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“The task of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much personal integrity as possible; it is to dismantle those systems.” —Lierre Keith

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Who We Are

Deep Green Resistance (DGR) is an environmental and social justice organization based on the book, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet. The book identifies civilization, patriarchy, and capitalism as a few of the brutal arrangements of power that need to be dismantled for the Earth to survive. Deep Green Resistance argues for a concerted, focused, and serious resistance movement that can stop the murder of the planet before it’s too late.

DGR is made up of writers, community organizers, janitors, parents, grocery clerks, musicians, feminists, teachers, farmers, dishwashers, artists, caregivers, laborers, and students. We come from varied backgrounds, but we have one goal: to defend this planet that is our only home. Our tactics include the full range of nonviolent direct action techniques, including blockades, protests, and demonstrations. We are also committed to education and cultural work. That work is crucial as the future will demand strong local communities that embrace direct democracy, economies of support, universal human rights, and the rights of nature. As oppressive social and economic systems come down, we will have to build new cultures based on justice and a connection to the land.

We recognize, however, that the life of our planet is in crisis: another two hundred species went extinct today, while across the continent the summer’s heat is approaching hell. The dedicated work of aboveground organizers will not be enough, not in time. Our planet needs a separate but parallel underground organization, dedicated to resisting in ways that fall outside the bounds of legal challenges and civil disobedience.

As aboveground organizers, we don’t have any connection with an underground and we don’t want one. For the safety of all involved, a firewall must be maintained between above and belowground activists, with communication restricted to anonymous communiqués. Support can only be given in the realm of public opinion, but DGR believes in giving that support by arguing for the necessity of a serious, strategic, and coordinated underground.

To have any chance of success, our movement will need loyalty, material support, and most of all, courage. The word “courage” comes from the same root as coeur, the French word for heart. We need all the courage of which the human heart is capable, forged into both weapon and shield to defend what is left of Earth, our only home. And the lifeblood of courage is, of course, love.

We love Earth and we love life.

For Earth to survive, she needs your heart. The songbirds and the salmon need your heart too, no matter how weary, because even a broken heart is still made of love. They need your heart because they are disappearing, slipping into that longest night of extinction, and the resistance is nowhere in sight. We will have to build that resistance from whatever comes to hand: whispers and prayers, history and dreams, from our bravest words and braver actions. It will be hard, there will be a cost, and in too many implacable dawns it will seem impossible. But we will have to do it anyway. So gather your heart and join with every living being.

With love as our First Cause, how can we fail?

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Deep Green Resistance Southwest Coalition is an alliance of DGR action groups—Colorado Plateau, Arizona, Colorado, and Great Basin.  We are working together to protect and restore the water, mountains, basins, deserts, and prairies of southwest North America.  The DGR Southwest Coalition is steadfastly committed to:

Ecological restoration and defense with a large focus on water issues

Great Basin spring.  Photo credit: Protect Goshute Water

Great Basin spring. Photo credit: Protect Goshute Water

This region is among the driest areas in the world. The southwest receives only 5-15 inches of rainfall a year[1], and nearly all climate models predict an increase in both aridity and flooding with global warming[2].  As increasing temperatures force the jet stream further north and more surface water is evaporated, notably in desert reservoirs like Lake Powell where an average 860,000 acre-feet of water—about 8 percent of the Colorado River’s annual flow—is lost every year[3], overall precipitation will decrease even as summer storms paradoxically become more intense.  These unprecedented changes are driving ever more desperate and costly projects, such as the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s planned multi-billion-dollar pipeline project in eastern Nevada’s and western Utah’s arid basin and range country.  This would pump billions of gallons of groundwater to Las Vegas (though far less than is evaporated by Lake Powell), threatening the Goshute Indian tribe, the livelihoods of ranchers, many rare endemic species and the land itself.[4]  Massive quantities of water are also needed for oil and gas drilling and coal mining and burning in this region.  In a desert, water is everything.  Protecting it for all species is an urgent concern.  DGR supports any protective or restorative action for ground and surface water, including the removal of dams and reservoirs by any means necessary.

Active resistance towards any industrial development

The heavy increase in fossil fuel extraction in Colorado and New Mexico with the advent of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology, mining, and clearcut logging are only a few of the impacts to the region.  The industrial and agricultural destruction of land and drawdown of fossil fuels, fossil water, and mineral ore—such as a proposed nuclear power plant and tar sands strip mine in eastern Utah, oil shale mining in western Colorado, copper mining in Arizona—is unsustainable and a danger to our survival.

