The Implications of Free Trade on the Fight to Preserve Oregon's Old Growth Legacy
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Environmentalism crept into the general consciousness of Americans in 1962 with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a publication that marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement (Chase 1995). In Oregon, however, the nation's top timber producing state, environmentalism has been predominately focused on the fight to preserve its last remaining forests. As this battle between the environmental movement and the timber industry has divided the state, there tends to be an assumption that loggers are in opposition to environmentalists. Yet, the fragmented nature of social movements hinders Oregon's environmental movement from effectively building alliances with other interests. This project considers the ways in which these interests can be bridged within the context of free trade. An in-depth analysis of identity-based politics and Oregon's environmental movement provides a context for evaluating the ability of the movement to meet the demands of free trade. Yet, if a serious attempt to join conflicting interests and ideologies within the fight over forest protection is to be made, it must be approached from a plethora of perspectives. By focusing on both the Arcadian ideology of eco-radicalism and the conservationist ideology of moderate environmentalism, a greater understanding of the implications of globalization and free trade will be reached. However, to realistically intersect the differing interests required in successfully confronting the challenges of globalization, eco-radicalism may be detrimental. Radical environmentalism calls for the dismantling of modern civilization and a return to the land in a tribal sense, a view that is troubling in two respects. First, this view is exceedingly unrealistic in regards to the nature of today's highly developed capitalist society. Second, eco-radicalism's reactionary character is extremely dangerous, a notion that will be explored in greater depth as this project continues. The final segment of our analysis focuses on the future of Oregon's forests and the challenges posed by globalization. More specifically, what is required of the environmental movement to successfully confront this challenge?