Dark Kitchen: Salmo Salar

By Max Jones, Dark Mountain Project

‘The mountain is like the sea, Max. She gives you life, but she can also take it,’ explained cheesemaker Catherine Richard through a wrinkled grin, as she hung up her cheese cloths to dry outside her remote stone chalet, 2000m high in the shadow of an Alpine glacier. It’s a phrase that has stuck with me, and eventually led me to a tiny fish smokery in Ireland, amongst the hills and standing stones of the West Cork coastline. There is a sense of normality and purpose in the lives of true artisans of food, people who have learned how to engage with their environment to feed themselves. They represent the great passing on of human knowledge, with a profound understanding of how to live in a given landscape – a nobility in their craft that is threatened but unsullied by big industry. I am drawn to these folk, like Catherine, living harmoniously...

Vivir Bien: Old Cosmovisions and New Paradigms

By Pablo Solón, The Great Transition

The concept of Vivir Bien (or Buen Vivir) gained international attention in the late twentieth century as people searched for alternatives to the rampage of neoliberalism. Imperfect translations of the Andean concepts of suma qamaña and sumaq kawsay, Vivir Bien and Buen Vivir reflect an indigenous cosmovision that emphasizes living in harmony with nature and one another. As these ideas’ popularity has grown, however, their meaning has been compromised. Governments in Bolivia and Ecuador incorporated Vivir Bien and Buen Vivir, respectively, into their constitutions and governing agendas on paper, but not in spirit. Rather than radical alternatives to the dominant paradigm of development and progress, these concepts have become new branding for (un)sustainable development. The lessons are clear: to avoid state cooptation, truly revolutionary change must be based on emancipation and self-determination from below. And to succeed in our interdependent world, proponents of Vivir Bien must link up with advocates of complementary global...

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