Stop Thinning Forests is a community compilation, sponsored by Deep Green Resistance, of research and voices that speak in defense of our forests against the atrocities that are being committed on those communities in the name of “fire mitigation” and “forest health.”
The Forest Service, in partnership with the timber industry, uses propaganda to promote the idea that thinning helps lessen fire severity while improving forest health. The research on the benefits of forest thinning is financially backed by the timber industry, and congressional passing of bills that promote thinning are backed by the lobbying efforts of the industry. The main goal for thinning forests is to increase revenue by allowing the timber industry to get into forests that were previously protected by environmental laws. Recent legislation has allowed the industry to bypass those laws and profit from forest products in the name of “forest health and restoration.” The Forest Service has consistently worked with the timber industry as a result of financial incentives and has been responsible for creating the infrastructure through use of federal tax dollars in the form of subsidies that enable the industry to “get the cut out.”
Individual land owners have recently been encouraged by the Forest Service to thin their lands with available grant monies under the guise of protecting their homes from fire and to improve the health of the forests. The available grant money filters down to the Forest Service from federal legislation that allows industry to get into our treasured, and last remaining, intact forests. Thinning private lands is offered as another incentive that generates money for the Forest Service while creating the appearance that the Forest Service is promoting a policy of “fire mitigation” and “forest restoration,” extending to the wildland/urban interface. Private land owners have the power to become informed and make rational decisions to protect their homes from fire that will not devastate the forest community. It is essential that individuals making these decisions become informed about federal forest policies and the history of the Forest Service before making decisions that will disrupt and harm the forest communities where we live.
Here is a recent on-the-ground report back from Deanna Meyer, a Deep Green Resistance organizer in Colorado:
I went up to check on my neighboring forest who is being destroyed as I write with heavy equipment. These photos show some of the results. Pictures could never show the true devastation, and this place, which is very important to me, is now unrecognizable.
This is at a church in Sedalia, Colorado and this tax exempt church accepted hundreds of thousands of tax payers’ dollars to destroy this forest. All of this is in the name of “fire prevention.” Research analyzing millions of acres throughout the West where fires have occurred shows otherwise.
Here in Colorado, all we need to do is look at the 3 largest fires in our history, all occurring this year, and pay attention to all of the acres that were “thinned” just like this. They did NOT fare any better than the untouched forests and in many areas they burnt even faster and hotter because of wind breaks and dried out soil.
All of this is horrific and heartbreaking, but the soil stands out the most to me. It takes thousands of years to create healthy soil and mycelial networks. This land now is a barren dustbowl with some wood chips thrown on top. The mycelium, grasses, sedges, forbs, and trees who were there and holding the soil together are now completely obliterated from the heavy equipment, mulching and utter destruction of at least a foot of soil who used to be sinking carbon and healing the land.
Every time our forests start to heal themselves from the decades of colonizing destruction, the Forest DISservice and private land owners come in and log it again. When you look at the forests that have not been touched for decades, they are healing and thinning themselves out. Just because they look “messy” to colonizers who can’t stand the idea of not having control over every living biome that exists does not alter the fact that the forests know best what to do with themselves and our meddling with them is biocide.
REMINDER: This Sunday, November 22nd, join us for a live streaming event—Drawing the Line: Stopping the Murder of the Planet—featuring Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Chris Hedges, and grassroots activists from around the world.
The event will begin at 1pm Pacific (2100 UTC) and will be live streamed at https://givebutter.com/deepgreen.
This Sunday, we ask: where do you draw the line? What is the threshold at which you will fight for the living planet? And how shall we fight?
This event will introduce you to on-the-ground campaigns being waged around the planet, introduce various strategies for effective organizing, rebut false solutions through readings of the forthcoming book Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It, and discuss philosophy of resistance. There will be opportunities to ask questions and participate in dialogue during the event.
Donate to Support the Movement
The mainstream environmental movement is funded mainly by foundations which don’t want foundational or revolutionary change. Radical organizations like Deep Green Resistance therefore rely on individual donors to support activism around the world, which is why Drawing the Line is also a fundraiser. We’re trying to raise funds to support global community organizing via our chapters, fund mutual aid and direct action campaigns, and make our core outreach and organizational work possible.
Whether or not you are in a financial position to donate, we hope you will join us on November 22nd for this event! There will be a chance to ask questions and participate in dialogue. We hope to see you on Sunday.
Members of Deep Green Resistance denied entry to Canada on the way to a Chris Hedges’ lecture
Three members of the radical environmental organization Deep Green Resistance and two other individuals were detained for more than seven hours at the Peace Arch border crossing between Washington State and British Columbia on their way to Vancouver to attend a talk by author and activist Chris Hedges last Friday, September 25. They were questioned about the organizations they were involved in, their political affiliations, and their contacts in Canada before being turned away by Canadian border agents. Upon re-entering the United States they were then subjected to another round of questioning by US border agents. The car they were traveling in as well as their personal computers were searched.
The interrogation comes on the heels of an FBI inquiry into Deep Green Resistance last fall in which more than a dozen members of the group were contacted and questioned by FBI agents. Several months later the group’s lawyer, Larry Hildes, was stopped at the same border crossing and asked specifically about one of his clients, Deanna Meyer, also a Deep Green Resistance member. During the 2014 visits, FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents showed up at members’ places of work, their homes, and contacted family members to find out more about the group. Meyer, who lives in Colorado, was asked by a DHS agent if she’d be interested in “forming a liaison.” The agent told her he wanted to, “head off any injuries or killing of people that could happen by people you know.” Two of the members detained at the border on Friday were also contacted by the FBI last fall.
