10 Stunning Things You Should Know About the Environmental Movement -- 'A Fierce Green Fire' Film Inspires
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8. The Coming of Environmental Terrorism?
With global resource wars already well underway, enviroterrorism seems like it's going to become, as the popular slang goes, a thing. But it has proven polarizing on either side of the environmental movement. On one side you have insurgents like Greenpeace influential and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, who as A Fierce Green Fire graphically illustrates isn't shy about getting physical for his environmental beliefs. This philosophy is corroborated somewhat in the documentary by Greenpeace co-founder Bob "Mind Bombs" Hunter, who notes that "we're insane" for killing sperm whales for their lubricant, which we use to make better inter-continental ballistic missiles to kill each other. But despite the fact that Watson, currently fighting extradition notices from Costa Rica and Japan, has been battling whalers worldwide, Kitchell seems confident that the enviroterrorism label won't stick to him.
"Not a chance," he said. "Every time they go after Paul Watson, he just gets bigger."
But Kitchell stops short of endorsing more radical environmentalists, whose records speak for themselves.
"I had to stop using terms like radical ecology or deep ecology, in favor of alternative ecology movements," he added. "Radicals means Earth First, and much as I love and respect them, look how much they accomplished."
9. Chico Mendes, Amazonian Canary
One moving act of A Fierce Green Fire is dedicated to this indefatigable grassroots environmentalist, whose leadership of Brazilian rubbertappers seeking to save the Amazon rainforest from rapacious development cost him his life. It is one of the documentary's most bittersweet moments, given that the Amazon -- which comprises over half of Earth's remaining rainforests and stores 10 billion tons of carbon, more than annual global emissions from fossil fuel combustion -- is in danger of losing its total cover by 2100. Be afraid, very afraid.
"Thomas Lovejoy, who has studied the Amazon and how it unravels the most closely and the longest, talks about global forestry compacts and deals, and regulating carbon and nitrogen. He's saying, it’s a new day. And who knows? It might even make us get along! There have been and will be parts of the Amazon that are lost. The rain machine will stutter and maybe halt. But a third of the Amazon is under formal protection. That’s impressive and amazing, better than we’ve done in America."
"So it will be a world of islands, biologically and otherwise," Kitchell concluded. "Find a good place to take refuge, go local, consume less, dematerialize and cyberneticize. And restore the land."
10. Global Warming Is Truly Bipartisan
One thing above all becomes crystal clear while watching A Fierce Green Fire: When it comes to climate change, it is both Democrats and Republicans who have screwed us all. The documentary's final act on the greatest environmental threat facing any generation of American history has nothing good to say about either party, from Nixon to Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Bush to Obama.
Which is why it's more important than ever for citizens of any political persuasion to take up the charge and force the American government to get it in gear before global warming turns into a full-fledged apocalypse rendering the Earth uninhabitable. And the Keystone XL pipeline -- whose cargo means game over for climate stability, as NASA atmospheric physicist James Hansen so incisively argued last year -- is the flashpoint for that fight, which needs to heat up, not cool down.
"It is a protest against the Obama administration, meant very deliberately to put pressure on them to do the right thing," Kitchell said. "And it seems to be working. I don’t hear much talk of an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy now. But part of the problem with the environmental movement is it doesn’t have the power to swing elections and instill fear and discipline in politicians. You could say that of most mass movements, though."