2008 conference
Peak Forests
Old Growth
Forest Biofuels
Helicopter Herbicides
Selective Forestry


Stop ALL Aerial Sprays in Oregon

In the 1970s, some Oregon timber companies started spraying powerful herbicides from the air over their clearcuts. Rural downwinders led efforts to ban this abuse and stopped the sprays over federal forests in the 1980s, but were unsuccessful at ending this on corporate timberlands.

Now, Oregon’s environmental groups are split between the downwinders who want an end to the poisoning and urban groups who merely seek better regulation. In 2015, Beyond Toxics pushed a bill in Salem to ask the State to determine acceptable buffers even though helicopter sprays drift for miles and mass spraying of forests poisons wildlife. A better bill, not championed by the establishment environmentalists, would have banned aerial sprays. Neither bill became law.

update, Fall 2017: Freedom From Aerial Herbicides Alliance submitted signatures for a County wide ballot initiative to prohibit aerial spraying. It is expected to be on the May 2017 ballot.


Ballot measures for buffers, not a ban

"Thus, confronted by powerful corporate opposition, the environmental movement has split in two. The older national environmental organizations, in their Washington offices, have taken the soft path of negotiation, compromising with the corporations about how much pollution is acceptable ... The people living in the polluted communities have taken the hard path of confrontation ... The national organizations deal with the environmental disease by negotiating about the kind of 'Band-Aid' to apply to it; the community groups deal with the disease by trying to prevent it."
­ Barry Commoner, "Making Peace With the Planet"

Oregon Wild and Mountain Rose Herbs staff were chief petitioners for a statewide ballot initiative to limit some sprays of poison over corporate clearcuts. This effort is marketed as a ban but would have loopholes large enough to fly helicopters through. Their initiative would still permit sprays over streams where salmon have been wiped out, where cities do not get their drinking water, and where the state determines schools and homes are a “safe” distance away.



Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) graphic claiming
"300 foot aerial buffer" protects salmon

NCAP says 300 foot buffers for helicopter herbicides protects salmon (and people)


Lane County initiative for a ban

A Lane County initiative sponsored by Freedom from Aerial Herbicides Alliance would ban aerial sprays, not regulate them -

Downwinders do not consent to being sprayed. Allowing the state to designate supposedly acceptable buffers just perpetuates the abuse.


We are constantly being told about "a permissible amount of radiation." Who permitted it? Who has any right to permit it?
­ Dr. Albert Schweitzer


Helicopter Herbicide Sprays: Regulate or Ban?

Downwinders need helicopter herbicides stopped
Precautionary Principle — not the illusion of regulation

House Bill 3123 - ban aerial spraysFor four decades, downwinder communities have tried to stop helicopter spraying of herbicides over corporate clearcuts. (National Forest & BLM spraying was stopped in 1989.) Two bills in the 2015 Oregon legislature mention this.

A bill promoted by Beyond Toxics would allow the spraying to continue, although with modest buffers for these sprays. Helicopter rotors can blow the poison for miles and the State Dept. of Forestry rarely enforces existing regulations about “leave trees” in clearcuts. It also would require record keeping of the spraying.

After some downwinders complained that this bill would not prevent poisoning, a second bill was introduced that would ban aerial spraying — House Bill 3123. Unfortunately, the environmental groups promoting the "better buffers" bill are not supporting the bill to ban the spraying.

Banning toxic abuses has been more successful for protecting public health than regulations. Air pollution from lead was reduced by banning it as a gasoline additive, not by permits to permit pollution.

— Mark Robinowitz


BAN helicopter herbicides: drift blows downwind for miles
Four decades of spraying: it's past time to stop the abuse

France bans aerial spraying of pesticides

EU assembly votes to ban toxic pesticides
by Jeremy Smith
January 13, 2009

European Parliament votes at first reading on pesticides package
Environment - 25-10-2007 - 09:04
New EU legislation on pesticides was approved with amendments by the European Parliament at first reading on Tuesday 23 October. MEPs voted to ban aerial spraying with pesticides and to prohibit the use of pesticides in buffer zones round water courses. They also approved plans to ban or at least restrict pesticides in parks and sports grounds. However, they threw out proposals to divide the EU into three zones for the purposes of approving new pesticide products.




