two dams were being dismantled over there. And I came across an old member of the Lower Elwha Klallam community who told me a story of the time early in the 20th century when the two Elwha dams were built into the river. She hadn’t been there personally, but it was a story that had been passed down to her and then she offered it to me. And she said the year that the dam went in, the salmon would come back to the river as they always have been, and they would try to fulfill their obligation, except they were unable to do so because the dam was there. And then they jumped against the dam, and they kept jumping and jumping, breaking their necks in the process and coloring the river below the dam red with their blood, not with their flesh.

And of course the population collapsed. But some salmon never stopped coming back, and the dam stood in the river for just over a century. And she said to me that they never stopped coming back, and they never stopped jumping at the dams, and so they never stopped reminding us of our obligation to once more pay heed, and take out these dams.

DJ: So you used a phrase that she used, that I think is one of the most important phrases ever, that is also blasphemy in terms of modern human discourse. You said that they wanted to fulfill their obligation.

MM: Right.

DJ: And that applies to what you were saying earlier about the salmon giving a gift to humans and then humans giving gifts to salmon, and to the forest, and to everyone else. Can you talk for a moment about why/how fulfilling one’s obligations to the land is really sort of blasphemy in this culture? And why fulfilling one’s obligation is instead actually crucial?

MM: You know, part of the architecture of the story of separation, the story of humans as the dominant, the apex of evolution, is that we are entitled to use everyone according to our own dreams and desires. Of course this is something that you also have worked a lot on and argued about. This sense of entitlement suggests that we don’t have to think about whether or not we have to return anything. The question of whether we must return anything, whether it is bones or whether it is attention or whether it is gratitude, doesn’t arise in modern conversation, in modern discourse. It is blasphemy, as you say.

However, if you shift the standpoint for a moment and you adopt the language of ecology, you find that ecology in some things is telling a story that is rather familiar perhaps to those who still have an acquaintance with some of the traditional stories, to those who do not think that speaking of fulfilling our obligation to other beings is blasphemy, because that knowledge has been kept in traditional knowledge. Ecologists speak of salmon as a keystone species, of course, one of many keystone species that are so incredibly important, and weaving relationships between, in the case of salmon, between the ocean and the land. Between the abundant waters of the Arctic and the relatively poorer waters of continental watersheds. In bringing more diversity, in bringing more liveliness, more life to the watersheds, where those who receive their gift are trees, or California grapes, or badgers or foxes or humans.

And the language that ecology adopts is of course scientific prose. But in doing so, it tells a story that is so remarkably similar that it can hardly be a coincidence. And ecologists would say that if the keystone species disappears, then the web as a whole unravels and becomes poorer, becomes less able to spawn new opportunities, to spawn new surprises or new chances for creativity.

DJ: So I love what you just said, and I’m going to go in a slightly different direction, if that’s okay. There was something in your book that really – don’t worry, it’s not you – something that somebody said that really pissed me off. I’ve been aching to deal with this with you ever since. And it’s a quote by – it’s two anthropologists – “Lien and Law insist that feedlot salmon have some degree of agency, because they might choose either to eat or not to eat.” And the reason this pissed me off so much is because you are one of a handful of philosophers that I don’t hate.

MM: (laughs)

DJ: You know; Kathleen Dean Moore, David Abram, Neil Evernden of course. There are a few philosophers who – there are so many philosophers out there who have, in some way or another, justified atrocious behavior. And saying that the salmon have some agency when they’re in a feedlot, because they have a choice to eat or not to eat. It seemed really phony and I love what you did with that. Can you talk a little bit about that for a minute? I know this is a small part of what you’re talking about, but that just really stuck out with me.

MM: Let’s see. There is this –

DJ: It has to do basically – this is just one way, also, of getting at the notion of domestication and control. And one reason this is pissing me off, by the way, is because we hear this in domestic violence situations too. This is all through the culture. Here’s the thing; people will get mad and they’ll say “You should – you are responsible for maintaining this culture because you went to the grocery store to buy food.” Look, I can’t go to the stream back here and get salmon, because the salmon are gone, and now you’re saying I’m choosing to go get food? But that choice has been constrained already. So it’s sort of opening up this whole big other question. That’s what I’m trying to get at.

