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Greenpeace Activists Protest Old-Growth Logging in Umpqua National Forest

Umpqua National Forest, Ore - Greenpeace continued to spotlight destructive logging practices on U.S. public lands today, this time in Oregon's Umpqua National Forest, administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Four activists attached themselves to a three-ton cargo container placed in the middle of active logging operations at the site of the "Peanuts" timber sale, where felling and hauling of old-growth trees is underway by the D.R. Johnson company. Surrounded by stumps, the bright yellow container, which reads "Bush's Forest Destruction Stops Here" is the latest staging ground for Greenpeace's campaign calling for a moratorium on commercial logging of ancient forest on public lands.

For updates about today's action, see  http://weblog.greenpeace.org/stopthesales/index.html
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Shanna Foley, 19, of Oakland, CA scaled and perched atop a 30-foot mast 20 feet above the container, while 63 year-old Kayla Starr of Cave Junction, OR locked herself to the outside. Fred Ecks, 38, of San Francisco, CA and Randeep Waila, 25 of Dallas, TX, both locked inside the container, filed weblogs to the Greenpeace USA website via satellite e-mail.

"Greenpeace is here to bear witness to the horrific logging practices on our public lands and to support local communities in their call for greater protection of these areas," said Ginger Cassady, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. "With less than 5 percent of ancient forests remaining in the United States it is time to end the archaic practice of logging old-growth and protect these national treasures before it is too late."

The Umpqua watershed, an area the size of the state of Connecticut which runs from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, contains more than 1.5 million acres of federal forests. More than 50 percent of that has already been logged and the forest ecosystem severely degraded. The "Peanuts" timber sale is only one of many located in the area, which is the site of the proposed Medicine Mountain National Monument and near two important recreational areas, the Umpqua Hotsprings and the Wild and Scenic North Umpqua River, known worldwide for its Steelhead fishing.

"It is time to restore the damage that has been done to our public lands by 100 years of abuse by the U.S. Forest Service, here in the Umpqua and around the nation," Cassady continued. "If the American people don't draw a line in the sand, then the Bush administration is going to leave us with a tragic legacy, a graveyard of stumps."

what happened to the messaging 25.Jun.2004 16:34


"a moratorium on commercial logging of ancient forest on public lands."

The dominant rallying cry of forest activists used to be for "zero-cut"....
And then "end to commercial logging on public lands"....
Then the message was downgraded to an "end to old growth logging"....
Then for a "moratorium on old growth logging".....
and now a "moratorium on commerical logging of ancient forests on public lands" (which could still include many thinning projects that "require" old-growth logging to allow the loggers to "break-even" and therefore are "non-commercial").

Compromise, compromise, compromise -- 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 will eventually leave us with nothing.

Already 95% of US native forests are gone. David Brower (director of the Sierra Club in the 60's) recognized before his death and grilled mainstream enviros like Sierra club and Greenpeace for their lack of strong stance on all this. When you ask these folks why they'll tell you "we agree in spirit, but we have to do what political feasible".

But what is feasible is a dynamic equation -- activists of all stripes shape our political reality and when big mainstream groups with lots of media making ability put these ideas out there they reduce the possibilites for popularizing more "radical" (but really, what's radical about wanting just 5% saved?!?!) visions.

They take the easy way out (in-part) because the non-profit world is driven by proving you can make political hay to your wealthy funders. Yes the folks on the ground (and even the spokespeople!) are surely doing it with the best intentions in mind, but they are kidding themselves if they don't understand the forces at work behind their pay checks. And we are kidding ourselves if we don't think about this too.

Show me a grant application for a major GP funding foundation that doesn't ask "what will the messaging be on this campaign"?

The choice to use the words "moratorium", "commercial logging", and "old-growth" are explicit and fully conscious choices by GP -- anyone involved in doing media and messaging work for the forests (regardless of your stance) knows this. Call any forest group up ask their stance - I promise you they have one.

GP chose to lower the bar nearly to as low as it could go. (The exceptions being the Wilderness Society who only want roadless areas protected).

These choices have very real, life-and-death, implications for the trees, plants and non-human animals living in these forests. This isn't an idle ideological debate.

If politics means compromise it is important to remember that eventually the compromise will end up being somewhere between GP's vision and the industry vision - maybe we'll have a moratorium on forests near big cities with lots of liberal political base, and double logging everywhere else. Far fetched? This was PRECISELY what was proposed by Senator Wyden last year.

The Iraq war equivalant might be a demand for a "moratorium on killing non-terrorist iraqis". Would anyone support this over "US out of Iraq now!" ?

Just because GP happens to use direct action to promote this vision doesn't mean they should get our support, anymore than we would support some moderate anti-war group using direct action to promote a "moratorium on killing non-terrorists in Iraq".

It's the vision that makes the group and that (more importantly) makes a movement radical or even worthwhile -- IT'S NOT the tactics!! And many enviros that do not use direct action have a FAR MORE radical vision then GP. Of course many groups using DA have a far more radical vision than GP as well.

If you think doing direct actions makes a group worthy of unconditional support you are being bamboozled - this is precisely why GP is successful - they get $$ and support from BOTH people who think they are radical AND from people who know they are not.

Blind support of anyone who appears to be "doing anything" for the cause is foolhardy folks. Solidarity is important, but at the expense of basic reasoning skills and certainly not at the expense of the forests. Regardless, basic elements of the logic of solidarity suggest that when the big guys have the onus to show solidarity with the littler folks, not the other way around: Is it US folks responsibility to show solidarity with Iraqi's working against the war or should the onus be on Iraqi's coming to us asking how they can help OUR struggle against the war?

When will we say enough is enough, and demand what we believe in and what is right and not what is politically viable?

folk arrested 25.Jun.2004 18:23