"Beyond Toxics" tells downwinders they support a ban, but doesn't advocate for a ban with politicians or other environmental groups, nor does their literature suggest a ban is necessary

Beyond Toxics drafted a petition calling for better "regulation" of helicopter herbicide spraying, even though the organization has long promoted the precautionary principle -- pollution prevention to protect public health. I asked director Lisa Arkin why she did not merely demand an end to the toxic abuse, since "regulation" of helicopter spraying is an illusion. She replied that they had not yet had a board meeting to discuss it. I replied that anyone on their board who did not support a ban should not be on their board.

I asked David Monk, the organization's first director (when it was called Oregon Toxics Alliance), who is now their board chair, why they did not advocate for a ban and he replied:


I have no idea why BT is not fully behind a ban on aerial spraying. It could be because they don't think it a realistic proposal at the present time and are advocating for some half measure. You know as well as anyone how environmental groups play the game of advocacy.


OTA's co-founder was Mary O'Brien, a long time anti-toxics activist who used to live in Eugene (now is in Utah). In the 1980s, environmentalists managed to get the federal forests (National Forests and Bureau of Land Management) to stop helicopter spraying. O'Brien defended the argument that a ban was not actually needed since proper decision making would lead the federal agencies to choose the least harmful approach -- which would be nice if it was true. Here's an excerpt of a debate between this advocate of regulation and Barbara Kelley, who was a primary sponsor of the efforts to ban the spraying. (Kelley had been sprayed at her rural property in the 1970s and lost her farm animals as a consequence.)

Accord Reached on Herbicide Spraying
By Mary O'Brien

The Southern Willamette Alliance
July 1989, p. 5

Some opponents in a long and bitter Northwest controversy experienced a moment of warmth and accord on May 24, 1989. Some longtime plaintiffs agreed not to sue and some stalwart defendents met them at least halfway.
The occasion was the signing of a joint motion to federal Judge James Burns by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP), Coast range resident Paul Merrell, the Forest Service and the pro-pesticide organization Oregonians for Food and Shelter (OFS). The motion notified the judge that his five-year-old injunction against any use of herbicides by the Forest Service in Oregon and Washington could be lifted without opposition from those who had fought hard to win the injunction.
After five sprayless growing seasons, the Forest Service can once again spray herbicides ... This is what the Forest Service wanted to do in the first place, right? Where is the half way in this accord?
The half way is that after these five years, a whole lot of Forest Service decision makers in Oregon and Washington don't want to spray herbicides much, or at all, and have designed publicly retrievable hoops through which those who want to spray will have to jumb ...

... the Forest Service took [a 1984] injunction as an opportunity. Deciding in 1986 to address the spirit as well as the letter of NEPA, the agency approached its former nemesis, NCAP, asking for suggestions, ideas, information and names of more folks to involve in what was to become a two and a half year process ...


Barbara Kelley, Save Our ecoSystems was excluded from that process because she took a no-compromise approach.

"A Personal Story: A Public Issue"
By Barbara Kelley
(in the same publication, March 1989)

... The crowning climax of our work was the victorious outcome of SOS versus Clarke ... 
[Barbara's suit against the BLM for their spraying - she lived near some BLM checkerboards in the Cascade foothills]
.... "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted us both a resounding victory, upholding the injunction of herbicide spraying in public forests and expanding its boundaries. [NCAP] entered the legal arena at this point and, without the necessity of further legal arguments, successfully pressed for the extension of the injunction to all of the Northwest (NCAP v. Block). Several other suits followed and Region V USFS in California halted its own use of herbicides.
Ultimately, the Chief of the USFS placed a ban on herbicide spraying on all USFS forests and BLM "followed suit". We rejoiced. ...
The ban that has protected our public forests since 1983 is now being threatened. The USFS is about to make a motion to dissolve the injunction. ... Judge Burns, pressed on one side by the timber interests as represented by the USFS, and on the other by preservationists, has opted for mediation prior to dissolving the injuction. We are not optimistic about this turn of events.


