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Protest leads to needless tragedy

Protest leads to needless tragedy


October 11, 2002

PROTEST: Itís time for Earth First! to rethink its strategy of tree-sitting.

Protests and demonstrations have been woven into the fabric of Santa Cruz County life over the past generation. From anti-war demonstrations to anti-abortion rallies, these public actions have been of varying success and support.
Some demonstrations are effective; many are not. To be effective, a demonstration has to raise an issue that others may not know about, bringing to light something that perhaps has been ignored too often.
Perhaps there is an aspect of that goal in the minds of Earth First! protesters who climb into trees to prevent them from being cut by loggers. At the beginning, protesters used the action to bring attention to the possible cutting of remaining first-growth redwood trees, the ones that are, indeed, well worth preserving.
However, by now the tree-sitting protest has grown stale. Worse, tree-sitting protests are dangerous; this week in Santa Cruz County a man died after falling from a tree.
The protests are incredibly dangerous. Tree-sitting protesters ought to be aware that they take their lives in their hands whenever they climb high into trees in order to stop logging.
Also, itís significant that the maneuver is used when logging has been legally approved by the authorities. In this case, tree-sitters are taking the law into their own hands. And where we might have been understanding in the case of first-growth redwoods, some of these protests have been going on in areas that good science would say ought to be logged.
The tree-sitter who died this week was protesting in a second-growth tree. Although Earth First! says that logging in this area is harmful, a compelling argument can be made to the contrary.
Thatís the problem: what good is served in carrying on a protest on such an uncertain issue? Particularly worrisome is carrying on that protest when it carries with it the risk of death.
Itís clear that despite the best intentions of Earth First!, its protests are horribly risky. In one case touted on the groupís website some months ago, an infant was lifted into a tree and the group bragged that the baby was the youngest tree-sitter in history. Earth First! should hardly brag about such a feat. Putting a baby into a tree is dangerous, and the action was indefensible.
Obviously, Earth First! will have to rethink its actions of civil disobedience. As details emerge from the death in Santa Cruz County this week, itís clear that the group exercises little control over its volunteers, and that it runs tree-sitting actions with little regard for the dangers faced by their volunteers.
Also, thereís danger to more people than just protesters. Those who work for logging companies are at risk because of the people and material that are put up in trees, and so are law-enforcement officials called out to the scene.
We can hardly expect groups like Earth First! to curtail all protesting.
In fact, some good comes out of citizen groups that fighting for their beliefs. But this needless death here in Santa Cruz County this week should cause the group to rethink its strategies. The fact is that Earth First! is wrong about some of its anti-logging actions, and any resulting death and injury is a tragedy.

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not even clever

"Good science would say" that this forest NEEDS to be logged? What in the hell is "good science?" CDF's ass filled with the corporate cock of the lumber industry's science? Is it the great logic of cutting trees because they take up too much water?

This is blasphemous. I don't have time to counter it all; why don't you go read some fucking books or take some classes if you don't believe me


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