Since Hildes was last held up at the Peace Arch border crossing in June he filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. In August he received a letter from the DHS saying the agency “can neither confirm nor deny any information about you which may be within federal watchlists or reveal any law enforcement sensitive information.”
It’s not only Deep Green Resistance members who have had trouble getting across the border. Environmental activists who were part of a campaign in Texas opposing the Keystone XL pipeline were the targets of an FBI investigation in 2012 and 2013 and have also been denied entry into Canada. At least one of those activists, Bradley Stroot, has been placed on a selective screening watchlist for domestic flights.
Nearly all of the activists involved are US citizens who have not had issues traveling to Canada in the past, leading them to believe that the recent FBI investigation and interest in their activities has landed them on some kind of federal watchlist. According to Peter Edelman, an immigration attorney in Vancouver, there are three broad categories under which Canadian border agents may deny entry to a foreign national: If they suspect you are entering Canada to work or study or you clearly don’t have the financial resources needed for the duration of the visit; if you pose a security threat to Canada or are a member of a terrorist or criminal organization; or if you’ve committed certain crimes. Edelman says that US citizens tend to get targeted more easily at the Canadian border because of the various information- sharing programs between the two countries. As soon as they scan your passport, border agents have access to a whole host of state and federal databases. Still, Edelman says, “Who gets targeted and who doesn’t is definitely an exercise in profiling.”
On Friday, September 25 Deep Green Resistance members Max Wilbert, Dillon Thomson, Rachel and two other individuals not affiliated with the group drove from Eugene, Oregon to attend the talk by Hedges, which was a collaboration with the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution. They got to the border around 1 p.m., told the border agents where they were going, and that they’d be returning to Oregon the next day. They were then asked to exit their vehicle and enter the border control facility, where they assumed they would be held briefly before continuing on their way.
Instead, they ended up spending four hours on the Canadian side, each questioned separately. At one point, an agent came into the building carrying Wilbert’s computer and notebooks. He asked the agent what they were doing with the computer and was told they were searching for “child pornography and evidence that you’re intending to work in Canada.” The agent also said they were “not going to add or remove anything.”
According to Edelman the searching of computers and cell phones at the border has become standard procedure despite the fact that there are questions about whether a border search allows for such invasive measures. Border agents take the view that they are permitted to do so, but the legal picture remains murky. “The searching of computers is an issue of contention,” Edelman says.
After four hours of questioning, all but one of the travelers were told that they would not be allowed to enter Canada. Wilbert, who grew up in Seattle and has traveled to Canada many times without incident, including as recently as January 2015, was told that they were suspicious he was entering the country to work illegally. A professional photographer, he had volunteered to take pictures of the event, which he had openly told the agents. “It was pretty obvious they were grasping for straws,” Wilbert says. “Under that level of suspicion you wouldn’t let anybody into Canada.”
The other three individuals were told they had been denied entry for previous political protest-related arrests. Rachel, a Deep Green Resistance member arrested in 2012 during a protest near the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, had traveled to Canada in December 2014 without any problems. The one individual allowed entry had no prior arrest record or explicit affiliation with any political groups. (Interestingly, several Deep Green Resistance members traveling separately, including one of the group’s founders, Lierre Keith, were allowed to pass through the border and attend the event.)
After being denied entry to Canada, the group turned around and attempted to reenter the United States, at which point they were again pulled aside and told by US border agents to exit their car. The group was then subjected to a similar round of questioning that lasted three and a half hours. This time, US agents took three computers from the vehicle into the border control facility and kept them for the duration of the interrogation.
According to Wilbert, the questions on the American side were more obviously political. Agents wanted to know the names of the groups they were involved in, what kinds of activities they engage in, what they believe in, and who they were going to see.
“It seemed very clear on the US side that they had already come to conclusions about who we are and what we were doing,” Rachel says.
Around 8:30 p.m. they were told they could leave and that it had been nothing more than a routine inspection.
Wilbert doesn’t see it that way. Two days later he got a new computer and says he plans to get rid of the one seized by border agents. Despite assurances from the border officials that nothing was “added or removed” he says, “We feel like everything we do on those computers will never be private.”
“It was pretty clear to us that it was an information gathering excursion,” says Wilbert. “They had an opportunity to harass and intimidate and gather information from activists who they find threatening.”
By Ashley Michels / Fox 31 Denver
Castle Rock will soon be home to one of the biggest malls in the country, but a local group is trying to push the project back to save the prairie dogs that live there.
The Castle Rock Promenade is scheduled to open by the end of 2015 near I-25 and Meadows Parkway. It will be one of the biggest shopping complexes in the country. While it is expected to bring a major economic boost to the region, several residents have serious concerns.
“I live here because of the open spaces, the topography,” explains long-time resident Linda Vannosdrand. “It is absolutely gorgeous and they are ruining it.”
Several Castle Rock residents stood in protest of the mall Tuesday because the area where it will be built is home to one of the biggest prairie dog colonies in the state. Many worry they will die with the development.
“There are thousands of prairie dogs out here and their lives are just as meaningful as mine is to me,” says prairie dog activist Deanna Meyer.
Protesters are asking Alberta Development Partners to push back their timeline until June.
“There is a way to do it right. The problem with that way is they need to wait until June because all the females are pregnant right now and when they do that they don’t come out of the burrows,” Meyer explains.
Alberta Development has hired a pest control company to begin placing traps over the prairie dog holes. It is not clear if they are being used to exterminate or relocate the animals. Attempts to contact the development company Tuesday were not successful.
From Fox 31 Denver: http://kdvr.com/2015/02/24/group-protests-trapping-of-prairie-dogs-at-huge-castle-rock-shopping-development/