Rio Tinto (formerly Kennecott) copper mine near Salt Lake City, Utah

Rio Tinto (formerly Kennecott) copper mine near Salt Lake City, Utah

DGR’s mission is to work for a future that can truly last.  Though we’d welcome the additional protection offered by the proposed Greater Canyonlands National Monument,[5] tourism still must be considered industrial development.  It requires fossil energy and other limited resources, contributes to the warming of the atmosphere, and creates a class-divided economy of dependence and near-poverty.  Any way of life predicated on destroying biomes, whether through the massive bites of strip mining or the nibbles of industrial tourism, can’t be called sustainable.  The longer any such system persists the less opportunity humans and non-humans alike will have for a just and living future.

Ivanpah Valley, Mojave Desert, California.  Photo courtesy of Basin and Range Watch.  This place will be destroyed by a solar energy project.

Ivanpah Valley, Mojave Desert, California. Photo courtesy of Basin and Range Watch. This place will be destroyed by a solar energy project.

This also applies to alternative energy sources.  Solar water heating depends on copper mining, which in Arizona threatens to consume whole sky island ecosystems.[6]  In the last decade, the federal government has handed 21 million acres of public land to industrial renewable projects, more than it has even for oil and gas exploration.  Solar farms in the Mojave Desert destroy critical habitat for endangered desert tortoises, and rely on natural gas anyway.[7]  Wind turbines kill birds and bats, destroy important habitat, and rely on nonrenewable materials such as the rare earth element neodymium.  Similarly, dysprosium is used in some electric vehicles’ motors, and both elements (now imported mostly from China, where workers are subjected to outrageous human rights abuses)[8] could soon be in short supply.[9]  There is no future in industrialism, however cleanly it’s packaged.  Any struggle for justice and sustainability must acknowledge this.

Encouraging the creation of land-based communities of resistance throughout the region

PR Springs, in the Book Cliffs of Utah, slated for tar sands strip mining.  Photo copyright by Before It Starts, used with permission.

PR Springs, in the Book Cliffs of Utah, slated for tar sands strip mining. Photo credit: Before It Starts

This culture has forced us into an economy of dependence and servitude based on the destruction of the planet. To live a normal life is to participate in a system of overlapping dominance—men over women, white over brown, rich over poor, industry over nature, civilized over indigenous—that together comprise the system of power called civilization. To maintain this way of life resources must be imported from beyond the borders of our cities, maintaining an illusion of an infinite cornucopia of resources.  But the limits of the biosphere are growing ever more evident. Wind turbines tower over the former homes of desert creatures. Fracking chemicals and mining radiation are in our drinking water.[10] Water tables are dropping in desert cities, while rivers disappear and home foreclosures enrich globalized banks.[11] Any effort toward durable cultures must recognize that industrial civilization renders any community unsafe, and embrace the need to oppose systems of theft and dominance. Transition towns are worthy steps toward the goal of a lasting relationship with place, but more is needed. We must learn to live with the land, to get what we need to survive without destroying it. To re-enter this sacred relationship, we must defend the land and renewed communities, our own and others both.

TwinPeaksOld

Twin Peaks, near Tucson, Arizona.

Twin Peaks after being mined for limestone for concrete.

Twin Peaks after being mined for limestone for concrete.

Developing relationships and standing in solidarity with grassroots indigenous communities throughout the region

Much of the destruction of native habitats is also destructive to indigenous peoples, as with the proposed Las Vegas pipeline, the Arizona senate’s Water Settlement bill SB 2109,[12] and the US/Mexico border fence in Arizona bisecting Tohono O’odham land.[13]  A complete list of violations against the indigenous would be impossibly long here, but a number of others include the Grand Canyon Escalade tourist development, which would impact the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers in northern Arizona, a site sacred to the Zuni, Navajo, and Hopi tribes.[14]  Solar farms and wind turbines in the southern California desert are also harming lands important to desert peoples like the Chemehuevi.  Coal ash pollution is responsible for illness and death among the Moapa Band of Paiutes in southern Nevada.[15]  Indigenous rights are a priority of the DGR Southwest Coalition.  As privileged members of the dominant, settler culture, seeking justice and reparation, we humbly offer our solidarity to indigenous peoples in struggle.

Promoting the need for a strategic, organized underground movement

We are strictly an aboveground movement.  We will not answer questions regarding anyone’s personal desire to be in or form an underground. We do this for the security of all involved with Deep Green Resistance.

Throughout civilization’s history, successful campaigns for justice and reparation have followed a basic strategic principle—aboveground activists work for political changes while underground fighters demolish infrastructure and carry out “asymmetric” guerilla warfare.[16]  This was true of the World War II European resistance communities, in the struggle for Indian independence from Britain (which was not won by nonviolent tactics alone),[17] and in the 1980s Bougainville Islander fight against a copper and gold mine owned by industrial giant Rio Tinto-Zinc and the Papua New Guinean government.[18]  The Bougainville example is particularly relevant, as it represents nearly every aspect of the global situation: a landbase being destroyed for a nonrenewable resource, water being poisoned, humans and other living things with nowhere else to go.  As aboveground activists, we in DGR promote a responsible and strategic underground movement to dismantle the industrial economy.  We believe our circumstances are so dire that such a strategy amounts to self-defense.