Fortunately, the effort to undo the ban did not succeed and the federal forests have not sprayed their clearcuts for more than a quarter century.

Unfortunately, the practice of compromising away public health protections is more politically popular than taking strong stands against pollution.

There is a popular view among some in the environmental movement that we need "baby steps" as our approach to preventing the abuse, which might be a realistic attitude if the spraying had not been underway for over four decades. We're past peak oil, climate change is intensifying, world population of humans has doubled in the past half century, forests have been cut in half world wide in the same time, toxic chemicals can be found essentially everywhere on the planet, childhood cancer epidemics are increasing, genetic damage is irreversible, nuclear waste continues to be generated, "renewable" resources are being used up faster than they can regenerate -- so how could the "baby steps" approach make any sense except as a means to shield polluters from accountability? "Baby steps" are for babies.



From: Mark Robinowitz
Date: February 18, 2015

To: Sen Prozanski <>, Paul Holvey <>, Rep Barnhart <>
Cc: Lisa Arkin
Subject: I do not support SB 613 - the illusion of regulation - it should be illegal to spray poison from helicopters

Dear politicians:

I do not support SB 613, which would require slightly better notifications for people being poisoned by the timber barons.

Instead, I support the "precautionary principle" and prevention of harm - not better disclosure of this abuse.

I do not trust ODF to draft meaningful regulations given that they do not enforce existing regulations.

I have lost count of the number of corporate clearcuts I have seen without any "leave" trees. I don't support clearcutting (selective forestry is far better) but the ODF's failure to enforce leave tree requirements, even for clearcuts next to major state highways, suggests that the illusion of regulation means more promises of regulation are a bad joke.

Selective forestry does not convert forests into stumpfields that get swallowed up by blackberries and Scotch broom. I recommend taking the time to visit a forest near Lorane, on the Siuslaw River, that was managed by Curt Mitchell for about a quarter century. McKenzie River Trust has the conservation easement for this property, you could ask them for a tour. Mr. Mitchell cut the forest seven times over a quarter century, but did so very selectively. It had about 350 thousand board feet in 1976 and about 1,400 thousand board feet in 2001. You can barely tell it was ever cut if you visit it today. If he had ever clearcut it the forest would be just another monoculture tree farm. The adjacent BLM remnant old growth looks very similar to this managed forest (although it has larger diameter trees). If Weyerhauser, et al were required to respect their forests this way there would not be any alleged "need" to spray poison, especially from helicopters.

Helicopter sprays of herbicides can have drift for miles since the rotors ensure that precise deposition of the poison is impossible. Slightly better buffer requirements are a palliative, a public relations effort, not a serious effort to protect public health.

It should be a felony to spray 2,4-D and other carcinogens from helicopters.

The Nuremberg Code on Human Experimentation, which is federal law, states that people have a right not to be experimented on. I do not consent to breathing in sprays from Weyerhauser, Giustina, et al., and hope that this toothless bill is not enacted by the legislature. Instead, the legislature should prohibit these limited liability corporations from dumping poisons from the sky. Are there any politicians in Oregon who have the courage to say "NO" to the timber barons?

In 1992, NASA conducted a study comparing Oregon and the Amazonian state of Rondonia regarding deforestation. Oregon was found to be more deforested. That's not a contest we should be proud of winning.

I have already had a minor cancer and do not consent to having carcinogens sprayed upwind of my house.

Mark Robinowitz

downwinder in Lane County


"No Parking, No Forest"

corporate clearcut on state highway 34, just west of the ODF Philomath ODF office. photo taken while standing in the highway lane.

There is (or was) a stream here, the buffer requirement was not enforced. The leave tree requirement of two trees per acre was ignored, without consequence.

Clearcutting forests increases desertification, we have known this since the days of ancient Greece. It's happening in Oregon but the decline in water supply takes longer than the political system can respond to it.



From: Mark Robinowitz
Date: February 26, 2015

To: Paul Holvey <>,, Sen Prozanski <>, "Rep. Phil Barnhart" <>
Cc: Lisa Arkin <>,
Subject: 'cide committee composition consideration

Dear Representatives:

A ban on the abuse of helicopter herbicides is orders of magnitude preferable to having another committee to study something that does not need further studies.

