Dougald Hine

The Dark Mountain Project

Dark Mountain grew out of a conversation with Paul Kingsnorth. That conversation became a manifesto: an invitation to a new cultural response to the converging crises of climate change, resource scarcity and economic instability.

Rather than treating these as distinct problems in need of technical solutions, we argued that they should be treated as symptoms of a deeper social and cultural crisis, a failure of the stories we have been telling ourselves for generations.

A culture-deep crisis needs a cultural response - but both the environmental movement and the centre ground of our literary culture were failing to address this.

In particular, the manifesto challenged the language of "sustainability", which so easily slips into the project of sustaining our current way of living - as if this were either possible, or desirable. Its anchor sentence, for me, was this: "The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world, full stop."

The text was addressed to other writers, and there is still a vein of Dark Mountain which is about finding new ways of writing, adequate to the times we are living through. What surprised us, though, was the range of other people who responded - musicians, builders, mathematicians, designers, gardeners, artists, engineers - and so the conversation has branched in many other directions.

So far, the forms it has taken include a series of books, an annual festival, lots of smaller-scale events and local meetups, newspaper debates, online conversations, an EP and several other songs, at least two art shows, and a lot of friendships.