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Mike Roselle and 'Tree Spiker'

In his book, Roselle details his work with Earth First! and other direct-action environmental groups.

November 05, 2009|Dean Kuipers

"We came out of the Western public lands conservation movement, so naturally we would have a Western public lands personality," Roselle says. "We had more in common with the loggers and ranchers than we did with the Sierra Club people who had come out from San Francisco or Washington."

Hence his politics -- he doesn't care who's in office, as long as they respect the environment -- and his diet; he calls himself an "opportunivore," meaning he'll eat whatever is available.

He's tried to take office jobs, squeezing into Greenpeace and Ralph Nader's organization, but it never lasts. Today's atmosphere is hostile to the Buckaroos. They're too hard-drinking, too intolerant of administrative process. Too fun.

"A historical perspective is frequently kind to the reputation of radicals," writes Dr. Roderick Nash, author of the seminal work "Wilderness and the American Mind," in the introduction to "Tree Spiker." "The men who dumped a million dollars' worth of tea into the Boston Harbor on the night of December 16, 1773, were reviled as hooligans."

Roselle's book, then, and the new campaign, are attempts to inspire a new generation of direct-action resistance fighters. He says that many of the leaders in the environmental movement cut their teeth on direct-action campaigns and anyone who gets a taste will be changed for life.

"My phone never rings unless an environmental group is desperate," he laughs. "By that time, they are no longer worried about being called extremists. The group will do anything, short of violence, to save whichever remnant of nature they have been fighting for. It is this very desperation that makes them powerful."




What: Fundraiser for Climate Ground Zero, with bands the Drop Dead Beats and Mercurine

Where: Bordello, 901 E. 1st St., L.A.

When: 9 p.m. Nov. 16

Price: $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after 10 p.m.

Contact: (213) 687-3766

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