Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D. is a professor of horticulture at the University of Washington and gardening educator par excellence. (See also Master Gardener Magazine). Her Horticultural Myths have long been required reading for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest and now that I’ve finally discovered them, I’m milking ’em.
So this is old news to LInda’s long-time readers but not to me, so bear with me. Myth: "Any Action Taken in Defense of the Environment Is Justifiable," which Chalker-Scott admits isn’t really commonly believed but an excuse for her to rant. I guess I’d need to rant, too, if my horticultural laboratory had just been fricking firebombed. Oh, yeah, back in May of 2001 Washington University’s Center for Urban Horticulture was bombed by the Earth Liberation Front (cutely acronymed ELF) because it was hybridizing plants. Lots of Chalker-Scott’s own plant samples and equipment were destroyed. Looks like elves aren’t so cute after all.
We’ve touched on the great genetic modification debate a bit here and we should get used to it because it ain’t going away any time soon. Michael Pollan has made the case for GM foodcrops as the last, best chance to reduce the use of pesticides. Where should we look for the best case against?
Probably not the Earth Liberation Front. Since bombing Chalker-Scott’s research facilities, ELF has continued in that vein and committed over 1,200 acts of vandalism or arson. Its leader, now in jail but due to be released this month, says he’s had a change of heart:
In 2006, while imprisoned for felony conspiracy
and awaiting trial on further charges, Coronado expressed a change in
his personal philosophy inspired by fatherhood. In an open letter, he
wrote, "Don’t ask me how to burn down a building. Ask me how to grow
watermelons or how to explain nature to a child," explaining that he
wants "not [to] be remembered as a man of destruction but a human
believer in peace and love for all."
An Internet search of ecoterrorism produces articles about ELF, the Animal Liberation Front, and Earth First! ELF itself objects to the perjorative term "ecoterrorist" and claims that none of its 1,200 violent acts have resulted in an "animal death, human or nonhuman." Notice that’s "death," not "injury," though splitting hairs with terrorists is certainly pointless, in any event.