Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 016: CLEAR CUT

JARED BLUMENFELD: Welcome to Podship Earth. This is your host, Jared Blumenfeld. From the campaign to end slavery to the suffragette movement to the struggles of the civil rights era, Americans have marched, protested, and stood up for ideals greater than our narrow self-interest. These values define what it means to be part of an active democracy. Few of us will ever face arrests for an act of environmental civil disobedience, and I tell myself that there must be more effective avenues, but I'm also nervous about going to jail about what it would do to my chances of getting a job in the future. Are we getting so timid and bureaucratic in our defensive of nature that we no longer represent a genuine force for change? Today, we gained the perspective of someone who's been on the front lines of the protest movement to protect nature. Randy Hayes was born in West Virginia and grew up in Florida. Randy helped create the Earth First movement in the early 1980’s, and in 1985, he founded Rainforest Action Network, a grassroots organization that forced Burger King, Home Depot, Mitsubishi, and countless other multinationals to stop clear cutting ancient forests. He's now the executive director of Foundation Earth, an organization rethinking how we protect the planet's life support systems. For Randy, this requires a new human order including economic models for deep, long term sustainability and environmental health. This week, Randy was in town to receive an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco State University. Randy started his career making a film about the negative impacts colon uranium mining were having on Native American reservations in the four corners, the area where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. That film “Four Corners and National Sacrifice Area” won the Academy Award in 1983 for Best Student Documentary. So, Randy, after spending 10 years making this film in the desert, you got to go to Hollywood?     

 

RANDY HAYES: We drove in my hippie van out of the southwest where we were filming and distributing the film, back to the people that we filmed originally - Indian chiefs and governors and Mormon ranchers. We went into Hollywood and they wined and dined us, and we were presented with the award. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: A lot has changed in the four corners. A lot hasn't changed.

 

RANDY HAYES: Quite a lot has not changed, you know, and the remoteness of the area is its greatest asset, keeping its integrity. From 1973 to 83 was my stint where I was essentially a secretary and chauffeur to the Hopi elders.  The Hopi Indian tribe being the oldest tribe in North America and that that was my real graduate school training in deep, long term thinking and sustainability, geologic time and such things of consequence. But I had completed the film and the distribution of the film and so I thought it was time for another step and being a person who likes extreme, I went from the desert to the rain forest. But it was essentially the same story. It was a remote piece of geography with indigenous peoples whose worldview is quite different than the dominant industrial civilization with insensitive governments and overbearing corporations. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: You're ready to fight.

 

RANDY HAYES: Yeah.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: For the earth.

 

RANDY HAYES: Yeah. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Where's that gone from the movement? The environmental movement is become kind of a little tepid.

 

RANDY HAYES: Not a little tepid, hideously tepid. I don't know where the courage has waned off to, but it strikes me that a lot of it is a lack of courage. I mean if you go back into the David Brower days and the early days of the Sierra Club when he was the first executive director, most of the main characters weren't professional environmental activists. You know, they were nature lovers who hiked and climbed and also made a living in their respective businesses. When they started paying salaries and there became professional staff, you know, it had a downside to it that most people are unaware of. And that's where kind of bureaucrats want to protect their jobs and they lose the sense of the real mission. So, they lose that sense of drive, you know, that sort of “go for the throat.” Let's get the job done.  

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: You represented a kind of blend of going for the juggler, but you also were pretty practical and said the juggler of the industries that are destroying the planet are their bottom line. 

 

RANDY HAYES: In the late 1980s that what used to be called a corporate buyer boycott got shifted to what now gets called a marketing campaign. And that really came from Mike Roselle, who is one of my sort of inspirations along the way. One of the founders of Earth First. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Earth First was founded in 1980 by Dave Foreman and Mike Roselle. Earth First is not an organization. There are no members. It's a belief in biocentrism. It doesn't accept a human centered world view of nature for people's sake. Instead, they believe that life exists for its own sake, that industrial civilization and its philosophy are anti-earth anti-women and anti-liberty. Earth First’s structure is non-hierarchical and they reject highly paid professional staff and formal leadership. Edward Abbey's book, The Monkey Wrench Gang,was an inspiration to the founding of Earth First. The fictional book focuses on a plan to destroy the Glen Canyon Dam. 

