The Environmental Movement is failing. Through analysis of environmental news, issues, campaigns, organizations, coalitions and events, this blog critically examines the Environmental Movement and, in particular, the Environmental Establishment which dominates the Movement. In this way I seek to create a conversation and ultimately a shared vision of the change we need in the Movement - and in the Establishment - to reverse the decline of the Earth and its habitats.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why I'm writing this blog and what I hope to achieve


I'm Felice Pace; Bearitude in Black is my blog about the state of the Environmental Movement. By reporting and commenting on environmental issues, environmental history and the environmental establishment, this blog will examine where the Movement has been, where it is now and where it is going.

I'm writing the blog because I think the Environmental Movement is in trouble. Simply put, we are not getting the job done. The Earth and its habitats are in trouble and - in spite of the many "victories" proclaimed by the Environmental Establishment on a regular basis - we are losing ground. 

The fact that as a Movement we are failing demands deep examination and deep change. I don't see that least not very much. At its core, Bearitude in Black aims to advance a conversation about the change we need within the Environmental Movement in order to reverse the decline of the Earth and its habitats: What changes are needed in order for the Earth to begin to gain ground?    

My perspective is that of a veteran grassroots activist and campaigner. For many years, I was a grassroots environmental professional: founder, conservation director and executive director with the Klamath Forest Alliance. I am still a KFA volunteer activist and core group member. 

The blog name Bearitude in Black refers to my totem animal and to my history within the Environmental Movement. In a much read article on the Forest Protection Movement, I was referred to some time back as "Problem Bear". The description was apt then and remains so today; I am not about to go along with manipulated processes or with efforts not based in democratically derived strategy and tactics. I am, however, ready and eager to join with others to develop shared strategy, shared campaigns and shared action. 

These days I also work with the North Group of the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter where I am "water chair" and a member of the Executive Committee. I'm with the Sierra Club because it has a democratic structure and therefore can be changed by its grassroots members. It is difficult to change other Environmental Establishment organizations which are governed by independent and insulated boards comprised chiefly of "one percenters" (elite corporate insiders). 

I also currently coordinate a project for EPIC (the Environmental Protection Information Center), KFA and Wilderness Watch which aims to reform livestock grazing practices and management on public lands in Northern California. We are currently focused on grazing reform within designated and de facto wilderness on the Klamath National Forest.

I still help a bit  with forest watch (within the Klamath River Basin) and more broadly with forest policy, and I still study what I call "the natural and human history of large Klamath Mountains wildfires." 

I'm a Clean Water Activist too focusing on controlling agricultural pollution on California's Northcoast, the Klamath River Basin and especially within the Scott River Basin - a major Klamath tributary and my home for many years.  

As editor and chief writer for KlamBlog, I work to uncover and reveal to the people and press decisions being made behind closed doors which impact Klamath River Communities and Public Trust Resources (water, land and wildlife). KlamBlog also uncovers restoration boondoggles and other hidden misuses of taxpayer funds. 

Most of my work these days is unpaid; I survive on social security, a bit of substitute teaching and occasional paid environmental work. For the most part, I've foresworn foundation funding because these days many of the foundations funding environmental organizations seek in one way or another to control the work of those they fund. I prefer to be independent so that I can freely call the shots as I see them - including naming names when I believe that is needed. I do welcome financial support from foundations that do not meddle in the work...and from individuals.   

If you are someone who wants to reverse the decline of the Earth and its habitats I hope you will follow this blog and share your perspectives in comments on the posts. Through shared analysis and perspective we can build momentum - a flow and force which, when joined with other streams, will create the change we need within the Environmental Establishment and within the broader Environmental Movement.  


  1. Felice, Thanks for starting this. I agree pristine is misused and often anything other than pristine is considered a sacrifice area. The enviromental movement is failing - in large part due to foundations that meddle with grantees; groups that want a seat at the political table; and groups that can be bought off by corporations, industry, or the government (i.e. paid to monitor an objectionable project). I have been a forest watch activist for almost 30 years and frankly there are few people left in this field that I respect. When groups send out press releases bragging about the 58 MMBF timber sale they collaborated on with the FS and agreed to; when their collaborative process involves only certain entities and one has to sign a confidentiality agreement to participate; when groups claim part of their job is to keep logs going to the mill and keep loggers employeed - well it's difficult not to be disheartened. When your own colleagues are selling out the forest and call you a radical for not compromising you know money and politics are involved. Frankly I'm disgusted with these so-called activists and wish they would get out of the business. Many of them could easily get a job with industry. I'm tired of hearing enviros have to be reasonable and pragmatic. One of my heroes is Martin Litton who recently said "I never saw any value in being reasonable." He went on to expalin that what industry and agencies are doing to our public lands is far from reasonable so why should we be? Good point. The environmental movement is a disgrace and in reality it no longer exists. There is no movement. There are a few diehard grassroots activists that can't be bought off and who continue to do the work. They are less effective because industry/agencies know who the go-to guys are who will sell out. They have more money and more political capital. This is particularly true for those of us who work on TES issues. Just today I had a call with the FS over a timber sale in NSO habitat. The FS said xyz group had no problem with the sale. I tempered my remarks to say xyz didn't speak for me (and they never will). I'm not naive enough to believe anything will change. Like climate change, the enviro movement is too far gone to come back. Personally, I just continue to do what I do and have the support of the public in large part. I travel quite a bit and people always want to know how to support my work. That perhaps is the most incredible piece of this - the sellouts are not doing what the public wants. The public wants defenders of the commonwealth - not appeasers, not collaborators. For all the hoopla you hear about David Brower and "compromise should not begin with us" most of these groups don't walk the talk. Brower is likely turning over in his grave as his name is mentioned by these groups who lack courage. Thanks for the opportunity to say my piece. No doubt I'll get slammed for it. I really don't care. I work for the forests and the critters - not the sellouts. Be well.

  2. Greetings from Melbourne Australia,

    Oh dear, this is a global western problem in gneral "grass roots" enviro / community / not for profit sector. No sense of custodial relationship w land they occupy and the well being of people who dont line their pockets or massage their vision.
    I have witnessed so called community enviro groups fight to have sites littered with aesbestos kept open so they didnt loose their dream utopia, inner city community gardens in public housing areas growing food in contaminated soil and not wanting to work out how to really clean up and be public, etc because they didnt have to by law. I am a highly experienced environmental scientist specialising in contaminated soil and groundwater - I now refuse to work with any not for profit or enviro organisation that has a "CEO" in charge or any bull sh#t hierarchy from committees made up of cheese and wine people who do very little if anything on the ground. You are the first person I have read communicate what i have experienced in rural and city areas in Australia.

    I am now too actively looking for those whos actions demonstrate who they are, not a title or whatever.

    So things I have done, mainly litter on urban creeks and encouraging community beautification. at grass roots level - litter in creeks waterways ticks my do something about it

    couple of you tubes...