Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"We don't want it all. We just want what's left."

We were recently treated to a screening of "Who Bombed Judi Bari?" a film about the fierce activist and forest defender who was bombed and framed by the FBI for her own bombing. It's an old story, being retold now, because to this day, the legal case to win justice continues. The film is well made, perhaps a smidge long, but remarkably constructed of "real time" footage.

It evoked a time and a place where we really felt like there was hope for change, by our collective passions putting a stop to environmental devastation, where tactics seemed to work for us rather than against us. Since the Green Scare, the kinds of direct action/nonviolent civil disobedience has really disappeared, unless you count the protests that occur within the cordoned off areas under the watch of a heavily armed police force at every meeting of the G8. It's sad, really, to have lost the small acts of creativity and provocation that really did change things. We're all fighting from our laptops now, and who knows whether we're succeeding? It's been too long since enough of us cared about the land to go and bear witness on the ground, find which road they are using, and shut them down. [Notable exceptions: Sea Shepard and Buffalo Field Campaign.]
There is no "Here's how you can get involved..." message or moment. This is a human story, like "If a Tree Falls," not a story about the degradation that continues and who is fighting for what now. But it's the story of our past, a time and an icon. It's part of the Green People's History.

Rest in peace, Judi. Or not. We could use you shaking some things up from wherever you are.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wildlife [Dis]Services: more than a few bad apples

The USDA's Wildlife Services [sic] department has yet another reason to be ashamed of itself: this agent in Arizona who baited and trapped his neighbor's Australian shepherd, resulting in the loss of 17 teeth as a result of her trying to gnaw her way out of the trap, as well as damage to both her front legs. [UPDATED TO ADD: This is the agony millions of wildlife a year endure at the hands of trappers (government or 'sport'), and explain to us exactly how their pain differs from dogs? Yeah. EXACTLY.]

Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA) is breaking the story and urging people to get involved:


Please send a polite email to Wildlife Services Deputy Administrator William Clay at bill.clay@aphis.usda.gov and request an investigation of Russell Files for acts of animal cruelty.  

Please also thank the following agencies for saving Zoey’s life, and for investigating and charging Russell Files with felony animal cruelty. 

El Mirage Police Department: mrios@cityofelmirage.org
Surprise Animal Care and Control: police@surpriseaz.gov 
Maricopa Animal Care and Control: kdickey@mail.maricopa.gov
Arizona Humane Society: cwest@azhumane.org  
Will, do, ADLA, but don't expect us to be particularly polite. The culture of this agency merits no such chivalry.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Elizabeth Kolbert: Bravo!

Does the fact that we are just now getting around to Field Notes from a Catastrophe mean that we're six seven! years behind on our reading? Yes, yes it does. But, in our defense, we've been keeping up with Ms. Kolbert in her New Yorker articles. Look at this recent list:

December 17, 2012
2012: Top Ten Signs of a Warming World

Dec 24, 2012
Recall of the Wild (This one is seriously fascinating, for you Rewilders out there.)

Dec 10, 2012
Paying for It

 Nov 12, 2012
Crossing the Line

October 29, 2012
Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change

October 17, 2012
Climate Change, The Debate’s Great Unmentionable

September 28, 2012
Hotter than Paul Ryan
And that's just in the past few months! She's nothing if not tenacious, and she's so much more. She's smart, appropriately sentimental, and you have the sense that she's as frustrated as anyone else with a brain in their head about the political calculations that leave the fate of the planet in the balance. 
Her book, Field Notes, is, of course, by now a little out of date. The situation has gotten worse, much worse. But it remains a good primer in the topic, an easy read with summaries of relevant literature and an important history of the eight years we lost to GWB. (We're on year five with BHO, BTW, and it isn't getting much better.)

Thank you, Ms. Kolbert. And keep up the good work!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Soundtrack of the End Times: Neil Young's "After the Garden is Gone"

Won't need no shadow man
Runnin' the government
Won't need no stinkin' WAR
Won't need no haircut
Won't need no shoe shine

After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone

What will people do?
After the garden is gone
What will people say?
After the garden

Won't need no strong man
Walkin' through the night
To live a weak man's day
Won't need no sunshine
Won't need no purple haze

After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone

Where will people go?

After the garden is gone
What will people know?

After the garden

After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone

(We live in the garden of Eden, yeah
Don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing to the ground
We live in the garden of Eden, yeah
Don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing down

And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden)