September 1, 1980
Memo To: the leading intellectual and literary lights of EARTH FIRST
From: Dave Foreman
Re: EARTH FIRST Statement of Principles and Membership Brochure
Hey, buckaroos … enclosed is a very rough draft of the above. Read it, add, delete, edit, throw it out and write your own. Rough as it is, I figure putting something down on paper will be the only way to get you all thinking about it. Feel free to criticize everything: concept, approach, grammar, spelling, whatever.
Earth First Statement of Principles
- Wilderness has a right to exist for its own sake
- All life forms, from virus to the great whales, have an inherent and equal right to existence
- Mankind is no greater than any other form of life and has no legitimate claim to dominate Earth
- Humankind, through overpopulation, anthropocentrism, industrialization, excessive energy consumption/resource extraction, state capitalism, father-figure hierarchies, imperialism, pollution, and natural area destruction, threatens the basis life processes of EARTH
- All human decisions should consider Earth first, humankind second
- The only true test of morality is whether an action, individual, social, or political, benefits Earth
- Humankind will be happier, healthier, more secure, and more comfortable in a society that recognizes humankind’s true biological nature and which is in dynamic harmony with the total biosphere
- Political compromise has no place in the defense of Earth
- Earth is Goddess and the proper object of human worship
At last, a radical wilderness preservation group that is not afraid to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done to save Mother Earth …
In spite of rosy rhetoric and pollyanish [sic] promises from self-serving politicians and the captains of industry that our environmental problems are being solved, America’s and humankind’s assault on Mother Earth continues unabated — indeed at an increasingly feverish pace as our junkie technological order seeks quick fixes. Despite this ravishing of all that is natural — particularly the wilderness of the American West — national conservation groups have become more and more lethargic and moderate, seduced by promises of establishment respectability. Conservation groups have been especially co-opted by the Carter Presidency: for the one sweet plum of Alaskan National Monuments, they have failed to sue over the illegal RARE II process — the greatest single act of wilderness destruction in American History — and have declined to speak out boldly against the gutless weakening of the Bureau of Land Management wilderness review and the Department of Interior’s half-hearted battle against the Sagebrush Ripoff.
Earth is being raped — and those who claim to speak for Her are afraid to open their mouths!
Now is truly the time for a radical wilderness preservation group that will speak for Earth first. EARTH FIRST is that organization and we will not be deterred by dreams of establishment respectability, good old boy intimacy with the Washington power structure, redneck threats, personal commitment to a plastic energy-addicted lifestyle, or fat salaries in speaking for the Earth, Her wilderness, and Her life force. EARTH FIRST will use the rhetoric, the tactics, and the passion of the Sixties to work for the preservation of Earth as the Galactic Preserve She should be. The juggernaut of modern corporate technology must be stopped!
Who Is EARTH FIRST?
EARTH FIRST has been formed by several long-time conservation leaders who have come to realize the need for radical action. They include Howie Wolke, former Friends of the Earth rep for Wyoming; Bart Koehler, ex-Wyoming Wilderness Society rep; Susan Morgan, formerly education coordinator for TWS; Mike Comola, former President of the Montana Wilderness Association; Sandy Marvinney, past editor of the Wilderness Report; Randall Gloege, ex-Montana rep for FOE; and Dave Foreman, formerly Washington Issues Coordinator for TWS. EARTH FIRST is a national preservation group and hopes to become international in scope. While we are committed to working with other radical groups (anti-nuclear, Native American rights, economic reform, etc.) our base is wilderness preservation and we will focus on that.
The heart of the EARTH FIRST program is a system of some 35 large wilderness preserves (1 to 10 million acres) representing all American eco-systems from the southern swamps to eastern deciduous forest, prairie grassland, desert, and western mountains where the Earth will be untouched. Existing developments will be phased out in these areas and extirpated wildlife (grizzlies, wolves, free-roaming bison, etc.) will be reintroduced. EARTH FIRST will take strong action on related issues such as mining, energy development, off road vehicles, logging, and the MX missile. We will actively campaign for the _destruction_ of dams like Glen Canyon, Hetch Hetchy, Fort Peck, Tellico, and those in Hells Canyon. We do not wish to merely preserve what’s left, we want to _re-create_ wilderness. We consider all socio-political tools to be at our disposal including education, media, legislation, litigation, demonstrations …
A key element in the EARTH FIRST program is humor. “Ridicule is man’s most potent enemy” says Saul Alinsky. Nor do we wish to take ourselves too seriously. Laughter is the only way to maintain personal sanity in a world gone mad. “I’ve always been crazy, but it’s kept me from going insane,” sings Waylon Jennings.
Myth And Ritual
EARTH FIRST believes that the Judeo-Christian attitude towards Earth is at the root of our ecological crisis and that we must return to more sublime, perceptive, ancient attitudes toward the Earth Goddess as held by the Cro-Magnons, Druids, and Native Americans. We hope to instill reverence for Earth in American life and to help create new mythology and ritual for the worship of Earth as well as act as a link between conservationists and neo-pagans.
EARTH FIRST is directed nationally by a diverse group of eco-radicals. This council of thirteen is known as the Circle. EARTH FIRST is non-hierarchical and without officers. Membership in EARTH FIRST is open to anyone generally subscribing to the EARTH FIRST Statement of Principles. Membership dues are $10 a year but may be waived for reasons of low income. Members receive a monthly newsletter entitled EARTH FIRST.
Earth First Membership Application
Yes, I subscribe in general to the EARTH FIRST Statement of Principles and wish to join. I understand that my membership in EARTH FIRST may be rejected at any time without stated reason by the Circle without refund of my membership dues.