 

RANDY HAYES: We wanted to interview Edward Abbey, who wrote The Monkey Wrench Gangbecause he's such an icon in the southwest. Edward Abbey lived outside of Tucson, so we figured we'd have to drive my hippie van down to Tucson and do the interview, but in fact Edward Abbey called up and he said, you know, instead of Tucson, meet us near the Glen Canyon Dam and plan to stay for a couple of days. Something is going to happen. Well, we knew nothing more than that, but hey, it's Edward Abbey, you know, we were in worship of this man. And so that's what we did. We rolled into the camp. It turned out to be the birth of the Earth First movement. They had made, you know, the dam is, is something like 400 feet, 600 feet high. And they'd made like a 300-foot long black plastic stripe that was all rolled up to symbolize a crack in the dam. And we were there for a couple of days and at one point, Dave Foreman and Mike Roselle and rednecks for wilderness jumped the barbwire fence, ran out onto the middle of the dam, tied off each end, dumped this roll over the side, and we made this cult little film. And that strike just kept on rolling and rolling and unfurling down hundreds of feet. It was just a magical moment that symbolized free the river, you know, crack the dam, get rid of the dams, free the river, free the Colorado. And we filmed it from the visitor center up there where Edward Abbey jumped in the back of this beat up old, wooden pick-up truck and delivered like a Gettysburg address for nature. Right? Which I sound recorded. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Randy, it just so happens that we have a copy of the rare archival recording you made of Edward Abbey laying out Earth First agenda. Here it is. 

 

EDWARD ABBEY: More river diversion projects, more strip mining of our mountains, clear cutting of our forests, the misuse of water, the abuse of the land, all for the sake of short term profit. All to keep the industrial military empire going and growing until it finally reaches the point where it must self-destruct, destroy itself. What is the use of building our great city if you haven't got a tolerable planet to build it on? Earth first. How can we create a civilization fit for the dignity of free men and women if the globe itself is ravaged and polluted, undefiled, and insulted. The domination of nature leads to the domination of human beings. The empire is striking back so we must continue to strike back at the empire by whatever means available to us, win or lose. It's a matter of honor. Oppose, resist, subvert, delay until the empire itself begins to fall apart. And until that happens, enjoy. Enjoy the great American west, what's left of it. Climb those mountains, run those rivers, hike those canyons, explore the forests and share the beauty of wilderness, friendship, love, and the common effort to save what we love. Do this and we'll be strong and bold and happy. We will outlive our enemies. And as my good old grandmother used to say, we'll live to piss on their graves. 

 

RANDY HAYES: I met all the founders of Earth First. Mike Roselle was the one who said, look if we really want to get these corporations, we can be a bunch of hippies demonstrating on the logging roads and blockading it and bearing ourselves up to our neck or chaining ourselves to the trees, you know, all of that stuff. But, he said, let's go to their biggest customers and Home Depot buys from all the logging companies, right? They're the number one customer for all these logging companies. So, if we could get Home Depot, the biggest retailer of wood on planet Earth at that time… 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: What year was this, Randy? 

 

RANDY HAYES: This is around ’88 I think. If we could get them to send letters out to all of their suppliers, meaning the giant logging companies, saying we won't buy your wood unless it's FSC Certified, Forest Stewardship Council certified, low-impact logging, you know, less destructive logging, but not good logging. At any rate, that was the market campaign strategy from Mike Roselle.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Brilliant, really brilliant. Then there was the counter movement of the wise-use, sustainable-use movement that basically just as the climate deniers are today, they basically were saying Earth First, they’re a bunch of terrorists, they should be labeled as terrorists.  They’re not activists, these aren't environmentalists, they don't care about the earth. They're trying to destroy corporate profits. And they were remarkably successful at kind of spinning that narrative. 

 

RANDY HAYES: It was called the Wise-Use Movement. And the term wise-use came from the David Brower days. There was the wise-use of natural resources which meant multiple use, which is different than the Wilderness, leave it alone. Right? And so, the corporate lackeys formed what they called the Wise-Use Movement to counter this Earth First, no defense of mother, no compromising Mother Earth. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: The environmental movement has moved so far to the center in large part because there's no one at the edge saying, we are part of nature and nature is part of us. That's become kind of like what? How could you even think that? No, no, no, we're very separate and these people that believe in the Earth are really kind of odd, they’re wacky. We need to marginalize them. 

