The history you never knew

aboristI’m a really big history buff but every now and then I come across a chapter of distant events that I’d never known about before. I love this feeling of expansion, when the world suddenly seems full of mystery and surprises again. I could learn and learn for my whole life and there’d still be new things to discover – that’s the reason why I love history.

So I was sitting in a little green space at uni with some friends when our lunch time serenity was disrupted by a tree lopping service. Instead of suffering the noise outside, we decided to sit in the lecture hall until class started. When we got there our lecturer was setting up and we explained about the noisy tree felling. Our lecturer is a bit of a maverick – which is why we love him – and somehow got onto the topic if the Earth Liberation Front, better known as ELF or Elves.

These guys were basically ‘eco terrorist’. Their aim was to sabotage big polluting companies to deter them from seeking profits through environmental devastation. This mostly involved property damage such as destroying large logging machinery, vandalising or setting fire to buildings and gluing locks on MacDonalds . It’s a long way from arborists in Melbourne, but an engrossing piece of the past. Who’d have thought that a simple tree removal in Melbourne would bring up such an intense topic. 

I’m glad environmentalists these days aren’t as extreme as the Elves. Although they had good intentions a lot their activities were dangerous and resulted not only in injuries but in young people getting locked up in prison. I definitely believe in finding better ways to stand up for what you believe in without throwing your life away. There are a lot of environmental groups around today who do legal and ethical direct action without hurting anyone or damaging property.

Read More