Direct action in support of ones goals usually comes about
as a result of exhausting all strictly legal ways of addressing an issue of general
concern to a group of like minded people. I the case of "legal" actions considered
unacceptable by environmental groups, direct action is a common response. Typically,
environmental assaults at the local level are carried out by developers or owners
obtaining zoning changes or conditional use permits which fly in the face of what are
considered acceptable uses by activists. After all viable and affordable attempts
made to address environmental concerns have failed, some organizations/groups resort to
non-violent direct action to block developers and/or owners from going ahead with a
Affinity Groups are the lowest level of organization
normally encountered in direct action civil disobedience. These are loosely knit groups who share a common goal and carry
out actions in support of that goal but are not directly under the control of a
parent organization that can legally be held liable for the civil disobedience.
Some environmental organization not only engage in civil disobedience but
actually commit criminal acts in support of their goals.
an example of an organization operating beyond the fringes of civil actions. While ELF
is calling for "a better world", they destroy property
and wreaks havok on some businesses. ELF also
claims to be against Urban Sprawl but their actions
sound more spoiled children. ELF has been carrying out acts for a number of
and has failed to persuade anyone of the merits of their actions.
If all else fails to stop what is considered to be a
threat to the environmental well being of the township, some form of direct action
may be needed. This could range from picketing, sit ins at the township office or
even physically blocking access to a site. The intention of these low level
activities is to draw media and public attention to the failure of the process or
the existing laws to protect the township environment against self serving destructive
elements. We are totally opposed to any actions which inflict physical harm to
persons or existing property. We are no opposed to actions which inflict financial
harm on those who would destroy natures gifts and the quality of life they support.
For those of you who might contemplate civil disobedience
in an attempt to stop an environmental assault, we have included some
information on such actions, training for, planning of and what to expect
as a result.