Today is the 24th anniversary of the day a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of Earth First! organizer Judi Bari’s car as she drove through Oakland as part of a roadshow for Redwood Summer – the national campaign to save the ancient redwoods.
Note: In 1991 my good friend and fellow Big River Earth First!er, Steve Taylor, and I took a trip from St. Louis to California, Oregon and back. We visited many movement people and interviewed them.
I was going to wait until next year to re-publish this interview with Judi that took place at her home in Willits, CA – originally played on various midwest community radio stations. Next year would have been a quarter of a century after the bombing. I decided to publish it this year because I see so much devastation and destruction of Earth’s life support systems and all of its inhabitants occurring right now, and I hope this helps urge people to organize and take action. To be defiant. To not ask, but to demand. To not march in circles. To take real direct action. To really do something for the Earth.
Please also see posts we ran on the 20th anniversary of the bombing below.
BTW, the beginning of this interview starts with Judi singing an a cappella rendition of “Lullaby and Good NIght.” This version of the song is Judi Bari’s great sense of political humor.
Orin Langelle, Board Chair & Strategic Consultant for Global Justice Ecology Project
Orin Langelle interviews Judi Bari in 1991:
Judi Bari, center, walks on a Pacific Ocean beach in California two years after a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of her car in May 1990. Although the bomb was intended to kill her, and did severely maim her, the FBI immediately arrested her while in the hospital. They never looked for the real bomber. Bari maintained she was targeted due to her success in bringing environmentalists and workers together to stop the logging of the ancient redwoods in northern California. This intimidated the timber industry, especially when she was one of the lead organizers of Redwood Summer. Judi died of breast cancer in 1996, but her estate sued the FBI over their handling of the bombing, resulting in a $4 million settlement. Photo: Langelle/GJEP
From the 20th commemoration of her bombing: On 24 May 2010, Climate Connections was dedicated to Judi Bari on the 20th anniversary of her bombing on May 24, 1990.
The first posting “The Bombing of Judi Bari—Reflections Twenty Years After (this one’s for you, Judi)” is from Orin Langelle, then Co-Director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project and the second post, “JUDI BARI LIVES” is from Karen Pickett. Karen’s was first run in Oread Daily from an article for the Earth First! Journal: ” Remembering Judi Bari – 20 Years Ago an Explosion Filled the Sky and Changed Earth First!” Karen is also a board member of Global Justice Ecology Project.
Danny Billie, of the Independent Traditional Seminole nation, discusses Florida Power and Light’s plan to build one of the nation’s largest fossil fuel power plants adjacent to the Big Cypress Seminole reservation and right in the middle of critical panther habitat.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Just a day after two Asheville, NC residents were arrested for interrupting a talk at the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference, hundreds of demonstrators descended upon the conference center, throwing the biggest industry event of the year into utter chaos.
The demonstration – the world’s largest ever against GE trees – lasted four hours, and included speakers, singing, chanting and street theatre.
As part of a international movement against extreme energy extraction, demonstrators included members of Earth First!, Tar Sands Blockade, Mountain Justice and anti-mountaintop removal activists. Local farmers, grandparents, children and students also participated.
GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann addresses a crowd of over 200 on the dangers of GE trees. Photo: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
The demonstration is a major milestone in the international Campaign to STOP GE Trees. The USDA is currently considering an application from GE tree company ArborGen to deregulate cold-tolerant GE eucalyptus in seven states in the southeastern US. Industry and activists alike recognize that massive public opposition is a major threat, influencing the USDA’s decision as well as the willingness of investors to sink cash into a highly controversial sector. Continue reading →
Protestors sent a clear message to the GE tree industry and its investors – expect resistance. Photo: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
Asheville, NC (US)-Hundreds of demonstrators marched on an international forest biotechnology industry conference today, demanding a ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.
The protest, the largest yet against GE trees, occurred one day after two Asheville residents were arrested while disrupting a presentation titled “Engineering Trees for the Biorefinery.”
Following the arrests and the threat of protest today, the conference went on high alert. Police maintained a presence inside and outside the hotel conference center all day, participant badges were scrutinized, conference doors were locked during sessions, and hotel access restricted.
Two of the major conference sponsors, FuturaGene and ArborGen, are moving forward with plans to commercially release GE eucalyptus trees in Brazil and the US. Continue reading →
There is still a month to go before activists hit the streets of Asheville, NC to protest the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference, but the industry is already showing signs of retreat. Apparently fearing that protestors will follow them wherever they go, the conference organizers recently cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they don’t want a mob of Earth First!ers to find out where they are!
The 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference is an international gathering of scientists, forestry corporations and university researchers with a major focus on genetically engineered tree production. GE trees pose an unprecedented threat to native forests. Timber and utility corporations want to plant millions of acres genetically engineered trees throughout the South to burn for electricity, as well as to continue supplying the unsustainable lumber and paper industries. These trees would be engineered to produce their own pesticides, grow straighter and faster, tolerate manufactured pesticides, produce sterile seeds, and reduce lignin content (this is what makes the wood in a tree strong enough to stand up). If these traits escaped into native tree populations, the effects would be devastating and irreversible.
In another setback for the GE tree industry, the USDA just announced the results of their public comment period on the proposed approval of commercial plantings of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While over 30,000 people spoke out against the commercial planting of these Frankentrees, an underwhelming, four, yeah that’s right four, people spoke out in favor of planting GE trees. Though this public comment period shows that there is next to no support for GE trees, it is no time to let our guard down considering that government agencies regularly ignore the public opinion. Continue reading →
Big River Earth First! and “mud people” demonstrate against Monsanto’s corporate sponsorship of Earth Day 1990. The person standing behind the over-sized check was questioned by a reporter from a NBC TV affiliate in St. Louis. The mud person interviewed replied in “mud language” which was translated into English by one of the protesters. The segment aired that evening as the lead story on the local NBC TV news. Monsanto did not comment.