Gen-X Environmentalism --------------- NEW !!
BELOW DOES NOT REFER TO THE LATEST ALF ACTION IN AUGUST 2002, BUT AN EARLIER INFAMOUS ACTION
Gen-Xers are for the most part so ignorant of basic facts about the world (because they don't read) that when they do apply an environmental ethic, it comes out in the weird tortured, twisted, yet poseur way their fashion, film and other expression comes out. Witness the ALF and the ELF. ALF stands for Animal Liberation Front, and ELF stands for Environmental Liberation Front, names which evoke memories of the Weather Underground of the 60's and seem so out-of-time and even silly. What is the war that their front is attacking? Then there is Julia "Butterfly" Hill, now on the self-promotion circuit and pissing off as many legit environmentalists as supporters she can muster, most of those cynically claiming that Hill "at least attracts media." You may recall Hill as the 2-year tree-sitter who lived in an old-growth giant tree (in America's West Coast forest) an environmental group was trying to save. They had been looking around for someone to sit in the tree (or another like it) and Hill, who had been a drifter, happened on the scene and the movement had their woman. Hill evolved into an environmentalist (who today, years later, can't seem to get her facts straight in interviews) and the well-schooled tree-savers had their media poster girl. The forest preservers had a legit issue, big mega-corporation seeking to cut down precious old growth forest just for the money and good people who wanted to protect nature and save some old trees [fact: 98% of old growth forest in the continental US has been cut down], but look how it all played out ... Hill finally came down and a deal was struck with the loggers and owners of the forest that the tree Hill sat in would be spared along with a patch of other trees around it ... yet some time later a vandal (no doubt some white trash uneducated logger probably high on his cheap-ass beer) cut into the tree all the way around the circumference of the mighty giant - thus ensuring its ultimate death. Glue and other patchwork was done to try to save the tree, but it is doomed according to the tree experts. So the goal of saving that tree failed. The goal of "raising awareness" of the forest threat from mega-corporations is debatable as to its success, because so many of the Gen-X age environmentalists adopt an off-putting dirty hippy look that on the news images they don't come across as very sympathetic. Further, for any newsie who's spent the time to find out about these protesters, it is clear that 60s leftovers have set up essentially training camps and mold their soldiers into the type of compliant tools for their propoganda that will chain their arms together and do other possibly dangerous and not-terribly-effective demonstrations and actions to slow or prevent the logging. Doing the hard work of galvanizing more of their peers to take notice of the issues, informing them about the issues, and involving them in civil disobedience and/or lobbying which could really make an impact seems outside the scope of most Gen-X environmental activist.
... Now, back to ALF and ELF: Let's just review the two most widely-known actions of these groups, respectively, for they speak for themselves about the idiotic and juvenile modus operandi these two domestic terrorist organizations employ -
First, ALF - they broke into a Lynx, or Mink (I can't remember) farm and freed several hundred (perhaps it was thousands) of small furry critters who were destined to be killed so rich bitches could wear their fur in expensive coats. Now these Gen-Xers didn't even bother to research their subject or they would have known that these critters are very territorial. So after the ALF types penetrated their target and set the animals free, most of the little furry critters viciously tore each other apart. I'm sure the stupid Gen-Xers who plotted the caper and carried it out thought it would a moment from a cute Disney film and all the little cuties would scurry off into the wilderness and live happily ever after.
Now, ELF - their most famous success was to burn down a ski lodge in the Colorado mountains. Like their counterparts in the ALF the perpetrators of this act of vandalism were quite clever in their assault, wearing oversize shoes to hide their tracks, and somehow hauling up a huge amount of a sophisticated solid fuel (or a gel) mixture to do the burning. They burned their target to the ground. They stumped the authorities investigating the crime. But, let's look at the ultimate outcome: A brand new facility nearly identical to the one ELF burned now stands where the old one did. Now, let's calculate the environmental cost of all this. The terrorists had to use energy and burned fuel in hatching and carrying out their plan, with the pollution from the burning fouling the atmosphere. And think of all the materials which had to used (creating demand on resources), moved (creating pollution and using energy), and man-hours (human labor being transported, human waste products into the waste stream, etc) of work generated ... there is an ecological footprint left behind from ELF's act of arson, and it amounts to more destruction of resources, more pollution, and, lastly, a negative public impression of their objectives and methods. If they weren't such a danger, the ALF and ELF would be a huge joke.
Why the FBI and other law enforcement types can't find these people is beyond me, I mean think of the profile, nearly all male, probably all white, probably between 17-45, with the core members 21-30, many college grads or with some college, most probably from upper middle class families, most probably from the West Coast of liberal New England states, and most importantly, they are probably videogame and computer whizzes most of them, because they learned all that geeky stuff (like wearing the oversize shoes to hide their real shoe size from forensic investigators) either from these games or on the Internet ...
These hideous, awful Gen-Xers are undermining legitimate grassroots and organized environmental workers' efforts to change the public's behavior and to change legislation. These Xers want it all now, and of course resort to violence ... in this case arson, other destruction of property, and the unintended killing of the very animals they were trying to save ...