Tag Archives: Mike Roselle

“Playing hard on high seas”

16 Jan

This weekend, journalist Rosslyn Beeby with the Canberra Times in Australia drew connections between Sea Shepherd and Earth First! in a follow-up story about the three activists detained on a Japanese wailing ship last week. Below are some highlights from the article, touching on the history of Earth First! and Ed Abbey:

Yup, that's an EF! tat alright...

“Earth First!” That’s the sign-off used by West Australian activist Simon Peterffy in a farewell Facebook post before embarking on a hazardous night journey – in one of the Sea Shepherd’s ocean pursuit inflatables – to board the Japanese whaling vessel, Shonan Maru No 2. The move was planned, in strict secrecy, as a protest against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

”I love my life and love you all! Thanks everyone for their commitment to defend the Redtails and the earth. Earth First!” the founder of the WA anti-logging group Forest Rescue wrote. The forest red-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) has become a rallying symbol for the fight to save the state’s south-west forests. Protected under WA law as a bird that is ”rare or likely to become extinct”, the cockatoos live in marri, karri and jarrah forests which are rapidly disappearing. The federal recovery plan for the species lists habitat loss for ”agriculture, timber harvesting, woodchipping and mining” as the principal cause of their decline.

Peterffy, who boarded the Japanese ship with fellow Forest Rescue activists Glen Pendlebury and Geoffrey Tuxworth, has red-tail feathers tattooed on his arms, as well as the Earth First! symbol—a stone axe and monkey wrench. And on the Forest Rescue website, the WA forest conservation group Peterffy founded some years ago, the symbol is accompanied by the Earth First! motto—”No compromise in defence of Mother Earth.”

So who, or what, is Earth First? Anyone familiar with American author Edward Abbey’s eco-activism classic The Monkey Wrench Gang knows the answer. They may even wistfully be eyeing paint aerosols in the local hardware store, wondering whether to daub ”Hayduke lives” across a billboard. Continue reading

Blast from the Past: “The Politics of Radical Environmentalism” 1987 Earth First! documentary

24 Nov

 

This film is a pre-released version of the documentary “Earth First!: The Politics of Radical Environmentalism” produced by Chris Manes. Its an examination of Earth First! in the early days, filmed at, and around the time of, the 1987 Grand Canyon Round River Rendezvous–a definitive work of that era.  While Manes has not been present in the Earth First! movement for well over a decade, he was featured recently in the  “Where Are They Now” section of the Earth First! Journal 30th Anniversary edition.

The documentary features live footage of tree spiking, monkey wrenching, early blockades and tree sits. And along with totally 80’s hair styles under camo hats and eco-militancy expressed in Sesame Street-sounding sing-alongs, it’s also chock-full of  powerful interviews: Earth First! co-founders Nancy Morton, Howie Wolke, Mike Roselle and Dave Foreman; former EF! Journal editor John Davis; prominent voice for deep ecology, author Bill Devall (who passed on last year); and voices from government agencies, the timber industry and mainstream groups like the Sierra Club.

This version of the film was posted on Youtube summer 2011 by longtime EF! activist and movement documentarian  Andy Caffrey.  Since this summer, Caffrey has added over 50 historical EF! videos online via his Youtube channel. He’s also running for Congress in 2012. And while we could more-or-less give a shit about who gets elected, we’re glad to see some of these videos back in circulatation amidst his campaign endeavors.