Collaborating with other groups in the region committed to similar goals in order to build a broader based resistance movement.

Though our philosophies and strategies may differ, we offer our solidarity to organizations like Rising Tide, Earth First!, Root Force, and Peaceful Uprising.  DGR Southwest Coalition also supports other restorative efforts like permaculture, beaver reintroduction, and appropriate Russian olive and tamarisk removal, as well as social justice and community organizations like the Salt Lake City Brown Berets,[19] the Utah Women’s Group,[20] and the Youth Garden Project.[21]

“Deep Green Resistance is a powerful force for positive change. Resistance is fertile, and it’s a moral imperative. DGR leads the way.”
—Guy McPherson, professor emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

southwestcoalition@deepgreenresistance.org

References

[1] C. Daly, R.P. Neilson, and D.L. Phillips, 1994. “A statistical-topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain,” J. Appl. Meteor., 33(2), 140-158, as displayed in http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/pcpn/westus_precip.gif

[2] Melanie Lenart, “Precipitation Changes,” Southwest Climate Change Network, September 18, 2008,  http://www.southwestclimatechange.org/node/790#references

[3] “Glen Canyon Dam,” Wikipedia,  accessed December 10, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Canyon_Dam

[4] Stephen Dark, “Last Stand: Goshutes battle to save their sacred water,”  Salt Lake City Weekly, May 9, 2012, http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-35-15894-last-stand.html?current_page=all

[5]  Brett Prettyman, “Outdoor retailers asking Obama for national monument,” The Salt Lake Tribune, November 12, 2012, http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55262577-78/monument-canyonlands-national-outdoor.html.csp

[6] Erica Gies, “A Clash Over Mining and Water,” The New York Times, March 21, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/business/energy-environment/a-clash-over-mining-and-water.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

[7] Julie Cart, “Sacrificing the Desert for Solar Energy,”  Standard Examiner, February 10, 2012, http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/02/09/sacrificing-desert-solar-energy

Edward Helmore, “Solar Power Firms in Mojave Desert Feel Glare of Tribes and Environmentalists,” The Guardian, March 11, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/11/solar-power-mojave-desert-tribes

[8] SE Smith, “Dirty, dangerous and destructive—the elements of a technology boom,” The Guardian, September 26, 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/26/rare-earth-metals-technology-boom

[9] David L. Chandler, “Clean Energy Could Lead to Scarce Materials,” Phys.org, April 9, 2012, http://phys.org/news/2012-04-energy-scarce-materials.html  Thanks to Deep Green Resistance News Service  for passing on these articles

[10] “Addressing Uranium Contamination in the Navajo Nation,” US Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 12, 2012, http://www.epa.gov/region9/superfund/navajo-nation/contaminated-water.html

[11] Marian Wang, “Who’s Who in the Foreclosure Scandal: A Primer on the Players,” ProPublica, October 18, 2010, http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/whos-who-in-the-foreclosure-scandal-a-primer-on-the-players

[12] Ed Becenti, “Senate Bill 2109 Seeks to Extinguish Navajo and Hopi Water Rights,”  Native News Network, April 4, 2012, http://www.nativenewsnetwork.com/senate-bill-2109-seeks-to-extinguish-navajo-and-hopi-water-rights.html

[13] Tyche Hendricks, “For the Tohono O’odham, the U.S.-Mexican border is a recent and difficult development,” San Francisco Chronicle, December 3, 2005, http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/ON-THE-BORDER-For-the-Tohono-O-odham-the-2558506.php#ixzz2EndVLSw7http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/ON-THE-BORDER-For-the-Tohono-O-odham-the-2558506.php

[14] John Ahni Schertow, “Navajo, Hopi, Zuni: Save the Confluence!” Intercontinental Cry, November 24, 2012, http://intercontinentalcry.org/navajo-hopi-zuni-save-the-confluence/ Thanks to Root Force  for re-reporting

[15] Marc Dadigan, “Small Nevada tribe sues BLM over coal ash landfill,” High Country News, December 8, 2010, http://www.hcn.org/greenjustice/blog/sierra-club-and-a-small-tribe-sue-the-blm-to-stop-the-expansion-of-a-coal-ash-landfill

[16] McBay, Keith, and Jensen, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet, 345-390.

[17] “Revolutionary Movement for Indian Independence,” Wikipedia, accessed February 29, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_movement_for_Indian_independence

[18] “The Coconut Revolution,” FPCN Intercultural, You Tube, accessed March 4, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDpvxQe_Jhg&feature=gv

“Bougainville – Our Island Our Fight,” Wikipedia, accessed March 4, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bougainville_%E2%80%93_Our_Island_Our_Fight

[19] http://www.myspace.com/brownberetslc

[20] http://occupyslc.org/event/214

[21] http://www.youthgardenproject.org/

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