When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money"
We live in a world that is dying.
Our forests are being cut down, oils are being extracted at extreme rates, we are pouring waste into our oceans and we are emitting carbons into the atmosphere that will soon cause irreversible damage to our planet. Some argue that we have already done so. In the news this week it has been officially announced that humans, since the 1950s, are the dominant cause of global warming (or at least we are 95% certain of the fact).
But who is it that wants to cause this damage? Certainly not you or I. Thousands of people daily stand up and shout that this is NOT what we want. But who listens? Whilst big corporations can continue to make money from destroying our world no one will listen. Peaceful protests are ignored, intelligent scientists made a mockery of... But does this make radical environmental action necessary?
In Brighton, UK, in 1992 the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) was founded, a group who vowed "to use economic sabotage and guerilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment". The movement quickly spread across Europe and is now an international movement with action reported in 17 counties across the globe.
The first action taken is unclear, but one of the earliest notable events took place on April Fools Earth Night in 1992 in which the group targeted Fisons, a peat company accused of destroying peat bogs. Pumps, trucks and machinery were wreaked and a demand from the ELF was published in Green Anarchist magazine:
All our peat bogs must be preserved in their entirety, for the sake of the plants, the animals and our national heritage. Cynically donating small amounts will do no good. The water table will drop, and the bogs will dry out and die, unless it is preserved fully. Fisons must leave all of it alone - now!
As the movement grew action became more and more extreme. In the United States the group became known for their arson attacks, targeting facilities and companies involved in logging, genetic engineering, GMO crops, deforestation, SUV sales... the list goes on. The attacks were always strictly planned out, ensuring that no one would be physically harmed: these are not bad people, just frustrated ones who were continually battered by their lack of voice. And for once people began to see them, and to listen.
But after everything that they have done has anything really changed? They have destroyed livelihoods, cost the government thousands of pounds and stopped production for short periods of time... But still after everything the devastation of our planet continues. Just as it does after a quiet, peaceful protest.
These are brave people with extreme and strong ideals, people who have the guts to put themselves in harms way for what they believe is right, something that not many people have the passion to do. Surely if people feel so strongly it is worth stopping to listen to them? Or is the path or destruction never the right one?
As it stands at the moment action will not be taken to control the depletion of the Earth's resources until we are at the edge, and by then it will be too late. Mother nature has an incredible power to recover after damage, but once all the bees, trees and plants are gone there is nothing she can do. Should we, perhaps, be taking more extreme action in the fight for our lives?
As you might be able to tell my mind is not completely made up on this matter... So what do you think... is extreme environmental action necessary? Please take the time to comment! Thank you :)