Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
Six years ago, a group of radical environmental activists took up life in a little forest in the Ruhr-district in Germany to counter the expansion of lignite mining in the area. Like many other environmental activists across Europe, the group had lost confidence in the ability of politicians to come up with solutions to catastrophic climate change and environmental destruction. In the forest occupation where I did fieldwork, tree-sitting, ecotage and other direct actions tactics went hand-in-hand with experiments with alternative livelihood based on the conviction that people must rewild and harmonize their life with nature in order to repair our world. In this paper, I describe how dwelling in trees, mimicking animals, and learning so-called ‘primitive’ living skills by imitating indigenous peoples transform the very form and object of the political. The paper shows how political commitment translates into nature enchantment through mimecry and odd claims to ontological self-determination.