'This is not a radical notion...'

  • Dave Foreman

    Rod Mondt
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Dave Foreman: "Earth First!, as far as I'm concerned, died in 1988. All the urban anarchist children - the monkey-wrenching types - started the modern Earth First! (after I left). It is not even a descendent of the original. All they wanted was stories and pictures of their direct actions. They didn't want to hear about science.

"There has been no change of thinking (for me). We started doing articles on conservation biology in the Earth First! Journal in 1982.

"We've gotten way beyond theory in the last couple of years. We're blending what I hope is poetry with what I hope is science. Aldo Leopold wrote that the penalty of having an ecological education is knowing that you live alone in a world of wounds. We are trying to heal the wounds.

"All native species should be restored where habitat exists or can be restored. People have been talking about reintroducing grizzlies to the Southwest for 30 years. This is not a radical notion.

"I don't have any romance about cultures in the West. My family came here and helped create the dust bowl. There's nothing romantic about that. There's the myth of the democratic, friendly small town, when we all know that there's nothing more intolerant and repressive. There's a lot of stupidity and unwillingness to try something new.

"But we're here and we need to figure out how to work together. Who wants to create even more hostility in rural areas where people will shoot wolves just out of spite?

"There's an awful lot of support out there, just not among the loudmouths who run those (rural) counties. A 1996 poll in Catron County (N.M.) showed that 52 percent of the public supported wolf reintroduction. But if you have different ideas than the founding fathers, you keep your mouth shut.

"Grazing on federal lands is not a right, it's a privilege. Nonetheless, a lot of people have put their entire lives into it, and you don't just kick them off. Bad ranchers are going to go belly up because of their own stupidity. We've got to get clever if we're going to maintain some of the old traditions in the rural West. (But) that's not our specialty. We are not going to become a group that works on sustainable agriculture.

"I've always been a rural New Mexico redneck. I just happen to like mountain lions and wilderness. I've always been socially more similar to the people I fight than I am to the people I work with. Maybe (the more inclusive strategy) is a way to reconcile the two parts of me."

High Country News Classifieds
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • VERDE RIVER PROJECTS TECHNICIAN
    The Verde River Projects Technician (VRPT) provides technical assistance to Verde River Program staff in implementation of the Verde River Streamflow Monitoring Protocol. This consist...
  • 8 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • SOUTHWEST REWILDING ADVOCATE
    WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....