‘... One days exposure to mountains is better than a cartloads of books’.
John Muir (1838-1914)
‘Ancient Futures - Learning from Ladakh’
by Helena Norberg-Hodge, pub. Rider Books 1992.
This one is for those unfortunate individuals who still, against all the evidence, retains some faith in Western style development and mass society. The author was present in Ladakh (in the Indian Himalayas) both before and after the onset of tourism and so called development, which was designed to break the traditional subsistence culture and force integration into the wider Indian, and global, money economy. Norberg-Hodge had the perfect opportunity, in ‘one of the last subsistence economies to survive virtually intact to the present day’, to witness what development does to an indigenous culture and its environment.
A similar process to that described in Ancient Futures is currently underway in Sarawak, New Guinea, the Central African rainforest, Amazonia and elsewhere, with or without native consent - the imposition, as the author terms it, of a monoculture, and the eradication of diversity. From her experiences, Norberg-Hodge completely changed her view on that hoary subject, ‘human nature’, realizing that the alienation from the land, one another and from ourselves that seems to be the hallmark of modern society has little to do with innate human tendencies, and everything to do with the social structure we inhabit. Ancient Futures contains some classic, instructive quotes – here are a couple: -
“… We don’t have any poverty here.” – Tsewang Pallor, 1975.
(Followed by... )
“... if you could only help us Ladakhis, we are so poor.” – Tsewang Pallor, 1983.
“ If Ladakh is ever going to be developed we have to figure out how to make these people more greedy. You just can’t motivate them otherwise.” - Development Commissioner for Ladakh, 1981.
And finally, a real gem: - As (environmentalists) were spelling out the full horror of ecological breakdown in western Europe, a representative from one of France’s leading industrial firms threw up his hands and exclaimed.
“... Yes, yes, OK I But just leave us the Third World!...”
It’s required reading - if only to reinforce your prejudices!
‘Alarm (voice of Northeast US EF!)’
A quarterly mag. It has good articles, especially on Biotechnology and indigenous peoples’ rights. These folks are far from confused, and the mag certainly has its goals and objectives worked out. A good read for all.
Contact: Alarm, PO Box 804, Burlington, VT. 05402, USA.
‘GREEN RAGE: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilisation’
by Christopher Manes
I think this is one of the most important book in this set of reviews and one of the most important in the English language. Long time EF!er Christopher Manes has written a book filled with wildness. He shows the history and origins of EF! and brings together hard facts about the ‘Biological Meltdown’ and the evils of ‘civilisation’. He analyses the effectiveness of monkeywrenching, explains the inherent sanity in Life centred philosophy and rebuts criticism from right-wingers and socialists alike. It is extremely well referenced and contains an extensive bibliography. Get this book and lend it to as many people as possible.
Little Brown, 1990, £8.95.
‘THE EARTH FIRST! READER: Ten years of radical environmentalism’
Edited by John Davis, foreword by Dave Foreman.
John Davis, editor of the EF! Journal until its 1990 demise, has compiled a representative selection of 40 of the best essays and articles from the legendary, much praised and much damned newspaper. Contributors to this anthology include Paul Watson, Howie Wolke, Dolores LaChapelle and Ed Abbey. An essential book for the rucksack of every eco-maniac.
Peregrine Smith, 1991.£13.45
‘CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-WARRIOR’
By Dave Foreman, age 13 and three-quarters
“After a decade of having a variety of journalists with varying (and declining) degrees of accuracy report my positions on a wide range of issues, I decided to give my ideas to folks straight from the horse’s mouth... The chapters in ‘Confessions’ include entirely new material as well as reworked essays since 1981. The warp and woof throughout ... are the biocentric idea of wilderness for its own sake... Topics covered include the founding, evolution and break-up of Earth First!; detailed analyses of and justification for monkeywrenching, grazing and other issues. My sister likes this book, maybe you will too. I even sign each one.” - Dave Foreman.
“Dave Foreman is one who truly understands that the Earth must come first.” - James Lovelock.
If you spend your life screaming Earth First!, buy this book. To those in the movement who say Foreman is racist, sexist and macho, I say definitely buy this book. Let yourself be amazed, Foreman is an honour to the wilderness that created him. Harmony/Crown Books, 1991, £9.00
‘Do or Die No. 3’
Absolute, unremitting SHIT! Destroy on sight.
‘A GREEN HISTORY OF THE WORLD: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilisations’
- by Clive Ponting
Historian (and former renegade civil servant) Ponting shows how degradation of ecosystems throughout the ages has led to the collapse of civilisations, from Mesopotamia, Rome and the Mayans. Beginning with gatherer - hunters, he explores the effects of agriculture, population growth, pollution, and industrialisation on natural ecosystems.