MM: Let’s try to tease out a few things here, even though the question of course is huge. There was a presentation once, a keynote speech on the future of salmon here in Norway, where one of the keynote speakers said the essence of happy salmon for the future is, or the way we know we’re dealing with happy salmon is that we see that they thrive best in confinement. So a happy salmon is a fish who thrives best contained, equals a fish who has been bred to be insatiable, a fish who may have been bred to no longer know the ecstasy of spawning new life, because she’s sterile. And it of course relates to this anthropologist suggestion that if fish are given nothing else but the possibility to eat or not to eat, then they possess a certain kind of agency.

The suggestion is that we can deprive the fish of pretty much everything. We can deprive them of rivers, of the ocean, of the passage of the moon and the sun, because they’re going to spend half of their lives inside factory halls. And we can deprive them of community. We can upset their social behavior again and again by pumping them from their freshwater tanks inside these factory halls and sorting and grading them with machines, so that we end up with uniform masses that will grow uniformly, to even size at even rates, unlike wild fish. We can keep manipulating them any way we can possibly conceive of, that we can possibly craft, technologically speaking. And yet it’s all okay as long as we have some kind of extremely minimized or minimalistic sensation of salmon welfare as the absence of suffering or some kind of …

DJ: It’s even less than that, because they have the choice to eat or not to eat. Just like they could put you in solitary confinement, and you have the choice to breathe or not to breathe.

MM: Except you don’t actually have that choice, because as we addressed earlier, they’re bred to be insatiable, so even that choice is bred out of them, actually. But there is the sensation that if we follow strict technocratic rules, we can create conditions where salmon will actually thrive. So the fundamental premise is that we can artificially create situations where these wild beings can thrive. And I think part of the problem is that this fundamental assumption is in itself deeply problematic, of course. The notion that a salmon can exist outside the context of relationship that she is born into in the river.

And of course we could take this conversation into human relationships as well. I think that is part of the fundamental assumption that is very rarely acknowledged in conversations on feedlot salmon. Who are these creatures? And not who are these creatures as isolated sacks of bones and skin, but as created beings, as beings who are keenly sensitive to the passage of the sun, who are keenly sensitive to changes in temperature, in daylight, in the pattern of snowfall or thunderstorm. And if we were to take such questions seriously, how would that, again, impact the conversation of what we can or cannot do with them or to them?

DJ: So we have about seven or eight minutes left. And I’m sorry to do this to you but I’m going to open up another huge question here. I read your book a long time ago, when I gave it a blurb, and I was reading it again last night and I got really sad. And it wasn’t because of your book, at all. The book’s magnificent. But I got sad because of how far we have to go. And I was thinking last night as I was getting ready for this interview and going through your book again, I was thinking last night about, I was feeling bad about my own work, too. It’s like “Why are we doing this?” Don’t worry, I’m not going to quit. I’m not suggesting you quit and I know you’re not going to quit. But it’s like we have – the vision of a sustainable story for this world is so different than the story that is propagated daily. And I just got really sad. I don’t know what I’m expecting you to do with that.

I recently interviewed Paul Ehrlich and I also recently interviewed Bittu Sahgal. Both of them are elders. Paul Ehrlich is in his 80’s, 87 I believe, and Bittu is 70. And they both at one point in the interview said the same thing to me, which is between when they started doing their work, in the 60’s and 70’s respectively, and now, things have gotten so much worse. Your work is so desperately important, and I hope my work is important. Ehrlich’s and Bittu’s and other people’s work is really important. It’s like everything’s going so wrong. So do what you will with this.

