Over the last few years, I have contacted some of you to join in stopping
a particularly horrible act of aggression against the Earth and her
greater family. Such was the case with organizing swimmers to block the
sound-blasting of humpback whales in early 1998 as part of a Navy test of
their Low-Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) and with recruiting 240
volunteers to don sea turtle costumes and hit the streets of Seattle to
block the meetings of the World Trade Organization.
This alert is even more urgent and your participation even more critical.
One of the greatest natural treasures on Earth is in imminent danger and
will be destroyed if enough people do now find it in their hearts to
respond and respond now.
The federal and state government are at this moment releasing a letter to
Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO) of Humboldt County, California that allows
them to begin cutting seven hundred acres of the largest unprotected
redwoods in the world. Called the E stands, these are the best
unprotected trees of the 211,000 acres PALCO owns, the creme de la creme:
trees 15' in diameter, some over 2000 years old, some groves perfect,
unentered, no stumps- the forest primeval.
Even though the trees are known habitat for the marbled murrelet and
other endangered creatures, PALCO is being allowed to cut these stands
under the deal struck for the Headwaters about three years ago.
Progressive-sounding "habitat conservation plans" or HCP's create
loopholes in the Endangered Species Act and give the company permission
to destroy hundreds of marbled murrelets even though their population is
crashing in California. Any cutting of trees must be suspended when the
murrelets come back to roost in the trees on March 24. So the chainsaws
and bulldozers are rushing to cut and drag these monarchs as fast as
For dealing with this and other assaults on our sacred Earth, we have
banded together into a new all-volunteer organization called the Natural
Guard. The idea is that we organize to protect life in our home towns-
whether the threat is chemicals in our bloodstreams, opposing war, or the
destruction of forests and rivers. We recruit our friends and families to
join in the "reserves" to be called up when needed. Our approach is to
fight like water- tenacious and non-violent opposition to the infliction
of violence to families and the Earth.
This particular fight brings every element of our current struggle on
Earth into focus: an irreplaceable natural treasure about to be
destroyed, a corporate villain bent on cutting and running, state and
federal governments happy to craft a deal if you have enough money and
lawyers, laws circumvented and sheer brutality used to curtail dissent.
Humboldt County Sheriffs have used pepper spray in the eyes and pain
compliance holds to torture forest defenders into surrendering. One of
the unentered groves about to be cut is just up the hill from where David
Gypsy Chain was murdered by a PALCO logger a couple of years ago.
This is the culmination of a seventeen-year old fight for the ancient
redwoods of California, ever since corporate raider Charles Hurwitz
staged a hostile takeover of Pacific Lumber Company with the help of the
infamous Michael Miliken and Ivan Boesky. He immediately raided their
pension fund, more than doubled the cut of timber, instituted clear-cut
logging and the subsequent dousing of the denuded land with herbicide
mixed with diesel fuel. Just before Christmas he closed the 104 year-old
mill in the company town of Scotia, not only taking jobs away from those
who worked there but their homes as well. Now, having silted the rivers,
poisoned the fish, shattered the forests, and destroyed the economic base
of Humboldt County, Hurwitz is preparing to announce bankruptcy for PALCO
and take his millions back to Houston.
Some say that the destruction of these ancient forests is a done deal and
that any opposition will be futile. Maybe so. The forests are on PALCO's
private property. Both federal and state permits have been issued.
Stopping the logging by climbing the trees and setting up platforms to
live on is exceedingly difficult- often the first branch is 150' up.
Many of us, however, do not see how we can sit and watch TV while the
last of the biggest trees on Earth and the creatures that depend on them
are wiped out. So we are mobilizing. We are calling on everyone who cares
to join us at either Grizzly Creek or Swimmer's Delight campgrounds from
now until March 24 to do everything peaceful in our power to stop this
cutting. These campgrounds are located 12 and 17 miles east on route 36
from the Fortuna junction of 101. We are setting up a kitchen and
training in tree climbing and survival techniques. We hope to make a
strong enough stand to buy time for these trees and the life they hold. A
California referendum is pending that would ban the cutting of old
growth trees, of which barely 3 percent remain.
To you now reading these words- I call on you. Come on down and join us.
Bring what skills you have- even if you are not prepared to get arrested
or climb trees, we badly need support people. Come with enough camping
gear and clothing to live in the woods for a month. Our goal is to put a
peaceful army of 1,000 souls in tree villages over the next month and
stop these trees from falling. For those of you who have volunteered
before to join others in defending the Earth, you know that there is
precious little else that brings such joy.
Don't come out of obligation. Do it for yourself, to refuse to acquiesce
in your heart to the surrender of the wild and wonderful. Be the
This is your wake-up call. Your presence is urgently requested.
What do we need? Just about everything, including:
Doctors Riggers Cooks
Survival Experts Lawyers media contacts
Funding Ropes cameras
tents climbing saddles cargo nets
tarps musicians food
warm clothes an office raingear
a camper Propane stoves helmets
>See you there. Please send this alert far and wide.
Love and Revolution,
International Coordinator for the Animal Welfare Institute
home office: 202-337-2332
regional office: 360-378-8755
cell phone: 360-317-5685
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
committed citizens can change the world;
Indeed it is the only thing
that ever has!"