Guest Columnist #79 - Cascadia

By xtreasonx

    People fall in love every day.  It’s a common enough occurrence that most people reading this have felt it at some point, and most of us, too, have had our hearts broken.  Last year, I spent a few months playing in a band.  I loved the band but I was in love with a person.  The band ended, the person stayed, and we went on to fall in love again, this time with a place.
    My partner and I rode freight trains across the country after my band broke up last year, to go to Oregon and try to help save some of the last remnants of old growth forests in the U.S.  About 5 percent of the native forests in this country remain, and those are threatened with logging, new roads, and other forms of human encroachment.  We landed in Eugene, which was familiar territory to us by this point, and promptly connected with the folks from Cascadia Forest Defenders, the local direct action ecodefense organization.  We went to live in the woods, to put our theories into practice, and our bodies in the way of this culture’s idea of progress. We stayed in the forest for 2 months, cooking over an open fire, building platforms (treesits) 100 feet in the air, and forging some of the best friendships of our lives.  We fell in love with our new home, and when the time came to defend it, we did our best. 
    On a warm morning in July, we awoke to the sound of trucks on the nearby logging road, followed by the sounds of truck doors closing and men approaching.  In 3 days they cut down 10 acres, felling 400 year old cedars with the same ease and indifference as a child toppling wooden blocks.  The wreckage they left was heartbreaking.  Though a good part of the timber sale (a term I hate to use) was saved by our meager efforts and those of our friends, the forest they did fell is dead, and no amount of concessions or speech-making will change that.  Nothing will ever bring those trees, or the mycorrhizal fungi that live in symbiosis with them, back to life.  Due to factors too complicated to explain here, this area will never be old growth again, at least not on any timeline that humans can understand.  The home of countless animals, including this one, is gone forever.  Due to legislation pushed forward by the Bush regime, this sort of short-sighted destruction is now going to be easier than ever for the timber industry.  With the elimination of the Survey and Manage program from the Northwest Forest Plan, the Forest Service no longer has to check sites for the presence of endangered or sensitive endemic species before selling the right to log the land to timber companies.  The land we’re fighting to save is owned by the federal government, and taxpayers pay for the logging roads, also footing the bill for tax-breaks and subsidies for the timber corporations that are leaving this country barren of wild forests.  Taxpayers also pay to arrest us when we get in the way of this madness.    
    We came back to Eugene this fall, having left not long after units 1 and 2 had been logged at Straw Devil (the name of the timber sale).  We returned, intent upon saving the rest of this place, and we will move back to the forest soon, having spent the winter organizing for the coming logging season.  Our friends are with us, and new ones are now arriving with the same goals:  to use whatever means are at our disposal to take back our lives and play a positive role in the web of life.  If we are going to win, in saving the rest of this forest, and if We (meaning you, too) are too win, in reclaiming the lives that enemy forces would rob us of, then we are going to need help, all of us.  If you are interested in our struggle, or want to tell us about your own, please contact us.  We need any help and encouragement we can get.  Send money, climbing gear, camping equipment, love letters, or yourself, to Cascadia Forest Defenders, p.o. box 11122, Eugene, Oregon, 97401.

Allegiance to the web of life means treason to civilization.  Direct action gets the goods.