 

RANDY HAYES: Yeah. The Earth First movement were deep ecologists, right? And their inspiration came from several characters, but primarily from nature itself. But Arnie Ness was the Norwegian philosopher who wrote and coined the term Deep Ecology versus Shallow Ecology. And so, I think a lot of what we see now that gets called Environmentalism is really Shallow Ecology versus Deep Ecology.  And you know, we have to just admit the human species is an anthropocentric creature. Anthropocentric meaning, you know, humans are the center of the earth and the reason for everything. Well, that just turns out not to be true. It's not a reality. “We are but a strand in the web of life,” as John Muir said. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Where do we go from here as a movement? 

 

RANDY HAYES: I think nature is going to dictate that and we're already seeing it with extreme weather events. You know, when you have so many category five hurricanes and you have the kind of droughts and floods that are affecting large numbers of people… we still have short term attention spans, so people have already forgotten about Katrina and Sandy, but what's really going on with the biosphere of the planet earth is that it's getting spastic. That's what an extreme weather event is. It's a spastic blip in one part of the biosphere.  The biosphere is made up of about nine interrelating cycles, you know, or life support cycles and systems like the hydrologic cycle and the nitrogen cycle, they're heavily damaged.     There's a methodology now called the Planetary Boundaries out of Stockholm that's able to put a lot of science and data to just how damaged these systems are. But you know, nitrogen cycle is something most people don't know much about. The nitrogen is fundamental to the process of photosynthesis, so you're not going to have life on Earth without nitrogen. On the other hand, if you have way too much nitrogen, you begin to kill the oceans. With all that artificial nitrogen and all the industrial agriculture, now that run off into the watershed goes into creeks that go into rivers, that go into oceans. There are now over 600 dead zones in the ocean right off of major rivers. The water can't support the oxygen that the fish need to breathe because they do breathe oxygen underwater. And that's a dead zone. Well, you know that's the bottom of the food chain. You can muck around with the top of the food chain and we don't want to see the bald eagle go or the polar bears, but it's way worse when you muck around with the bottom of the food chain and that's what we're doing. That's how we're throwing off the great cycles of Mother Nature and at some point, one hopes will generate the political will to make the kind of paradigm shift changes necessary. A great societal u- turn to ecological common sense and human dignity that might save the day. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Do you believe that is going to happen Randy?

 

RANDY HAYES: Not at all. Optimism and hope need to be distinguished. Optimism is based on some amount of data where you look at the data and say, well, I see rough times ahead, but I see that we're going to make it through because of the data. Hope is just sort of blind hope, you know, I don't see any reason to be bright and positive about it. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: There's nothing pointing in the direction of mass mobilization of political will. 

 

RANDY HAYES: No, not even the big environmental groups are really telling us how bad it is.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And why do you think that is? Why do we not hear how bad it is? 

 

RANDY HAYES: Well, a lot of them are fundraising machines, and they don't want to depress the public.  They think it'll turn off their donors. You have to build hope along the way through victories and build the movement. But, most of them are not really movement oriented. They aren't really people's movements. You don't see sort of something that's going to be kind of people's uprising. You know, I think there's some legitimate things, positive things to say about the Paris Agreement and it's not getting the job done. There have been three or four great gatherings of the planet around environmental issues. 1972 in Stockholm was the first UN conference, 1992 in Rio was the second one. I went to that one and got arrested protesting HW Bush, the president of the US in his reelection bid.         

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: How many times have you been arrested, Randy? 

 

RANDY HAYES: Well, about 19, to the best I can recall. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: For a lot of people that would be scary, you know, especially now I think, young people would think, wow, arrested, that's going to be on my record for life. And I mean you don't hear about people getting arrested for things they believe in anymore. 

