An Inside Review of Earth First! 40 Years of Direct Action

by Jacob Barrett

[Note: Help FTP get this special edition of the EF! Journal in to prisons across the country. Donate here and note that it is for funds to cover cost of EF!Js to prisoners.]

The Earth First! Journal’s 40th Anniversary edition is not just documentation of forty years of no compromise environmental direct action, it is the collective voice of the hundreds of thousands of known and unknown people who have dedicated their lives—and in some cases given their lives—for the betterment of our planet for the last four decades. How many collectives can say that they have accomplished that?

Avid reader on the frontlines

I first learned of EF! over ten years ago while incarcerated in the backwater human storage containers called prisons in Florida. Many of the names that appeared in this anniversary issue were also the same souls who supported me in through my struggles in the darkest moments of my life and remained my confidants as I traveled back to Oregon where EF! moved its nest. I am forever impressed by everyone who was there, not just for me, but to bring the wild to the inside of the prison through their words and deeds. They truly understood that all things are interconnected.

Like all things in nature, change is ever present. There is a period of birth, growth, death, and then rebirth again. The Earth First! Journal’s 40th Anniversary edition illustrates how EF! was a seed planted 40 years ago and has sprouted to grow into the tree of life it is today, with its many branches and leaves.

Each turn of the page in this anniversary issue is a growth ring documenting uncompromising biocentrism. Each article, photo, poem, piece of art, are a living memory of what has worked, what has failed, and what has been… but more importantly, what can be.

Artwork by Jacob Barrett

This anniversary issue of Earth First! leaves you with the feeling that Earth First! is more than a movement, more than a journal on the ethos of biocentrism, but a family album and record of how we are all interconnected, and how our direct action has a ripple effect on our lives like the splash of a frog in the cool murky waters of wetlands.

Jacob Barrett is a jailhouse lawyer, artist, activist, writer and current prisoner of the Oregon Department of Corrections. Learn a little about him here, here, here and here.