‘THE POPULATION EXPLOSION’
by Paul and Anne Ehrlich
The Ehrlichs argue convincingly that overpopulation r especially in overdeveloped nations (eg. Britain) - substantially contributes to the problem of African famine, global warming, acid rain, air and water pollution and the garbage crisis. Let the cornucopians whimper and snivel; this is must reading for those who want to deal with one of the primary cause of eco-catastrophe and social injustice: human overpopulation. Also includes a what you can do section! £9.90
‘HEALTH AND THE RISE OF CIVILISATION’
by Mark Nathan Cohen
Prof. Cohen, one of the leading anthropologists of our era, explodes the civilised myth that life for the gatherer - hunters was nasty, brutish and short. Cohen shows that health and quality of life declined with the development of agriculture and the later development of industrialism. If you’re a ‘Back to the Pleistocene’ advocate (like us of course, sitting here in an office with an Apple Mac) then your sentiments are backed up in authoritative (but readable) fashion by this book. Not only were other species better off before agriculture, so were people. Cohen persuasively argues that ‘higher levels’ of civilisation came because no other choice remained after human population degraded an area’s ecosystem and overshot carrying capacity. Good bibliography. YaleUniversity Press. £10.00
‘WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM - The Storm over the Revolutionary Plan to Restore America’s Great Plains’
by Anne Matthews, pub. Grove Weidenfield 1992.
‘A RURAL MANIFESTO FOR THE HIGHLANDS: Creating the Second Great Wood of Caledon’
by the Land-Use Working Group, Highland Green Party, 1989. (Available from Reforesting Scotland.)
These two are featured together because although dealing with areas thousands of miles apart, and very ‘region-specific’, they deal with a common theme: that is, the revitalisation of areas degraded through human exploitation. As such they serve as inspiring blueprints for the REAL work to be done in the 21st Century, once the corporate dictatorship has been overthrown: Earth repair work. They are also an excellent antidote to the gloom that pervades many - workable plans are already in place, and they merely require a conducive environment in which to flourish - i.e. NOT the present one.
‘WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM’ involves a subject close, I suspect, to the hearts of many EF!ers: the plan evolved by two academics to allow 139,000 square miles of Middle America to revert back to its natural prairie grassland state, and to oversee the return of the buffalo herds to their original stamping grounds. It’s a hugely ambitious concept, but, as they used to say in 68, ‘Be realistic - demand the impossible!’. The book also covers the response - both pro and very con - that greeted the couple’s plans when they were unveiled in 1990. It sparked off a furious debate over land use that is still raging today, putting the ‘welfare ranchers’ firmly on the defensive.
‘The RURAL MANIFESTO FOR THE HIGHLANDS’ deals with a subject even closer to the heart of ( British) EF!ers - the restoration of the once ‘Great Wood of Caledon’. It has a much more practical thrust to it than ‘WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM’, and less of an unfettered wilderness emphasis. In the Highland Green Party’s scheme of things, the Caledonian forest, if restored, would be a WORKING wood- but don’t hold that against them. The Manifesto is a paragon of bioregional thinking, showing how the Highlands could go from being one of the ‘poorest’ areas in the UK to one of its most prosperous and self-sufficient, simply through massive reafforestation. Such a move is a welcome alternative to the present situation, where local people clamour for crap like the Skye Bridge and the Harris ‘superquarry’ monstrosity, because there is no other work to be had. (And also, as we know, reafforestation has a hidden agenda: the downfall of civilisation by the back door!) These two publications are Earth First! on the offensive, no longer just trying to prevent an already bad situation from getting worse - something to aspire towards, rather than fight against.
- Hornsey and Wood Green Solidarity Group Bulletin ( Issue 3 )
A good little zine that gives an example of what’s springing up from other such communities. This gives a rundown on sabotaging Workfare, School testing, squatters and poll tax summonses. Contact: Hornsey and Wood Green Solidarity Group, PO Box 2401, London N ? 9LR.
‘The Faradawn Trilogy’
by Richard Ford, pub. Grafton Books.
Now this is the book for all those who need stirring up, and want to go out and liberate the land. The story basically revolves around the struggle between good and evil, with man coming out very much on the bad side. A cross between Watership Down and Lord of The Rings, it brings out the issues of hunting, veganism, roads, pollution and deforestation. A great read, especially the bits about the Elves and animals plotting to overthrow the savage human race (though there are a few good humans in it), and to build a harmonious new society.
'ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS BULLITIN'
Available from 121 Railton Rd, London, SE24 0LR 071-274-6655
Publicises and supports class struggle and anarchist prisoners. Their mag provides the best up to date info on the injustices of the justice system. In the past it has included stuff on the american private prison system that is especially interesting in the light of the increasing number of private prisons in Britain.
‘OPEN EYE - no. 2’
£1.50 from AK Distribution, or Open Eye, PO Box 3069, LondonSW9 8LU
A welcome return for this magazine, first published in 1991. Carries a wide range of informative and ‘eye-opening’ articles - Noam Chomsky and Philip Agee (ex - CIA) demolishing the smokescreen of the New World Order, a disturbing account of MoD microwave radiation experimentation, an exploration of Eco-Feminism, drug company moves to subvert AIDS research and maximise profits ... and much more. Well worth getting.
‘FINNS’ ( Free Information Networks )
- Contact: GuiLFIN, PO Box 217, Guildford, Surrey GU2 6FF for list of other FINS, and the indispensable gig/festie/events listing.
Quarterly newsletter of Robins Greenwood Gang - from: George Firsoff, 96 Church Rd, Redfield, Bristol 5. (60p).
Good pagan magazine - contact list, Stonehenge and spiritual news and views, environmental and tribal information, listings, tree planting/knowledge, etc.
50p (£1 for Summer issue), from: John Harrison, Monolith Publications, PO Box 4, Syston, Leicestershire LE7 4RD.
Interesting zine from John Harrison, author of ‘Travellers of the New Age’'. Contains his and his readers’ views on subjects such as Stonehenge, travellers and the ominous backlash against them, Twyford, common land rights, environment and so on. Also, news and contact list. Best quote of no. 12: “Rediscover your instinct and intuition. Go travelling, hitching is free and legal. Become a nomad, a hobo. Go on, go for it.”
Enquiries to : -Zielone Brygady+, Widzial Chemii, Jagellonian University (UJ), Ingardena 3-100, 30-060 Krakow, Poland.
Covers the VITAL, and usually overlooked, subject of how the environment is faring in Eastern Europe, after decades of state capitalist abuse and now as our old friend free market capitalism rears its ugly head. Perhaps a new Third World is in the making here? Green Brigades details the growing resistance to this worrying trend. In English.
‘THE TREE PLANTER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY’
Excellent biannual journal of Reforesting Scotland, with practical advice on growing and planting trees, and well written articles on Scottish forestry and reafforestation worldwide. Lively and radical, and well worth £2.50 per issue. Supporter’s sub. - £10, Low income sub. - £5. From: Reforesting Scotland, Duartbeg, Scourie, Sutherland IV27 4TJ. All you monkeywrenchers out there, check out ‘The Manifesto of the Phantom Tree Planters!’
The leading ‘primitivist’, anti-technology publication – incredibly, they’ve managed to keep their radical spirit alive for 25 years(!), while others have long since fallen by the wayside. Consequently they have a wealth of experience to bring to bear in their analyses of world events and radical responses to them. Sometimes impenetrably jargon-ridden and theoretical, but always stimulating and inspiring. Highly recommended.- subs 8 dollars, single issues 2 dollars, from: 4632 Second Ave, Detroit, Michigan 48201 USA (or from all GOOD bookshops. )
‘THE LANCASTER ANARCHIST BOMBER’
Very amusing ‘mad dog’ anarchozine from: GA, 151b London Rd, Camberly, Surrey GU15 3JY.
‘AM I TOTALLY NORMAL TOO?’
Brilliant, situationist-infuenced depiction of modern society, psychology, life, the universe and everything, from an individual’s perspective. If you’ve ever felt a ‘weirdo’ for experiencing depression and disenchantment with our ‘great society’, while all around you seem oblivious, this is the magazine for you. It emphasises the need to break through the barriers of isolation - that you are not alone, and that the ‘revolution’ begins with the person - liberation is within our grasp at all times. Witty, smart, insightful and well illustrated too. £1.50 from: - Totally normal, c/o BM CRL, London WC 1N 3XX.
Good, free international political news bulletin, available from: Counter Info, Pigeonhole C1, c/o 11 Forth Street, Edinburgh EH1, Scotland - send a donation.
If you find any difficulty getting hold of any of the books in this section you can always try ‘Compendium Bookshop’, in Camden Market, London. They should be able to help you. All publications are welcome for submission to the Resources section of ‘Do or lunch out’ (obviously within reason.) Cross-fertilisation, networking and solidarity are essential for the continuation and growth of an EFFECTIVE movement. The moment when we climb out of our respective ghettoes, forget our sectarian prejudices and link up is when we force the state into retreat - as Oxleas Wood clearly demonstrates. Let’s keep the momentum going, and turn the heat up on the REAL ‘eco – terrorists’!