On Tuesday, April 19, Outdoor Programs hosted a screening of the documentary film “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” in honor of Earth Week. The screening took place at 7:30 p.m. in Bissel Theater and followed a Leave No Trace (LNT) training led by KOC in Harmon Lounge.
Directed by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman, the film centers on the story of Daniel McGowen, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a group of activists who use “economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment,” according to the ELF Press Office. In December 2005, McGowen was arrested and sentenced to life in prison when he was found guilty of acts of environmental terrorism after participating in the firebombing of Oregon-based timber companies.
According to the film’s official web page, “If a Tree Falls” “interweaves a chronicle of Daniel on house arrest as he faces life in prison, with a dramatic recounting of the events that led to his involvement with the group. And along the way it asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.”
“If a Tree Falls” is an Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature and a winner of the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Editing Award.
When asked why this particular film was chosen to be screened as part of a series of Earth Week events, Margot Courard K’16 said, “The movie, “If a Tree Falls,” was chosen for Earth Week, because it showed an interesting perspective in which a group of passionate environmentally minded folks, the Earth Liberation Front, decided to take defending the environment into their own hands through what has been described by some as eco-terrorism.”
After the screening, Courard said that the group of viewers discussed whether the methods of the members of the ELF were appropriate as well as some other potential ways in which to defend the environment, “thereby protecting it in the long run.”