 

RANDY HAYES: No, and I think 911 has something to do with that. You asked earlier why does the current environmental movement feel a bit gutless? And I think the 911 incident caused people to self-censor, overly so. I mean, there was a reason to be cautious for a while, but there was no reason to give up the deeper commitment to these greater issues.  And life on planet earth for multiple generations and eons into the future, it's hard to find a greater issue than that, frankly speaking. So, times have shifted, and we've lost the guts and gumption from a lot of these organizations. Sometimes we needed the element of surprise to climb a building and hang a banner against, you know, Burger King or Home Depot or Mitsubishi or the World Bank or the whatever. And I recommend to everybody out there, and particularly with young people, you know, put your body on the line in a nonviolent way, right? Do it responsibly but understand the consequences. And this is a life and death issue. We're talking about life and death of not just future generations of us humans, but all life on earth. And the rest of the web of life has just as much right to evolve in its own direction as we do. So, we may be the human species self-absorbed in ourselves much of the time, but we need to get outside of that bubble and understand that there is no human species without a healthy web of life. And it is deeply damaged, and we don't have much time. We only have time for big steps in the right direction. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: People now I think feel like if they sign an online petition, that's pretty much the same as putting your body on the line.

 

RANDY HAYES: People don't sign an online petition really. They click a button, you know, clicktivism, and it just relatively worthless if not in fact damaging, in terms of getting the job done. So, I recommend, cut that shit out, quit doing it, do something more meaningful, you know, do something real. Work with your neighbors and your friends and march down the street to some outfit that's doing something nefarious and just tell them, you want them to change and when they don't, go back a second time and a third time.  We called it the three by three strategy, you know, go at least three times and ask them. And then if they still don't, particularly say it at college universities, go to the administration, and say, look, we want 100 percent renewable energy, and we want it fast. We'll give you six months. Get it done. We got to save this planet.  Divest your college endowment and we want that done in nine months or less. That's all you get. You know, the same time it takes to birth a human. Quit pissing around, get the shit done.  And ask them. Bee polite the first time. Be less polite the second time, be less polite the third time and the fourth time do nonviolent civil disobedience. Shutdown that administration building on the college campus. Don't let them get away with this shit. They're killing your planet. They're killing your future careers. You might graduate with a degree like 8,000 people did yesterday at ATT park in San Francisco where the Giants play.  And they're all hopeful, spirited people, who want to get out there. But I told them in my speech yesterday, there's no social justice and there's no vibrant economy on a nearly dead planet and that's what's going on. So, get off your butt quick, quit clicking the computer, and get out there and raise some hell.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, how did Rainforest Action Network begin? 

 

RANDY HAYES: I rented a desk at Friends of the Earth. I was a wannabe environmental activist, and I proposed at a board meeting at Friends of the Earth that they start a Save the Rain Forest department and hire me to run it, right? And this is after my 10 years in the desert with Hopi Indians and the Four Corners film. Then one of the top board members said, who is this guy, Randy Hayes, and what's he ever going to do to save the rain forest? Let's just not do this. And then Mike Roselle wanders into the photocopy room. So, I said, well, screw it Mike, let's just start our own organization. And he said, well what do you want to call it? And the desk next to me was another rented desk from Pesticide Action Network run by this wonderful woman named Monica. And I said, well, how about Rainforest Action Network? We started the organization that night and we finished off the six pack of beer. And the next day we said, well, let's go over and visit Herb Gunther over at Public Media Center and ask his advice. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Herb Gunther’s Public Media Center was an advertising agency for nonprofits that specialized in full page, eco- information attack ads in the New York Times.  Herb Gunther is amazing.

 

RANDY HAYES:And one of the first things he said, he says, look, there's no serious campaign without a media strategy and a media campaign.  And he said, you should do three things: you should do an inexpensive national media campaign with a lot of donated placement of magazine ads and such. And he said, we'll do the ads for you. We'll do full-page, camera-ready mock ups and you just get them out. Whether you get them into some hippie vegetarian newsletter that goes out in the neighborhood or whether you get them in Time magazine. And we did all of the above. We just worked that really hard. And we began to get serious attention across the country. And he said, and then you've got to launch, you know, a grassroots campaign.  Pick a target and attack. Burger King was our first campaign. Burger King got most of their beef from Central American Rain Forests and that was the primary cause of the destruction of rain forests, places like Costa Rica, right? And then third thing he says, you got to build a membership so you're not dependent on foundation money because the tail sometimes wags the dog. And these foundation people have all their money invested in corporations. And he says and don't go too far, don't go to anti-capitalist. Our direct mail campaign was a packet called, Five Reasons to Boycott Burger King.And it had a coupon, a little postcard to send a Burger King. So, it was an activist tool that was real. And back then, when they started getting hundreds and then thousands of these postcards, it got their attention. It only took us 18 months to get Burger King on to bended knee. And then, you know, they canceled a 35 million dollar beef contract with Costa Rica. And that sent shock waves through the fast food industry.  And they knew they couldn't get away with this shit any longer. We didn't have a lot of money back then. We didn't have a political power and we didn't have financial power, so we organized people power.             

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Is Trump a distraction? Are we being distracted from the real issues of the day which are planetary collapse by this buffoon. 

 

RANDY HAYES: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because just remember, things were very bad pre-Trump. You know, we were in dangerous waters pre-Trump and certain things are worse now. Or we're losing another set of years the way we did under eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of HW Bush, and the Democrats, eight years of Clinton were no bastions of great paradigm shifts, but they were a lesser of two evils in terms of the political parties ecologically speaking. And a distinct difference. I disagree with Ralph Nader that, you know, is twiddle dee, twiddle dum. That there was no distinction. I think there is a distinction. On the other hand, it's absolutely true that no political party is really telling the ecological truth about what needs to be done to reshape the global economy, to get our industrial foot off the throat of natural systems. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, you've spent time thinking about what is required for an ecological U-turn. Tell us some of the ingredients from how we think about capitalism differently to how we think about how we work together as a species.

 

RANDY HAYES: I don't believe that that capitalism is a good long-term bet for an economic system for planet earth. On the other hand, there's no wind in the sail of any coherent alternatives right now. And so, I think we have no other choice but to try to ecologize the rules of capitalism as best we can, simply to buy time. You know, one of the reasons it's fundamentally un-reformable is that undercuts democracy. You know, it will find the loopholes. It'll buy off the politicians, it'll take over the political parties, it'll form its own political parties. There's just an anti-democratic nature to big business, right? But a true cost economy is one that internalizes the externalities. For those who know that economic speak, what that all really means in simple terms, is that the pollution costs to the earth and to the future, are not internalized in the price you pay for goods and services. And so, the point is not really to internalize those pollution externalities. It's to get rid of the damn things, right? But a true cost economy can begin to do that. A lot of the most heinous things should just simply be banned outright. We banned the production of our use of DDT in the United States. Other things can be regulated. Problem is, is that the anti-environmental right wing has as demonized regulation. We need small government and deregulation. You know, that comes out of a strategy they've been employing for, you know, 20 or 30 years. So, a true cost economy and a circular economy in the sense of zero waste, closed loop, sustainable production and consumption economy. That's what we need, right? So, we got to reduce virtually all forms of waste. All the minerals and metals need to be reused ad nauseum, as long as we can. Remember the distinction between nonrenewable resources and renewable resources. You know, you can have baskets and clothing out of fiber- that's a renewable resource and you can replenish that in a way you can't replenish, you know, gold and silver mined out of the body of the earth. And things like old growth forests are nonrenewable resources. They are not renewable resources. You know, a tree farm, a monoculture tree farm is not a forest, you know, it's a crop. It starts with, with ecologizing the economy, the rules of the economy, a true cost economy. A second thing, and it's obvious to most people, is 100 percent renewable energy. Well, that's kind of a no brainer. We got that one figured out, but the third point is around a 100 percent ecological farming. We have got to get rid of industrial agriculture. It's a nightmare. You know, we're really screwing things up with industrial agriculture and so we can't go from, you know, six to seven to eight to nine to 10 to 11 to 12 billion people. It's not okay. We need humanistically to get back to 3 billion and then assess how much have we damaged the planet? What's the carrying capacity of the planet for 3 billion people? At what lifestyle? Do we need to go smaller or is that okay? We won't know that until we get back down to that. So low impact lifestyles are really important to the process and it starts with, you know, how do you get the billion top over consumers down to a sustainable level of lifestyle? You can't do it through voluntary simplicity because that's just too boutique and not at scale. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: If we can't do it through voluntary simplicity, like how do we get people to realize that the plastic shit they bought at Walmart three weeks later is inevitably going to end up in the landfill?

 

RANDY HAYES:  Yeah. Well a responsible government doesn't allow that stuff to be produced in the first place. You know, that's not okay, but we don't have responsible government. We don't really have democracy. We don't have a two-party system. We have two aspects of a one-party system. You got the Democratic side of the big business party and the Republican side of the big business party. But we've got the big business party running this country in so many ways. So, we don't have zero democracy, but we sure as shit don't have a healthy democracy. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, one of the last meetings we went to together, Randy, was a planning exercise that you're involved in full kind of post-apocalyptic planning, like when the shit hits the fan. Tell us a little bit about why you're engaged in that, and what it tells us about where we're at. 

 

RANDY HAYES: There's a lot of pressure to sort of be positive and candy coat the situation, but you know, the truth is, if you look at the last 40 years of activism, so many people have said all of the common-sense things that needed to be said about renewable energy and low impact lifestyles and such. From Donella Meadows and the limits to growth to people like David Brower and Lester Brown, but the common sense and reason are insufficient tools to save the planet. And yet what's the strategy of most environmental groups and social change groups around the world?  Well, just explain common sense and reason again. Well it isn't getting the job done, you know, and particularly around the kind of heinous levels of profit that are being made in these polluting processes. And now the outsourcing and the globalization of manufacturing in places where they don't even have the sufficient regulations or just a lot less policing of the regulations. We haven't made the ecological u-turn in the right direction. So, the only reasonable assumption is well, at some point the systems will collapse. You know, planetary systems are nonlinear systems. We don't know quite when. We can't predict any kind of years. But I'm not very positive about the next seven years and certainly not the next 30 years. And, for sure, the next 70 years, you know, are going to be major turmoil. So that's the sort of time horizon I put to it. And say we do collapse? Well, what does collapse mean? Is it sort of a singular, punctuated apocalyptic thing of all of the satellite systems around the planet and all the grids and all the delivery of industrial food, agricultural foods to the planet? Well, it could be that, but probably actually won't be. It'll probably be stairsteps, just like the 2008 economic crisis where we dropped down. People lost a third of their savings on average, you know, and now we've sort of leveled off and we feel okay again. And again, kind of out of sight, out of mind, our short-term thinking. We feel like we're okay but we're not okay, you know? We're going to have another 2008 economic crisis and that's not even the worst of things really. Because it's when the bio-geophysical systems of the planet really stop performing to support life. You know and most commonly people think, oh well two degrees centigrade average temperature rise and climate change or runaway climate change going even higher than that. I mean we don't know how these things are going to play out.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, the exercise that you are involved in is, irrespective of how they unfold, there will likely be a number of people on the planet that survive? 

 

RANDY HAYES: Absolutely. We have to just sort of assume so or hope so. I think it'll happen in sort of continental regions and it'll be shell shocking well beyond, you know, a category five Katrina in New Orleans. You know, it could be Africa and droughts and massive famines where 10 million, 100 million people die. I mean, I'm sorry to say so, but that's what I truly think is quite possible. Where people are still after various forms of collapse, we certainly don't want to rebuild based on the same system that got us into this problem in the first place. We’d want to rebuild in fundamentally different ways. Well, what does that mean? You know, it certainly to me means the same thing that I just threw out as the major agenda. You know, a true cost economy that it doesn't allow you to externalize pollution situations. It means 100 percent renewable energy. It means ecological farming and not industrial agriculture. It means low impact lifestyles. It means a lot of bioregional, local self-reliance, but not isolation. We really need to highlight compassion and being compassionate to our neighbors, whether that's in the next valley over or across the oceans. We need serious compassion training going on hand in hand with this because otherwise, you know, you slip into the kind of fascists scenarios that you see in a lot of the sort of millennial Hollywood films these days. 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah, a lot of dystopian narratives out there. When you think about, you'll next 10 years of activism, what will it involve? 

 

RANDY HAYES: Well, I want to do 100 million dollar public relations campaign and I want to do it in six regions of the world. If we want to stop the sixth great extinction because remember, there's no human life without a healthy web of life and we are radically diminishing the web of life. So, it's one of the great issues that's being forgotten in this sort of mania around things like Trump. The Nature Needs half campaign. It's a campaign for all of us. If you protect half of the flora fauna of a certain ecological zone, like a grassland in northern Africa or a Central American tropical rain forest, you can protect 90 percent of the species there. If you project 50 percent of an ecosystem type, you can save 90 percent of the species types of flora and fauna, and that's really important. I'd spend the money in six regions of the world equally. I'd give in each region, I’d give half of their chunk away to local groups to do things. And this would be around public relations. Not really other aspects of social change, but just getting this - what feels like a radical message- out there because again, the ecological truth tellers are not getting this kind of a message out there. It's not coming from any of the major political parties. It certainly won't come from any of the transnational corporate executives. It's not even coming from any elected officials that I'm aware of. It doesn't come from the major social change groups of the planet whether they're human rights groups are environmental groups, and so we've got to get that message out. We've got to alert the planet and the people of the planet that there's no time left except big steps in the right direction.  And that starts with a clarion call to say what those steps are.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Given all the information that you have, and I think you know, you portray it very accurately. How does it make you feel personally? 

 

RANDY HAYES: Well, I don't think anger is an inappropriate response to the death of the planet. So I get really pissed off. You know, this really is life and death stuff. You know, I've had friends, people like Chico Mendez in the Amazon, who are now dead. And I've had a lot of other friends with life threats against their lives and you know, the statistics of the number of murdered activists are just growing our around the planet and that's just not okay. And then there's the extinction of species. Man, that is unacceptable. Whether that's some unknown flying insect or the megafauna species of tigers and polar bears, this is stuff pisses me off. We also, I think, need to be pointedly nonviolent and do civil disobedience from that perspective. Tough love when we need to exhibit tough love, so if that means blockading a meeting where the captains of industry are trying to promote businesses usual like in Davos at the Economic Summit, well then shut it down. Shut the town down for two years, you know, not just the conference itself.  You know, say, look, don't ever have a conference here. It's not okay. These people are killing the planet. 

 

JARED BLUMENFLED: I want to thank Randy for being the coolest dude I know. Every time I get to hang out with Randy, I feel like it's exactly what I've been missing. Randy says what so many feel and know to be true: the planet is in bad shape and we need to implement high impact strategies immediately. It often feels like we're in a lowest common denominator negotiation in which consumerism always wins and if we're lucky, the environment gets damaged just a little less quickly. Earth First and Rainforest Action Network bring a completely different energy to the table. It's about harnessing people power rather than leveraging corporate influence. The term eco-terrorism has been intentionally misapplied to shut down any kind of nonviolent civil disobedience that rocks the boat. We need to claim back that space for peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations against those who pollute the planet. What I took away from today's show is that there's nothing more important than life on this planet, and that we can't lose sight of this during our everyday work. As Randy said, there's no social justice, no venture capital, no Uber on a dead planet. This is a personal issue for every one of us and whether it's getting your campus or pension to divest from fossil fuels or fighting for clean water in your community, there comes a time when each of us needs to stand up and be counted. Next week, I'll be at the Putney school in Vermont to give the commencement speech at their graduation. I had the privilege and fun of attending this extraordinary farm school. Putney is where I started to learn about community, curiosity, courage, and most importantly, it's where I met Alex with whom I've been adventuring for 23 years. The speech will be recorded for your listening pleasure and aired on Episode 17. Finally, I'm so excited to share with you that this week Podship Earth won the 2018 Mixcloud award for Best Online Talk Show in the Science Technology category. We were up against some very tough competition including Neil Degrasse Tyson's Star Talk Radio. I want to thank each of you so much for voting for Podship Earth. Mixcloud is a crowd source online music streaming service with 3 million active users including Wired Magazine, Harvard Business School, Ted Talks, and former president Barack Obama. Thank you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey. From the entire Podship Earth crew, sound engineer, Rob Spate, producer Nancy Ferranti, executive producer David Kahn, and me, Jared Blumenfeld, have an action filled week.