About Earth First!
Are you tired of namby-pamby environmental groups? Are you tired of overpaid corporate environmentalists who suck up to bureaucrats and industry? Have you become disempowered by the reductionist approach of environmental professionals and scientists?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Earth First! is for you. Earth First! is effective. Our front-line, direct action approach to protecting wilderness gets results. We have succeeded in cases where other environmental groups had given up, and have drawn public attention to the crises facing the natural world.
Earth First! was named in 1979 in response to a lethargic, compromising, and increasingly corporate environmental community. Earth First! takes a decidedly different tack towards environmental issues. We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience.
Earth First! is different from other environmental groups. Here are some things to keep in mind about Earth First! and some suggestions for being an active and effective Earth First!er: First of all, Earth First! is not an organization, but a movement. There are no "members" of Earth First!, only Earth First!ers. It is a belief in biocentrism, that life of the Earth comes first, and a practice of putting our beliefs into action.
While there is broad diversity within Earth First! from animal rights vegans to wilderness hunting guides, from shrill voices to careful followers of Gandhi, from whiskey-drinking backwoods riffraff to thoughtful philosophers, from misanthropes to humanists there is agreement on one thing, the need for action!
How to form an EF! Group
Earth First! is an international movement composed of small, bioregionally-based groups. Earth First!ers (EF!ers) take it upon ourselves to become intimately familiar with the ecology of our area and the most immediate and serious threats to it. We apply "direct pressure" to stop the bleeding, with a combination of education, litigation, and creative civil disobedience. Many EF!ers experience both the joy of the wild and the anguish of losing it so acutely that they feel isolated and alone before coming together as a group. Nothing is more empowering or more fulfilling than standing defiant in creative consort with other like-hearted people. Dare to love that much!
Earth First! has survived attacks by moderates, would-be leaders and the agents of the system, remaining the most diverse, passionate, committed, and uncompromising group of environmental activists. Our direct actions in defense of the last wild places only seem radical compared to an entire paradigm of denial and control, where the individual is convinced they are powerless, and the organizations set up to protect the wilderness continue to bargain it away.
Earth First! is a priority, not an organization. The only "leaders" are those working the most effectively. New ideas, strategies and crucial initiative come from individuals, and all decisions are made within affinity groups based on preferred tactics. EF! is as much an extended family as an environmental movement, developing the integrity and skills for a new/old way of living with the land. Our actions are tied to Deep Ecology, the spiritual and visceral recognition of the intrinsic, sacred value of every living thing.
To start an Earth First! group in your area, consider the following elements: Contacts: Even though it is up to every individual EF!er to come up with campaigns and strategies and carry them out, a successful group still needs a "contact" to:
Educate yourself on the ways you can attract attention to environmental concerns and dissuade people and corporations from destroying the Earth.
Learn the law. While getting arrested will often bring increased media attention, weigh all the options. Freedom is an important asset. Avoiding jail is sometimes a better strategy.
Become aware of the risks to which you will be exposed. Activists are often arrested during legal actions by police ignorant of the law.
Establish a web site for your local area so that anyone may get in touch with you and learn what you're doing to help.
Gather people to help instigate actions and spread the word on what needs to be done to protect the Earth.