Grist Interview with Will Potter: Environmentalists Under Attack

by Will Potter on July 29, 2011

in Government Priorities,News is featuring a discussion I had with Robert Jensen, who is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Citizens of the Empire (among many books). I think the interview turned out really well, and is particularly relevant in the wake of Tim DeChristopher’s sentencing. I hope you’ll check it out. You can read the full interview on Grist, and here’s an excerpt:

Q. Whatever one thinks of the specific analyses or tactics of groups such as the Earth Liberation Front, the accelerating pace of ecological collapse suggests their call to consciousness about the larger living world is more important than ever. After your investigation into the Green Scare, what is your assessment of the likelihood the culture will listen?

A. As the scale of the ecological crisis we are facing becomes more apparent, and as the backlash against social movements that are challenging our self-destructive culture intensifies, it is difficult to not feel dark, to feel helpless. I certainly feel that way quite often — not just because of the content of my own work, but from the near-blackout in the mainstream press. Unfortunately, I do not see any of this changing anytime soon. As the ecological crisis accelerates, the accompanying crackdown by corporations and people in power will intensify as well. The people who have the most to lose will cling desperately to that culture as it is threatened, and this includes not just CEOs but much of the overwhelmingly privileged United States and so-called First World.

After all of that, this will probably sound quite odd, but in the face of this I would argue that there are reasons to be inspired. Through my work, and in particular through book and media tours, I have been fortunate to meet people all over the country from diverse backgrounds. What has been striking to me is that, even if people are unfamiliar with the Green Scare or the targeting of political activists, they are rarely surprised. People may not know the specifics, but they know that corporations have more power than people. They know the scope of ecological destruction is increasing. They know we have no choice but to change but that people in power will not change willingly. I’m not convinced that the question at hand is whether or not the culture will listen, because I think that so many people already feel this. I think the question is: Will we find the courage to be heard?

Previous post:

Next post: