Hi everyone; this morning at 8:00am, July 14/09, I proceeded to the Denny Island aerodrome, located on Denny Island in the midst of the BC Central Coast archipelago, aka “The Great Bear Rainforest” where I broke open the welded steel cover and dismantled and destroyed a large seismic shot which was slated for blasting in the early morning hours of July 17th, 2009. I took this action alone, without the participation or knowledge of any other person, association or organization. I accept full and sole responsibilty for my action and look forward to the consequences.
And so reads the on line confession of Ingmar Lee, a self professed Earth Warrior operating in Canada. In disarming this explosive device, Lee carried out an act of unmitigated bravery, as well as an act of utter stupidity.
Lee is part of a movement that is trying to stop geologists from mapping granite rock formations along the North American Pacific coast. This research project is aimed at understanding the way material cycles through the earth’s crust and into the mantle as continents drift around, form, and are subducted. The explosive charge Lee dismantled was one of 15 charges that were to be fired off in order to obtain seismic data on a remote Canadian island in British Columbia.
Why is a Save The Earth Warrior trying to stop a relatively esoteric (but I’m sure very interesting and important) geological survey? Because he and his fellow earth warriors are, it would seem, convinced that this is actually a secret oil exploration project. It is, I suppose, possible for geologists to secretly explore for oil, but they say they are not and the type of research being done here and the nature of the local geology very strongly argues against it. One does not generally find oil in granite batholiths.
Now here’s the thing. I don’t generally agree with directly interfering with scientific research. One can object to, lobby against, and criticize scientific research, but wading in and messing up equipment is not OK.
But, if you do want to interfere with scientific research, there are three things that you must do.
1) Be highly focused so that all you are doing is meeting a narrowly defined objective. No collateral damage or causalities;
2) Recognize and do not shy away from the fact that you are carrying out an attack, and an act of civil disobedience, and possibly a felony or two (or three or four). If your objective is to physically harm or kill scientists, then that is OK only if you are willing to be shot on sight. If your objective is to damage equipment be prepared to spend prison time when you get caught, and people generally do get caught. Remember that among those patriots and rebels that you so admire, that have inspired you to carry out such acts, several were hanged for their efforts and went to the gallows quite willingly. So, for convenience, please carry a small identification card with your neck size printed on it in clear block letters, so they can more easily find a noose that fits.
3) Have a rational argument. This is actually the first, not last point. Do not go and ‘rescue’ lab animals by leaving them outside in the elements to die, as happened here at the University of Minnesota a few years back. Do not destroy in process research materials that you have randomly encountered after sneaking past the rent-a-cop at your local college that you do not understand. It is ethically required that you know nearly as much as the person doing the work you are about to destroy does, because if you don’t know that much, how can you honestly be the judge and jury determining the validity of the research? And do not be an utter moron like Ingmar Lee, interfering with a seismic study of granite batholiths because you think the geologists are secretly looking for oil.
I said in the beginning that this was an act of unmitigated bravery on Lee’s part. I was kidding. He snuck up to some unguarded equipment and cut the detonation wire. What the geologists obviously need to do now is to replace their usual detonation system with one of those that are not so easy to disarm, where you have to know exactly what wire to cut, or else… Then let Lee go in with a fifty-fifty chance of “saving the earth” vs. “blowing his ass to bits.”
Source: Dalton, Rex. 2009. Eco-warrior trashes seismic experiment. Nature News Published online 23 July 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.715. Not Open Access so you can’t see it.