MM: (Long sigh) First of all, I share the sadness very much, and I don’t really know often what to do with it other than try to articulate it even when it seems to be socially awkward to do so. Why is that, by the way? Why is it socially awkward to be grieving the loss of so many fellow beings on the planet? Why is it not in the news every day? Of course it is sometimes, like recently when the Guardian wrote about a study that suggested that of all the mammals in the world, only 4% are wild beings and the other 96% are either, in terms of biomass, either human bodies or domesticated animals, most of them in feedlot situations. And all the other wild mammals in the world just constitute 4%. And how do you deal –

DJ: Yesterday the New York Times had an opinion piece about “Oh, the world’s going to be okay. Don’t worry, the world can handle anything we can dish out.” That makes me want to swear and say words I’m not supposed to say on this program.

MM: Right, right. Keep them for when the recording is stopped.

The story that we’ve been talking about is the story of separation, but it’s also the story of escape, in a sense. The story of, as I try to describe it in the book, a wounded psyche that; in the 16th and 17th centuries, where we find some of these roots, the origins of this story, there was a collective sense of insecurity and fearfulness in the educated citizenry of Europe that in some sense seems to have led to there being institutionalized this need for more control, more holding onto that which we can foresee and that which we can manipulate. And in some sense then this led to modernity, to the notion that the world is a machine, and the treatment of everyone else except for ourselves – but also those amongst us who are considered weaker or less, or have been in the past – to the abuse and exploitation of these. Now what it has led to is their being fundamentally more insecure, the world being less predictable, wilder than ever before. Science is trying to grapple with what’s going on. They’re trying to find words for it, speaking of this time as an upset in the geological story of Earth, as this being a new geological age, which some then suggest may be called the Age of the Humans, the Anthropocene. They’re trying to carry a word on the tongue such as the sixth mass extinction that we’re going through, perhaps faster than the fastest one we knew about from before, the geological epoch of the Great Dying of 260 million years ago.

What we’re seeing is that the story of controlling the world probably has never worked, but it’s becoming, it’s showing itself and turning out to be more and more truly dysfunctional and leading to this escalation, this intensifying of suffering that we witness and struggle to endure, all of us. And this is a tricky sort of thing to take from this, to suggest that there is perhaps hope in this hope that now we are once more entering into a time of fundamental insecurity, of fearfulness, that perhaps this time we will not respond by slipping even further into isolation, slipping even further into notions about how we must dominate, we must control more. Though of course we do see signs of that, and the salmon industry of course is an articulation of that response, and of trying to manipulate more and more and escalate this situation. But we do also, as we’ve spoken about in the course of our conversation, see that there is a resistance. There is an uprising of those who simply refuse to be drawn into the gravitational field of the story, who say “I stand here, and to me trees and rivers are holy, and salmon are sacred beings who will not be fooled.” And what if more and more people are waking up? And how could we encourage one another to stand courageously in such recognition, in such acknowledgement, in such humility, but also vulnerability? How could we carry each other, or help each other not crumble, while we also try to endure and to remain receptive to the suffering? But also how can we remain receptive to the beauty?

And of course salmon are, again, such a wonderful example of the resilience of the biosphere, the resilience of the wild beings out there. Having seen through their evolutionary story several advances of ice ages coming from the Arctic regions and moving closer to the equators, and having seen their birth rivers swallowed by these mountain ranges of ice, and yet for all these millions of years the salmon were able to recolonize these barren lands over and over again. And 100 years of isolation in the Elwha River didn’t make them go extinct either. On the contrary, just weeks after the first wild salmon started coming back. So there is this ongoing sprouting and spawning and birthing also, that is also just as real as the very real suffering. But there is no simple answer to this. It is complex and confusing and terrifying, but also beautiful, and also humbling, and still able to inspire wonder and still able to spawn surprises and fresh life and more life.

DJ: Well thank you so much for all that, and thank you for your work. And I would like to thank listeners for listening. My guest today has been Martin Lee Mueller. This is Derrick Jensen for Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network.

Filed in Interviews by Derrick Jensen
No Responses — Written on August 5th — Filed in Interviews by Derrick Jensen

Comments are closed.