However, if you fail to ban the sprays this session and create a panel to study the obvious, I recommend at a minimum:

-- ensuring that rural citizens who are downwinders are well represented on the panel. Blachley, Triangle Lake and other sprayees should have their concerns front and center in any discussion. Those who were proved to have timber company poisons in their urine should be given special priority for participation. If all views are to be heard, then those who have been on the front line of the abuse deserve to participate, preferably with a stipend to cover their transportation costs from their locations to Salem (or wherever the meetings will be). Environmental justice principles mean that those who are enduring the worst impact need to be heard -- and protected from further abuse. Dumping poison into rural areas is just as wrong as targeting any other group. Perhaps the committee meetings could be in impacted communities, preferably directly along the property lines of clearcuts being sprayed. Suitable sites should not be hard to find.

-- medical experts need to be heard. Having cancer doctors and other health experts could lend an important perspective, since these are not mere academic concerns - people have been poisoned for decades. Perhaps a Vietnam veterans group familiar with the consequences of Agent Orange (2,4-D / 2,4,5,-T mix) could participate, too.

-- it's worth revisiting the history of what has worked, and what has not, regarding environmental protection over the past half century. One of my favorite examples is lead in the air, which was drastically reduced by making it illegal to add it to gasoline. It didn't have trading credits, regulatory restrictions, the rights to pollute -- a Federal law was enacted that banned the practice.

-- selective forestry that maintains the canopy does not convert forests into blackberry fields. Clearcutting is at the root of the helicopter herbicide problem. I don't expect the State of Oregon to ban corporate clearcuts, but if you want the nice rhetoric about climate change to be worth more than partisan votes, letting the tree farms grow back to forests would be a prerequisite. Deforestation disrupts the hydrologic cycle, something already happening on the West Coast. (Perhaps we could call it the "Brown Coast" if Washington State gets a Governor also named Brown.) This could include making the State Forests into State Parks, not pretending that we only need to protect a few "special places" while logging all of the rest. A quarter century ago, numerous advocates for the Amazon rainforest warned that the clearcutting could cause desertification, which has now happened. Sao Paolo, the largest city in Brazil, has FIVE PERCENT of its main drinking water reservoir filled right now and is likely to have severe water rationing in the near future. Our rainfall patterns are also being disrupted. Value added products that turn raw logs into useful things (furniture?) create more jobs per tree than exporting raw logs. Kitzhaber gave "carte blanche" to the timber barons to strip the forests, export raw logs, spray whatever they wanted, not pay stump taxes, use rivers as their sewers and have their heavy trucks stress our bridges.

-- it would be useful to know exactly how enforcement, and how many violations, have been found for corporate clearcutting and spraying. If one doesn't look, then no violations are going to be found.

-- A good compromise would be to halt the helicopter herbicides while the committee deliberates.

Organochlorine herbicide / biocide can bioaccumulate up the food chain. When absorbed into mammals it can stay in the body for years. Cancers are part of the consequence but there are many non-cancer effects to be concerned about, especially birth defects.

The Nuremberg Code on Human Experimentation prohibits forcing people to participate in involuntary human experimentation. This does not merely apply to the Nazis, it applies to everyone, including those who spray poison over people's homes. It does not say that it's fine for people to be notified they're going to be experimented on against their consent.

It's anyone's guess when oil rationing will finally arrive, a development that will probably make it difficult if not impossible to fuel these helicopters, but the Alaska Pipeline continues to drop toward "low flow" shutdown (when not enough oil will flow through the pipeline to keep the contents from freezing). Fracking in North Dakota is much less than the Alaska Pipeline was at its peak in 1988, and fracking is a short term bubble that is close to its peak now. We should be working on studies of how we are going to cope with the logistics of ensuring food in the grocery stores when oil rationing finally arrives instead of if or when to finally protect the public from aerial poisoning.


Mark Robinowitz

downwinder in Lane County


The Nuremberg Code on Human Experimentation

From Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946–April 1949. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949–1953.

The great weight of the evidence before us is to the effect that certain types of medical experiments on human beings, when kept within reasonably well-defined bounds, conform to the ethics of the medical profession generally. The protagonists of the practice of human experimentation justify their views on the basis that such experiments yield results for the good of society that are unprocurable by other methods or means of study. All agree, however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts:

  1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
  2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
  3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
  4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
  5. No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
  6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
  7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
  8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
  9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
  10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probably cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.


From: Mark Robinowitz
Date: March 7, 2015
Subject: risking arrest at PIELC

I was rude enough to carry a small sign (8.5 x 14) urging an end to helicopter spraying to a PIELC panel about helicopter spraying. The panel organizers threatened to have security (insecurity?) throw me out of the building, with the potential of arrest if I didn't comply. The panel had spray victims from Curry County, Lisa Arkin and some students who made a video about the topic. But asking to end the spraying was denounced by the spray victims as asking for too much, even though they've lost pets, relatives and they all have numerous severe health impacts as a consequence. Arkin refused to touch the topic of a ban versus being told you're being sprayed, nor would the obvious problems of trying to enforce buffers be discussed.

One of the sprayees who had been invited to the discussion (by Beyond Toxics) came over to me during the middle of the discussion and demanded I get rid of my piece of paper (see attached), he seemed like he wanted to attack me and others had to tell him to go back to his seat. (I was sitting in my seat and not saying anything) At least afterwards he and I had a respectful conversation, but it was extremely bizarre.

During the "question" time I was of course ignored, but I mentioned the Holvey bill to ban the sprays (and was yelled at for mentioning this). The panel organizers made the mistake of calling on someone who looked more obedient and he denounced their go slow approach, talking about his relatives with cancer.

I talked with several other people in the audience (before and after) who live near clearcuts who were unanimous that banning helicopter sprays made more sense than pretending to regulate them.

The "Drift" video the students made even admitted, if one paid close attention, that the sprays can drift for miles and sprayed lands can vent volatilized toxins into the air for a long time after the spraying.

Political masochism.


my favorite response to this report was from a long time forest defender, who stated:

Another reason why I no longer consider myself an "activist." We don't lose because of industry, we lose because of ourselves.


update: March 12, 2015

Beyond Toxics held a lobby day for their bill to require buffers, notices and record keeping for helicopter sprays. No mention was made of the bill to ban aerial spraying, so I decided to do my own lobbying of the legislature. I distributed a flyer promoting the ban to all of the State Representative and State Senator offices while Beyond Toxics was promoting their bill. After the distribution and discussions, I went to Room "350" in the Capitol, where Beyond Toxics supports were gathered. I only managed to be in the room for about a minute before Beyond Toxics director Lisa Arkin told me I was not allowed in the room, since I was not registered for their event and since they had paid money to rent this public space she supposedly had the right to prevent me from being there (and presumably the security guards would evict me or arrest me if I did not comply).

I did manage to get a short conversation with Arkin, outside the room, in the corridor. It was sad and strange to receive an accusation that my interest in a ban was supposedly motivated by ego (and not being a downwinder or an anti-toxics activist for three decades). There was not substantive response as to why the ostensible support for a ban was not reflected in the group's advocacy, not even to suggest that her members and supporters should advocate for a ban as well as the "baby steps" approach simultaneously. It is understandable that participants in a lobby day regarding helicopter spraying could be pre-screened to ensure that chemical industry representatives are excluded, but to exclude motivated grassroots downwinders because they take a stronger stance and promote pollution prevention is really embarrassing for the organization, and a symptom of the decline of the environmental movement.

If an advocate, a group, a movement, does not promote what they want, it's unlikely to happen.

It's telling that the anti-spray movement is seriously fragmented in Oregon. Beyond Toxics seems dominant now, but in the early days there was NCAP: Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. NCAP still exists, but they're not as vocal as they were when the federal forests were still spraying. (NCAP was helpful to my neighborhood when we were looking for independent testing labs in 2000 when a neighboring timber company was planning to helicopter spray us and we wanted to verify the "chemical trespass" they were planning to commit -- but eventually chose not to do. They ground sprayed their clearcut, which we did not like, but at least that uses less poison and has less drift.) More recently, there is Pitchfork Rebellion (downwinders in the Triangle Lake area who have been poisoned by the sprays), Forestland Dwellers (which keeps rural Lane County residents notified about planned spraying) and Standing Together to Outlaw Pesticides (STOP). There are other efforts in other parts of Oregon.

