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The Earth is coming! The Earth is coming!  

BY REVEREND BILLY | This was the summer of fire and flood, drought and starvation. Every nation, every city, every one of us — walks through tragedies. And now they come in bunches. It’s the Book of Revelation, plus mass murder, plus information blackout. The nightmare is ON.

As Earth’s violence rises and rises — the old disaster-names don’t fit anymore. What’s happened needs a new name. Extinction? The 6th Extinction? Well, that’s OUR name for it. It’s named Extinction because we know we’re in trouble. We’re gonna go extinct! We’re scared!

Apocalypse. Armageddon. Doom. End-times.

So lame. All of them. Then again, it doesn’t matter very much what we call this situation we’re in.  All the words seem wrong.

I’m walking through the dark light, where no names are given…

We are coming off a number of centuries where human beings named everything, and empires named most things because they could enforce their naming with priests, tourists, drilling rigs, guns and gasoline.

Reverend Billy in East River Park, which is being clearcut for a coastal-resiliency project. (Rev Billy)

The Earth is tossing the fossil empires aside and another kind of life is sweeping up the survivors. We have only dated-sounding names for what’s happening because it’s all so new. And that is what’s good about it. The Earth has taken over and… .  But our gas is still burning and our profits are still soaring, and our language is still chattering, as if the speakers just don’t notice the extremely bad weather.

The fact is that what will happen is not known, and this New Unknown is pushing us farther back into an anti-world with each disaster. And the survival culture that emerges from inside disasters is not Xtian/Capitalist, it is full of radical sharing of resources, skills, love…and new words.

We should admit that we have lost our old lives, and turn to embrace this New Unknown. This is not the revolution we envisioned, but the Earth knows what it is doing, and the Earth speaks.

I’m walking through the dark light, where no names are given…

I’m filled with the Fabulous Unknown! …Unknown …Unknown.


Bill Talen is Reverend Billy of the Earth Church, based at 36 Avenue C, at E. Third Street. For more information on performances and events, visit

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