Arthur Topham

July 5th, 1997 


Behind every war there's always the clash of opposing ideologies and the ongoing skirmishes in the forestlands of B.C. between government/industry and the environmentalists are no exception.


As a 'war' correspondent so to speak and a partisan fighter/protester I've been involved in the environmental movement for thirty years. During that time I've had ample opportunity to observe battle lines and game plans and strategies and to assess the impacts occurring as a result of all the media coverage; yet, throughout these three decades of duelling and discord I have still to witness anything like a balanced and comprehensive analysis of the primal causes underlying this drama.


All too often the Establishment media tends to portray the environmentalists in a negative light much like they do any of the other liberation movements around the globe.  This tactic, as powerful and effective as it is, ultimately must fail because any resistance movement is only successful in proportion to the amount of support it gains from the general populace and in the case of the environmentalists the public is not about to forsake them and hand over sole responsibility to governments and corporations.  I'll touch on this later in the article but for now let's  consider some of the other questions that surround this issue. 


Why is this struggle occurring now?  Why is it being played out on an international scale by such a diversity of people?  What are the underlying motives for both sides?  What, if anything, can be said about the outcome?  Are we to expect these incidents to be ongoing?  Is a peaceful conclusion a reasonable proposition given all the factors involved? If not, will we see an escalation of the conflict as the two sides involved become increasingly polarized? 


These are the questions that require attention in the hope that those who are torn between the pragmatic priorities of jobs and day-to-day survival and those who's vision goes beyond immediate wants and needs might better understand the major forces working themselves out here. 


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