I have a confession to make. I have a soft spot for the fire-starting anarchists in the Earth Liberation Front. Shocking how a beef-eating, leather-coat-sporting chap like myself can giggle approvingly at ELF antics, but hey, revolution makes for strange bedfellows.

Mira Levitan

Some raise their fists in support, some cry on about ecoterrorism and some need an explanation. The ELF is a loose network of militant environmentalists that has been known to set fire to under-construction high-income houses and vandalize and incinerate SUVs whose gas consumption is rapidly destroying our environment as well as funding the Saudi terrorist regime, a loyal ally of the Bush-Cheney junta.

Most recently, the ELF claimed responsibility for incendiaries found at the Ice Mountain bottled water plant in Mecosta County. The Ice Mountain Plant has come under controversy from environmentalists because of its alleged illegal and detrimental ecological practices.

Now I can’t argue that members of the ELF didn’t break the law, and if caught, shouldn’t be jailed. But are the actions of the ELF an appropriate reaction to what is systematically being done to our nation’s landscape by the marriage of our civil authority and mega-corporations?

Right now, pollution from SUVs is killing us faster than al-Qaida. In the summer months, orange alerts for toxic smog are more prevalent than orange alerts for terrorism, and the impact of pollution is mounting daily. Acclaimed journalist Ted Rall reported that in neighboring Ohio, “2002 was the most toxic summer on record in 14 years.”

It’s coming to the point that we all have to climb up to the smoking section of Rendezvous Caf� just to get a breath of fresh air.

And it’s not just tree huggers who want clean air. Rall also reported that a “Los Angeles Times survey found that, even among conservative Republicans, two out of three people believe that the environment is more important than property rights, corporate profits or even creating jobs.”

Mainstream environmentalism doesn’t work. Greenpeace and the Public Interest Research Group do a great job asking folks for spare change, but industrial polluters still get their way, with the government turning a blind eye to the devastating affects.

The big auto companies will go on to produce the gas guzzlers because that’s what people think they need to become better people. And people will encourage sprawl for the same reasons. All this goes on with the government’s blessings, through subsidies on suburban development and the failure of the state to put some kind of regulation on these automotive killers.

What I hope the ELF can do is make SUV drivers feel as if they have been vilified, as if their precious Ford Explorer is in itself a criminal waiting to be executed by the vigilante squad because of its lethal effect on the rest of us. Ditto for the developers; their actions not only kill the landscape, but their conformist dreams are killing our nation’s middle class.

Perhaps it’s unfair that SUV owners would have to live in fear of the ELF. Well, when I owned a car, I had to live in fear because I was constantly flanked by these tanks that could kill me with one soft collision, because I couldn’t afford an SUV’s high cost. SUV drivers don’t like the taste of fear? Neither do I.

It’s near impossible to reverse the killing of our earth through legal means when the polluters monopolize the system. For example, Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje’s Greenbelt proposal to preserve a modest stretch of land from the wolves of suburban development is being slammed by the patently biased Ann Arbor News, leaving out half the story and leading voters to incorrectly believe that Hieftje’s environmentalism is somehow illegal.

Liberal media my foot.

Environmentalists don’t have a voice in the media and the government couldn’t care less about what these environmental terrorists – by that I mean industrialists who terrorize the environment – are doing to this country. Throughout history, when the side of justice is marginalized, it takes an extremist to get the point across.

So to all you kids with your fists full of daddy’s dollars and the SUV he bestowed upon you, you have a choice to do the moral thing and give up that monster truck in order to make a better world for the rest of us. The burden is on you, the upper-middle class.

But if you choose not to and find your prized possession ablaze you’d have every right to charge the ELF culprits, but your inaction to do your part for the rest of us would be an enormous disservice to your fellow man.

Paul can be reached at aspaul@umich.edu.


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