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Treetop Blogging Protests Logging

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 758 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. NHNE 2002 Fall/Winter Fundraiser: Money needed = $2090.00
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2002
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      NHNE News List
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      NHNE 2002 Fall/Winter Fundraiser:
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      By Amit Asaravala
      December 12, 2002


      EUREKA, California -- Unlike most people her age, 27-year-old "Remedy"
      hasn't checked her e-mail in over eight months. That's because she's been
      living in a 200-foot-tall redwood since March 21, when she climbed the tree
      to protest timber harvesting by Pacific Lumber Company.

      Now, thanks to an anonymous group of tech activists, Remedy's Spartan
      lifestyle -- she perches 130 feet up on a 4-by-8-foot platform with just a
      few blankets, cooking utensils and personal items -- is about to change.

      For the past four weeks, the group of self-described geeks has been working
      on a plan to provide tree-sitters in the Headwaters Forest region of
      Northern California with access to an 802.11b wireless network.

      "It's awesome," said Remedy, who, like the other activists trespassing on
      Pacific Lumber property, declined to give her full name. "I miss being on
      the Internet. But, of course, e-mail is just a fringe benefit. I want to use
      the Internet to spread the word about what's going on out here."

      Headwaters has been the scene of numerous clashes between Earth First
      environmentalists and Pacific Lumber ever since the company was acquired by
      Maxxam Corporation in a 1986 hostile takeover. Over the past year, more than
      15 protestors at a time have occupied various trees on Pacific Lumber
      property, preventing loggers from completing their work.

      While some tree-sitters, like the now-famous Julia Butterfly Hill
      (http://www.circleoflifefoundation.org/), have attracted the attention of
      major media outlets, the tech activists hope their wireless network will
      encourage sitters to post independent weblogs.

      "This is partially to make a personal stand in protection of the earth,"
      said "Rabble," one of the project's organizers who also declined to give his
      full name. "And it's partially about having the story personalized in a way
      the media can spin a story around."

      The group of five young activists, from the San Francisco Bay Area's
      Independent Media Center and regional wireless user groups, has already
      provided Remedy with a Linux-based laptop and a panel antenna. A car battery
      recharger powers the equipment, which will connect to an 802.11b access
      point 5.5 miles away in Eureka.

      The activists have also set up a weblog for Remedy. Her first two messages
      were posted to the site with the help of supporters on the ground who
      carried disks from the tree to a computer in the city. She looks forward to
      being online soon so she can publish on her own.

      "It's going to be overwhelming to be online again," said Remedy. "People
      tell me my inbox is full. I'm not even sure if I remember all my account
      information anymore."

      Setting up the network hasn't been easy. Because the Headwaters tree-sits
      take place on private property, many supporters are wary of being pressed
      with felony conspiracy charges or named in strategic lawsuits.

      Mary Bullwinkle, a Pacific Lumber representative, acknowledged that the
      company had filed such a suit in 2001. "These protestors are on private
      property," she said. "We believe they are breaking the law."

      The activists also face a problem in Eureka: A tree behind the house where
      they have mounted their 802.11b access point threatens to block the
      necessary line of sight to Remedy's antenna if it shifts in the wind or
      grows more leaves.

      "We should just cut the tree down," joked one member before getting serious
      about the tree's water content and how much of the signal it might block.

      The group may decide it needs to move the access point to a different
      location on the property, or find another house.

      "We'll go door-to-door if we have to," said Rabble. "Getting the tree-sits
      online will not only be cool, it will be a way to use recycled technology
      and free software to empower people fighting to save the planet."


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