Fen Valley Earth First! formed in and around the Kalamazoo River Valley in late 2014. We seek to work with and support other groups resisting industrial civilization’s capacity to risk, exploit, and destroy Mother Earth in the toxic mid-west.
In the southern lower peninsula, of a state referred to as Michigan, exists biologically unique wetlands known as prairie fens. Prairie fens occur where cold, calcareous, groundwater-fed springs reach the surface. The flow rate and volume of groundwater through a fen strongly influence vegetation patterning; thus, the community typically contains multiple, distinct zones of vegetation, some of which contain prairie grasses and forbs.
The map exhibits the range of these wetlands within the borders of the once young colony- Michigan
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources states that “prior to European settlement prairie fens were undoubtably more numerous than they are today. Agriculture and urban development in Michigan have disrupted ground water flow and destroyed wetlands, including prairie fens.”
Development persists. In a sea of concrete, rust, and superfund sites- we seek sanctuary in many small oases that dot our landscape. The lush forests, rivers, and wetlands continue to be ravaged by an escalating pattern of profitable “oopsies” and “now we knows”. These fragmented areas are facing a rapid encroachment of urban/suburban development, as wells as the monocultural Roundup Ready expansion of two massive GMO seed corn operations. The implementation of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing threatens forests down south and the active expansion up north continues despite the copious amount of fresh water this industry exploits. The Great Lakes are lined with outdated nuclear power plants and bisected with oil and natural gas pipelines– it’s only a matter of time before the beds and shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron resemble the Kalamazoo River in 2010.
No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth
The very future of life on Earth is in danger. Human activities—from hunting to habitat destruction—have already driven countless species to extinction, and the process is only accelerating. The destruction of the Earth and its sustainable indigenous cultures has led to tragedy in every corner of the globe.
Meanwhile, scientists have confirmed what indigenous cultures have taught for thousands of years: all forms of life are vitally connected. Removing even a single strand from the web of life produces a widening ripple of catastrophe. On a more spiritual level, Earth First!ers understand that we can never be the healthy humans that we were meant to be in a world without wilderness, clean air and the howling of wolves under the moon.
It is not enough to ask politicians and corporations to destroy less wilderness. We need to preserve it all, to recreate lost habitats and reintroduce extirpated predators. We need to stop and reverse the poisoning of our air, water and soil, as well as the modification of life’s genetic code. It is not enough to oppose the construction of new dams and developments. It is time to free our shackled rivers and restore the land.
Earth First! formed in 1979, in response to an increasingly corporate, compromising and ineffective environmental community. It is not an organization, but a movement. There are no “members” of EF!, only Earth First!ers. We believe in using all of the tools in the toolbox, from grassroots and legal organizing to civil disobedience and monkeywrenching. When the law won’t fix the problem, we put our bodies on the line to stop the destruction. Earth First!’s direct-action approach draws attention to the crises facing the natural world, and it saves lives.
Guided by a philosophy of deep ecology, Earth First! does not accept a human-centered worldview of “nature for people’s sake.” Instead, we believe that life exists for its own sake, that industrial civilization and its philosophy are anti-Earth, anti-woman and anti-liberty. Our structure is non-hierarchical, and we reject highly paid “professional staff” and formal leadership.
To put it simply, the Earth must come first.