A side note: while visiting all of the State legislator offices, there were a number of Republican assistants who were well informed on the issue but supportive of continued spraying. It was an opportunity to discuss and debate the merits of continued dispersal of carcinogens versus an end to the practice. My key point was that toxic chemicals do not know property line boundaries nor political philosophies, and dealing with childhood cancer is tragic, expensive and mostly preventable. If the environmental and public health crises are really as severe as environmental groups claim (or even worse than their claims), then making these concerns into partisan political fights merely divides the citizenry. Marketing these problems as Democratic Party issues ensures that few Republicans will take them seriously and also guarantees that few environmental groups will take stronger stands than Democratic politicians are willing to advocate.
comment from “spiralmom”

“People have the right to safety and health on their own property,” Arkin says. “The bill respects that.”
I'm sorry, this is a joke! They will still be spraying and buffer zones are a waste of all our time. We should stop asking for what we think we can get, which is what this bill is, and we need to start asking for what we WANT!! We want to END aerial spraying for good.
This bill is a compromise that citizens around Oregon are NOT willing to make, only the conventional environmental organizations are willing to make that compromise because it's not personal to them. Their children are not being affected by aerial spray 2-4 miles away!! The Board of Forestry TOOK AWAY THE BUFFERS back in the 90's and we're expecting them to reinstate "reasonable" buffers?? What a joke. And it's a shame that these environmental groups will dupe citizens into believing this legislation is a move in the right direction. In the long run, this will hurt the citizens of Oregon more than it will help.
BAN AERIAL SPRAYING of PESTICIDES!!! Our children deserve better!!



My hardest fight as a performer has been with myself, to be as clear a conduit as possible for what needs to be said. That's the ongoing struggle. Get my ego and my brain out of the way and let this stuff happen.
— from "mouth that roared: Bruce Cockburn says he's not an activist but a concerned voice", Edmonton Sun, 27 March 2002, by Fish Griwkowsky.

Before he left California to take over the Wilderness Society, photographer and lifelong environmental activist Ansel Adams, who knew most of the players well, had warned him: 'You're about to go work with the biggest egos on the planet. They don't get paid much so the drive is ego, and the righteousness is self-righteousness,' Adams added, 'the worst kind.' Turnage says Adams foreboding proved accurate. 'I've never seen so much territoriality and rivalry. Some rivalry is healthy, but this was counterproductive." There were, however, some good meetings, 'although the organizations' staffs disliked each other so immensely it was hard to get them to collaborate on anything we decided to do together.'
Mark Dowie, Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century, p. 69-70

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"
— Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
— Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from the Birmingham Jail",
April 16, 1963

Compromise is often necessary, but it ought not to originate with environmental leaders. Our role is to hold fast to what we believe is right, to fight for it, to find allies, and to adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or our friends to win, then let someone else propose the compromise, which we must then work hard to coax our way. We thus become a nucleus around which activists can build and function.
— David Brower, Earth Island Institute, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club

Thus, confronted by powerful corporate opposition, the environmental movement has split in two. The older national environmental organizations, in their Washington offices, have taken the soft path of negotiation, compromising with the corporations about how much pollution is acceptable ... The people living in the polluted communities have taken the hard path of confrontation ... The national organizations deal with the environmental disease by negotiating about the kind of “Band-Aid” to apply to it; the community groups deal with the disease by trying to prevent it.
— Barry Commoner, “Making Peace With the Planet”

At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land, and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, "thus far and no farther." If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, "If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behavior."
— Edward Abbey

We are constantly being told about “a permissible amount of radiation.” Who permitted it? Who has any right to permit it?
— Dr. Albert Schweitzer, “On Nuclear War And Peace”

These sprays, dusts, and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes -— nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the “good” and the “bad,” to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in soil -- all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects.  Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life?  They should not be called “insecticides,” but “biocides.”
Along with the possibility of the extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man's total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm — substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon with the shape of the future depends.
— Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring”