Eco-warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement

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Eco Warriors : Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement es un libro de Rik Scarce y David Brower (Noble Press, 1990)

The Traditional Indo-European worldview of man as an intimate part of his or her environment seems all to distant today as huge soulless multinational corporations literally tear our future from the soil and the ocean in an insane quest for profit. Less developed nations are forced to strip their lands of its national resources in order to pay a crippling interest on debt to international banking without regard for the long term effects to the global environmental balance.

But men and women of many lands and political orientations, acting upon some deep instinctive urge for survival, do what they feel they must to halt this wanton destruction—at times one symbolic tree at a time. Who are these people, what motivates them, and what are some of the obstacles they face? These questions and many more are addressed in this important survey of the "Radical Environmental Movement".

Far from the "tree-hugger" epithet coined by forest industry propagandists I was struck with a sense of how passionate and genuine many of these "Eco-Warriors" are in their selfless mission. And missions these are, missions that manifest themselves in the form of blocked logging trucks, burned down animal research labs or the sinking of a whaling fleet. Many of these stories from inside the trenches are truly inspirational and speak volumes to the spiritual energy animating many segments of this movement.

Like any organic movement this one also has its growing pains. Many will recognize the dynamics which arise between the "Old Guard" compromisers and the environment's new champions who push the envelope into the future. Also familiar is the Establishment enforcers who attempt to exploit such tensions in order to control and/or destroy any groups they deem a threat or potentially so.

Although many of these activists are driven by instinct there is a philosophical underpinning that the author calls "Deep Ecology". Deep Ecology, developed from a 1972 lecture delivered by Norwegian Arne Naess, is but a reformulation of some traditional views of Man and Nature. Rolling back the prevalent Christian idea of man as separate from Nature, Deep Ecology seeks to remove this artificial barrier and to reunite Man with Nature through an expansion in his environment as a whole. While not an exact reiteration of Tradition it is a step in that direction. ("Everything in the macrocosmos, is also in man" - Olympiodorus). Deep Ecology grants Nature an intrinsic value, a value not dependent on Man's estimations which are based upon such things as economic potential or the subjective "scenic beauty" of a particular spot.

While the actual roots of the environmental movement are discussed here, it is, I believe, telling that some of those roots are completely ignored. No mention is made, for example, of the innovative contributions of Rudolf Steiner or environmental pioneer Walther Darre, agricultural peasant leader and Minister Of Agriculture in Germany in the 1930s and '40s. Anyone interested in exploring this aspect of ecological history may wish to obtain the book "Blood And Soil: Walther Darre..."(Kensal Press). Despite a few shortcomings this book by author Rik Scarce is a good introduction to a dynamic movement as well as a good overview of the plight facing the global environment.

The future of the environmental movement remains an open question, new blood with new and bolder tactics continue to enter its ranks to take up the challenge facing us all. But whatever the outcome, ecological survival is an issue which must be dealt with by everyone concerned about the future.