Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The FSEEE Joins LMNOPi to Stand Up for Free Speech

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a website. The Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.
I thought "Oh, these are the people I want to know" When I looked at their home page, I found the article from Waging Non-Violence hanging out in their news feed. That gave me a very good feeling. Like I was in the right place.

I called them up and ended up speaking with Andy Stahl, their executive director. Turns out that he was part of the Sierra Club Legal Defense team that fought the US Forest Service in 1992 over the use of a Smokey parody and won. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be speaking to this person, incidentally the man behind the Spotted Owl lawsuits in the 90's that ended up saving 8 million acres of old growth forest.

He offered to take me under his wing, consult with the lawyers that won the previous case and support my work by posting a link to his blog directly to my online store. When I offered to give some of the money to his organization, he graciously refused. "We don't want your money. You are an artist, you earned it"
Finally, I thought, someone who gets it. Art is labor! Spreading an Anti-Fracking message is a good job. Way better than hanging corporate banners on the side of the stock exchange. (which is what I was doing, among other tv & theater gigs, for a living as a freelance stage hand for the last 10 years)

This is my Free Speech. This is protected under the US Constitution. This artwork is clearly a parody of the original Smokey. Not only is it a parody, but it is not really changing the original messaging of preventing wildfires. Smokey is legitimately concerned. "How will we put out a Forest Fire with Flammable Water??" he asks.

I have a feeling that there are many Forest Rangers that are, like me, in love with nature. That chose this work to be stewards of the land. I feel pretty confident that these loyal nature lovers do NOT want to see the Forests Fracked. They know and are part of an ever growing awareness that Fracking is not worth it. Not worth throwing away our health, our forests, clean water, clean air and the ability to live on the land for a few bucks and temporary jobs. I would be absolutely thrilled if any of these fine Forest Service employees would wear this Bear to show their support for clean air. Wear the shirt to work! Subvert the system. They will not fire you for wearing a shirt under your uniform, will they? :)

After consulting with his lawyer friends, Andy got back to me and explained that the US Forest Service must have learned something from their previous error. That by directly serving Lighthawk with a cease and desist order, the US Forest Service, as a government agency under the USDA, had violated the constitutional rights of those citizens engaging in their protected free speech. However, if a corporation serves a cease and desist letter for them, they are not actually violating anyone's freedom of speech. Yet. They essentially farmed out the cease and desist to the Metis Group as a way to intimidate me. Well, that didn't work, did it?

A couple of weeks after I received the original cease & desist letter from the Metis Group, having sent them a reply and not hearing back from them, my friend, lawyer Evan Sarzin, wrote the following letter:

This is the reply he got from the Metis Group:

Bluff much, US Forest Service?

Smokey is on strike.

When the US Forest Service institutes a permanent ban on Fracking in ALL our National Forests, he will come back to work. But don't think in the meantime he is slacking. No way, Jose. He is doing what any concerned citizen activist is doing these days: Agitating, Educating and Organizing. 

Do Your Job, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Protect the water, air and soil. Protect the Natural Heritage for the animals and the future generations of Humans. Don't sell out to the Fossil Fuel Corporations. Be on the right side of history!

Woody Owl, Woodsy's cousin agrees. Ban Fracking in ALL the National Forests, NOW!!

Contact your representatives and let them know that you support a permanent ban on Fracking in Your National Forests.
Contact Tom Vilsack
Phone: 1-202-720-3631
snail mail: 
United States Dept of Agriculture
Attn: Secretary Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Ave SW
Room 200-A
Washington, DC
Currently under threat RIGHT NOW:
Join us in this fight to save the Forests for the plants, animals and future generations. 
This message was not endorsed by the USDA or the US Forest Service. 

Why Not? Good Question

Special Shout Out to the FSEEE for their solidarity!

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