Tuesday, May 20, 2008


An article/opinion piece in the latest Eat the State reminded me of a fairly recent (March 4) incident where a housing development of large (4200 sqf.) homes in Woodinville, WA was burned down. A banner with an environmental slogan against the homes signed with the letters ELF was found at the arson site. Authorities assume that this indicated that the Earth Liberation Front was responsible for setting the fires. As far as I know ELF has never taken responsibility for this arson nor has any other proof been found to link them but that is a story for another day.

I don't agree with eco-terrorism or so called anarchists that think by damaging, destroying or threatening they can "fix" the world (for whatever values of fixed they use.) Although this kind of action can bring attention to their cause I think in the end it turns public opinion against their cause. Now, either the people who commit these acts don't agree with me or they just don't care. They are selfishly making their point to the detriment of those that are trying to work within the system to solve the same problems like Global Climate Change, the unfair practices of the WTO or suburban sprawl like in the Woodinville arson.

The article in Eat the State accused all of us "Mommies and Daddies" of not giving a fuck because we are all evil baddies that worship materialism and don't care about ruining the planet. The author, Jason Miller, goes on to praise ELF for burning down the homes in Woodinville because they represented a "rape" of the planet. Now, I'm not a big fan of huge mansions or housing developments built on land that may be ecologically sensitive, but I think in this case the bigger "rape" of the planet was the damage to the environment done by the fire, the effort to put out the fire and the fact that the builder could just take their insurance money and rebuild the homes thus using twice the materials originally needed. Even worse, in some ways, this incident gives the conservatives a chance to paint all environmentalists as eco-terrorists. 

I'm not so naive as to think that protests and civil disobedience aren't necessary tools of chance but I think the positive impact that they generate are based on the willingness of people to PEACEFULLY disagree en mass and be willing to pay the price; by which I mean jail time or fines not police violence. The average American respects someone willing to stand up for what they believe in even if they disagree with their cause. They don't respect violence or property damage because they will empathize with those who have been victimized rather than the perpetrators.

No comments: