Fertile Ground Environmental Institute has been quiet lately, and we just wanted to share with you all what some of our members have been up to.

Saba Malik is raising her two children in California, working as an herbalist and serving as the bedrock for a strong community focused on environmental and social justice.

Thoren Rogers is working and providing for his family and two young children in the town of Bellingham, WA, and is yearning for more free time to foment revolution.

Dillon Thomson is living in Eugene, OR, and is studying to secure a good job to fund further resistance movements.

Max Wilbert is living in Salt Lake City, UT, where he organizes with the Great Basin Chapter of Deep Green Resistance, which is working to fight water extraction and tar sands industrial projects with local indigenous and grassroots allies.

The resistance continues - pardon our quiet lately! We will be back in action before you know it.
 
 
The community of Bellingham, Washington, has launched a campaign that seeks to revoke the supremacy of corporate rights over the local municipality. Its goal is to reassert the rights of nature as a necessity for the continued survival of the human community, and block the construction of a massive coal-export terminal proposed for the region. The initiative is using an innovative model developed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a law firm that specializes in this sort of radical experiment in local democracy. 
    
This is a huge step forward for community organizing. It directly addresses the systems of oppressive power that are destroying the planet. This model has been used very effectively in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Shasta, and other communities around the world. A similar model was used to incorporate rights for nature into the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008 and Bolivia in 2011. This initiative is, in practice, a violation of US federal laws and constitutional provisions regarding commerce, which stipulate that local communities have no power to protect their regions from ecocidal "development." 

 So far, there have been no federal challenges to this model, but such challenges, if and when they occur, may actually strengthen the strategy by clarifying the division between the exploited and the exploiters; by clearly demonstrating how little "democracy" is actually present in this system of government. The sort of direct repression required to reverse one of these decisions could make a lot of enemies for the federal government and the financial interests that they serve.

There is no telling just what the outcome will be if the federal government informs its citizens that they have no legal rights to decide the fate of their own homes and the wellbeing of their offspring. One possibility is the radicalizing of progressives. It should also be noted that many of the communities that have passed these types of initiatives have been politically conservative. For once, challenges to the model would put both the right and the left on the same side.

The Fertile Ground Environmental Institute recognizes that such outcomes that result in the restriction of corporate rights are only positive for the health of our planet. At the same time, we assert that these tactics are just the beginning, a first step in building a strong culture of resistance. To truly overturn the corrupt, brutal system of power that is industrial civilization, other big steps must be taken. 

We must address oppression within our communities, oppression of women, people of color, and many other groups. We must address the issue of the American genocide, and make material and spiritual amends for the blood-soaked land we now inhabit; land that was stolen cruelly from the indigenous communities here at a cost of nearly 100 million indigenous dead. However, first and foremost, we must completely dismantle the industrial economy and all of its associated practices: strip mining, clear-cut logging, ocean trawling, chemical production, mono-crop agriculture, etc. This will take a serious resistance movement.

There are groups and communities who are actively building that resistance movement. Among them are CELDF, Deep Green Resistance, RAMPS, Indigenous Environmental Network, and many others. They need your help. Join them.

More information:

http://coal-free-bellingham.org/

www.deepgreenresistance.org

 

Occupy The Machine

02/14/2012

 
"Too often when we don’t succeed, we don’t escalate. Too often when they escalate their attacks against the planet and all living beings, we don’t escalate. (Have you noticed that all of our victories are temporary and defensive, and all our losses permanent and offensive?) No more. If our actions do not succeed, we promise to escalate. We will regroup, reorganize, and go for more than before, risking more and holding nothing back. We promise they will lose more money and we will get stronger and fight harder."

Occupy the Machine is an ad hoc umbrella group using serious, sustained direct action campaigns to shut down major targets that destroy the land and exploit humans, permanently.

More information here:
https://occupythemachine.wordpress.com/

or find OTM on Facebook:
https://facebook.com/occupythemachine
 
 
Reflections on the 2011 DGR Speaking Tour

I have returned from the six-week West Coast Deep Green Resistance speaking tour that I began in Bellingham, WA on October eighth.  From Bellingham I travelled south to Seattle, then on to Oregon where I spoke in Portland and in Bend for the Real Food and Resistance Conference, and then on to California where I spoke in Chico, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz.  My venues included university classrooms, living rooms, infoshops, cafes, independent activist spaces, and the Occupy encampment in San Francisco.  Every event was attended by between 15 and 30 people. 

Overall, the tour was great.  I had no idea what to expect in terms of crowd size or how people would receive my ideas and the DGR plan, but I was pleasantly surprised again and again as I met people who were not only ready to hear what I had to say, but actually yearning for it.  As I talked to people who had fire in their eyes and an obvious readiness to get to work, I was reminded of myself more than four years ago when I first heard Derrick Jensen speak in Bellingham.  It was a liberating experience for me to hear someone articulate something that I had been feeling in my bones for a long time but that no one had yet put words to, and I could tell that many people in my audiences felt similarly after my talks ended.  To me, seeing that response in people made it all worth it, and I have a feeling that I will be seeing many of them again in future resistance work.

What surprised me the most along the way was the baseline attitude of acceptance from all of my audiences.  My premise that resistance is a legitimate and necessary method of making political change was generally an accepted point, and no one once suggested to me—in public or in private—that I was unnecessarily delegitimizing more mainstream or legal tactics for making change.  To me, it was an indicator that more and more people are becoming less faithful in the institutions of industrial capitalism, especially when it comes to stopping the dominant culture from killing the planet.  I believe that it is becoming easier for people to admit that the problems we are facing—ecological and social—are not going to be solved by fixing certain parts of the existing system.  An overhaul is needed.

In looking towards the future, I am inspired and hopeful.  I realize that there is still a huge amount of work to be done and that our goal is ambitious, to say the least.  But when I think not only of the people who I talked with on my tour but also the countless nonhumans who are out there holding on to their homes, keeping the remaining fabric of life intact, just waiting for us to get out of the way and rejoin them in healing it, I am filled with encouragement.  We must keep struggling—for them, for us, and in the end, for everyone.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement.

Dillon Thomson is a founding member of the FGEI Board of Directors.

 
 
Rain is soaking into the soil, and into our skin. Deep red, the soil mourns spilled blood. Young trees stand at watch over the stumps of their elders. The trees are weeping. Look closely – the water seeping down trunks, filtering through moss and lichen and fern blades. Great violence was done here. No longer seen are Marbelled Murellet wings, no Red Tree Voles high in the canopy, no wolves or elk, bear or cougar or beaver, no spotted owls. No cedars or hemlock or fir scraping at the sky. Each drop of rain is full of sadness, gathering in the soil, staining it red.