Episode 29: Bright Green Lies and How to Act on What’s True (with Max Wilbert)


I guess I was believing some “bright green fairytales” myself – because the truths in Bright Green Lies burst a few bubbles in my mind. In a tiny nutshell: Solar, wind, hydro, and recycling do worse than not solve our problems. They continue the harms of industrial society, and divert the attention of people who want to address our ecological crisis away from what matters most.

This book intensified some of my biggest personal questions, especially about relinquishment, and my ongoing participation in destructive ways of life.

So I was prepared to feel the weight of all this when I spoke with Max Wilbert, one of the co-authors of Bright Green Lies.

Instead, I felt lighter. I felt heartened. I felt grateful. Once again, I am reminded, there’s nothing like connecting with someone who’s bringing their whole mind, heart, and activist body to The Great Turning. Max is a community organizer, writer, photographer, and wilderness guide, living in rural Oregon with his family. He has been part of grassroots political work for 20 years.

Click Play above to dive right in with us to: 

  • what Max loves about being alive
  • what’s breaking his heart
  • his take on the “Business as Usual” story, emphasizing the short-term advantages gained by those who are willing to desecrate the living Earth and oppress other people
  • his background in labor activism, and how we’ve come further now than simply wanting more just distribution of industrial measures of economic wealth
  • the cautionary tale of the insatiable spirit of Wetiko, or Windigo (as described in the books Columbus and Other Cannibals, and Braiding Sweetgrass, among others), and the possibility of co-creating different culture by telling different stories
  • how it’s not that easy or obvious to relinquish the ecocidal aspects of the lifestyles we currently enjoy – and how social change has always been messy
  • the campaign to protect the Nevada area known in English as Thacker Pass, and in Paiute as Peehee Mu’huh, from becoming an open pit lithium mine
  • looking around wherever you are to find something worth fighting for
  • and a future we can’t imagine yet, knowing we can be creative about how we transform.

I have so much appreciation for the work Max is doing in the world, and deep gratitude for this wide-ranging conversation. Hit Play wherever you listen to Turning Season, and come to the show notes for links to the books we mention, more about protecting Thacker Pass / Peehee Mu’huh, and great resources from Max. Let’s carry the weight together, and keep enacting our active hope.

Connect with Max on his website.

Learn more about Protect Thacker Pass.

Check out this page devoted to Solutions.

And enjoy one (or all!) of the books Max and I mention in this episode (if you purchase through one of these links, a small percentage will support Turning Season Podcast):

Leilani Navar