Writing on ecology, society and culture


Abrazo House: learning in nature / aprender en la naturaleza. Book celebrating ten years of the Abrazo House project.

The Island that Never Was / La Isla que Nunca Fue / Inoiz irla izan ez zena. Book about the Zorrozaurre peninsula in Bilbao.


Windfall plums: a few words about haiku.An essay with nine original haiku. Published in Dark Mountain 10, autumn 2016.

    Articles and Poems

    A selection from print and online media. (c) Robert Alcock. Permission is granted to share, print and distribute in full, with attribution and for non-commercial purposes.

    • Choose Oil / Choose Life. Some thoughts on art, direct action and addiction, based on the famous “Choose Life” speech from Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. “At this point, there are no easy choices. Scotland is both user and pusher, the biggest oil producer in Europe; and kicking the oil habit will be no easier and no prettier than coming off heroin.” Article for XR Writers Rebel, October 2020.
    • A Pinch of Salt: Where next for Extinction Rebellion in the UK?. A critical essay about Extinction Rebellion’s strategy. “It seems to me that XR-UK themselves are in need of a lighthouse. They urgently need to get their bearings before they end up on the rocks.” August 2020.
    • Bereaved: a poem with 87 artworks from the 87 Beavers art-action: an exhibition of beaver artwork to commemorate the 87 “protected” beavers killed under license from the Scottish Government, during May-December 2019. “Bereft, bereaved, the river grieves her eager lover, her healer, her sculptor.” Written July 2020.
    • Down the Waterslide. A darkly humorous tale about the pandemic. “You picture Mother Nature sitting at her cluttered desk typing up the letter, tutting to herself in frustration: what kind of irresponsible morons are they, anyway? Can’t they see their so-called civilisation is trashing the place?” For Dark Mountain blog, March 2020.
    • An Open Letter to Ruth Davidson. As part of an XR action, I was one of five activists who locked ourselves to the Scottish Parliament. My key was sent to Ruth Davidson, the then leader of the Scottish Conservatives. She didn’t come in person to unlock me, so I wrote her this letter. For Bella Caledonia, June 2019.
    • A Salute to the School Strikers from an Extinction Rebellion activist and father. “If anyone had told me back then that we’d be in this predicament now, I think I would have done less studying and more protesting.” For Bella Caledonia, February 2019.
    • The Midsummer Bonfire: Brexit and Podemos. “Brexit was the opening act of a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare at his peak: horrible to watch, yet you can’t tear your eyes away from the stage, the slide into chaos as compelling as it is inexorable.” Blog post as part of The Ecologist New Voices project, June 2016.
    • Un “Brexpat” escribe sobre el Brexit. “El referéndum del Brexit se había convertido en el primer acto de una tragedia digna de Shakespeare en el pleno de sus poderes: horrible de ver, pero no puedes quitar los ojos del escenario, la caída hacía el caos siendo tan cautivadora como inexorable.” Blog en Diagonal, junio de 2016.
    • Of Sun, Rain, and Anti-Utilitarianism. A review of Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era, Routledge (2015) Ed. Giacomo D’Alisa, Federico Demaria & Giorgos Kallis, for the Dark Mountain blog.
    • A calendar / mandala celebrating natural cycles. “Since I couldn’t find any round calendar designs that I liked, I decided to go ahead and make my own…” Article presenting a design for a round calendar.
    • Thin blue line: Sea level rise and the new intertidal city. “The intertidal city will play host to a different project: a cultural transformation of the relationship between human beings and the sea.” Essay published in Dark Mountain issue 6, autumn 2014.
    • Build your dream house with no mortgage. “If you want decent housing without mortgaging your life away, you may need to consider radical alternatives.” Article published in Permaculture magazine 80, summer 2014.
    • Land and freedom: Low impact building in the “other” Spain. “A growing neo-ruralist movement is repopulating this “other” Spain…” Article published in The Land magazine issue 16, summer 2014.
    • Can earth building scale up to the mainstream?. “Shelter, which is a vital need for human beings, should also be a human right—within ecological limits… ” In-depth interview with Rob Hopkins of Transition Network, from january 2014.
    • De camino hacia la revolucion. Poema sobre (y leido en) el 15M, Bilbao, mayo del 2011.
    • On our way to the revolution. Poem about (and read at) the 15M assembly in Bilbao, may 2011. Published in Dark Mountain 3, summer 2012.
    • Gardening from Zero. “Gardens are an urgent necessity of life. Nobody needs to give you permission to create one…” An old article about creating a riverside container garden in the Zorrozaurre Peninsula in Bilbao, published in Permaculture magazine 57, autumn 2007.
    • Creating an Eco-Community in a Post-Industrial Wasteland. “I think that to be happy you need to be creatively engaged with your surroundings – which could mean a little riverside garden, your neighbourhood, or the whole planet.” An old article about citizen-led urban planning in the Zorrozaurre Peninsula in Bilbao, published in Permaculture magazine 45, autumn 2005.