by Rima Thompson
Can the earth survive being saved?
One such organization on the crusade to save the planet is the Earth Liberation Front, but its actions have left other environmental groups aghast and eager to differentiate themselves from ELF.
Last month, ELF, which is an underground international movement aimed at protecting the natural environment, orchestrated an attack at a Walmart construction site in Martinsville, Indiana.
The attack resulted in substantial damage to the future building site and to construction machinery.
In August, the group orchestrated several strikes against auto dealerships selling sports utility vehicles in Southern California to call attention to the damage these vehicles do to the environment.
In two of the incidents, vehicles and buildings were spraypainted with phrases such as “ELF,” “killer,” and “We (heart) pollution.”
A third attack at a West Covina General Motors dealership featured “American Wastefullness” painted on cars, with some vehicles and an onsite warehouse were set on fire.
“The ELF realizes the profit motive caused and reinforced by the capitalist society is destroying all life on this planet. The only way, at this point in time, to stop that continued destruction of life is to, by any means necessary, take the profit motive out of killing,” said a written statement from ELF on their official Web site.
In doing so they want to educate the public on atrocities committed against the earth and will inflict economic damage on anyone profiting from the destruction of the natural environment.
Because they engage in illegal activity, members of ELF are anonymous.
In accordance with their guidelines, they take all precautions to avoid harming the environment or any of its inhabitants.
ELF has no formal leader but instead is organized through various independent and anonymous cells.
These cells operate under a unifying ideology “that the destruction of life is not a mere random occurrence but a deliberate act of violence performed by those entities concerned with nothing more than pursuing extreme economic gain at any cost.”
Unfortunately, ELF’s actions to protect the environment have also caused controversy for other environmentalist organizations, who are being lumped with them because of their similar causes.
One such group, the Sierra Club and its many chapters have publicly denounced ELF’s actions.
“The Sierra Club strongly condemns all acts of violence in the name of the environment,” said Carl Pope, Sierra Club executive director. “While nonviolent civil disobedience has a distinguished place in American history, the Sierra Club uses only lawful means to protect the environment. We can respect the decision of those who, by undertaking acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, put themselves at risk, but peaceful disobedience and violence are vastly different acts. No matter what the motivation, the Sierra Club does not condone any acts of violence.”
Pope said that ELF is aware of the Club’s stance in opposition to their actions, and that they have used numerous quotes made by the Sierra Club in their articles.
These acts of violence threaten the lives of many involved, such as firemen, and should not be excused, said a Sierra Club spokesman.
While much of ELF’s history is unknown, it is said to have started in 1992 to follow in the steps of Earth First!, an environmental movement protecting the wilderness.
ELF has tackled other issues such as: genetic engineering, the use of slave labor by corporations, urban sprawl and national habitat and ecosystem deconstruction.