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sol


Books

64 2020-10-15 22:51

I read _The Ecocentrists_ (hardback ISBN: 9780231165884). I expected a broad history of radical elements within the environmental movement; I was half satisfied with what I got.

Lots of space devoted to specific actions by the Sierra Club vis a vis the US forest service and other government agencies in the late 20th century. I'm not saying this is unimportant but I don't really want to spend time reading a blow by blow account of such events.

I had to think for a while before I remembered some information from the book that I did not already know while also considering as valuable knowledge for a member of the environmental movement who is not a professional forester, lobbyist, environmental nonprofit employee, etc.:

- Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, associates of Earth First!, were severely injured by a car bomb in the summer of 1990. They were investigated by the US FBI and Oakland California Police department and ultimately charged with transporting an explosive device.

Aside, not discussed in the book that I recall: they were acquitted at trial and the FBI subsequently lost a suit claiming that the investigation violated Bari and Cherney's civil rights. The jury awarded $4.4M USD damages in 2002, but Bari had already died in 1997. Cherney and Bari maintained the bomb was placed in the car as an attack on them rather than being placed by them for use in environmentalism-motivated terrorist action.

- Tree spiking was a controversial tactic even within the extreme wing of Earth First!; it seems to have been practiced less than I thought, and with more trepidation about the possibility of hurting loggers. According to the book it is unknown whether any person working in the logging or lumber industries was ever injured as a result of tree spiking. One sawmill employee was badly hurt by metal embedded in a log but it's not known whether the metal was there because of tree spiking.

The book takes an all-USA perspective and covers a time period in which climate change wasn't widely acknowledged as a major environmental issue even within the movement. For these reasons the book can seem irrelevant without some framing discussion about how our current environmental crisis can be illuminated by these past events. Guess I will have to look elsewhere for that.

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