General Plan Position in Review
New 2007 Challenges
Contact Your U.S. Legislators (Linda Harmon)
Scholarship Contestants Sought
Voter's Choice of Tea
Ready to Run Workshop Planned (Pat Hunter-Williams)
KPAA - Check Out Two Alliance in Action Projects
You Can Change the World (Jennifer Zappey)
You Can Change the World
Editors Note: Jennifer Zappey is the 2006 LWV scholarship winner.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
This saying by Margaret Mead has been repeatedly proven by the human race through out history and indeed was proven within my own life. I have never forgotten since I was a young girl that my mother Teresa K. Zappey, actively stopped the Federal Government from illegally slaughtering the native mountain goats that lived in the ranges behind our home in Washington State. I remember marching wearing the T-shirts she made and holding up a protest sign as the crowd of people she organized marched to the National Park headquarters. There was news coverage from around the world.
This experience has therefore inspired me so greatly that I went on to accomplish my own proactive endeavors. I have my mother to thank for the realization that even one person with drive, a great purpose, and courage can make a huge difference.
My personal activist experiences have shown me the validity of this statement.
One that I will relate to you started when I got involved with a group of activist performers founded because an Earth First Activist named Gypsy was killed by loggers when the loggers felled a tree on him.
We educated through performance, and passed out free flyers and magazines that helped to connect the local grass roots activist groups across the United States. Through them I became involved in saving an old-growth red-wood forest near Mendocino City on the coast of California. These large trees are officially recognized as being important to the environment because of their carbon scrubbing abilities.
The loggers were planning to cut away all of the largest trees, which by law were supposed to be left, along with at least 60% of the canopy for this purpose. Citizens looked and found that the largest trees were tagged to be cut and we would be lucky if even 30% of the canopy was going to be left when the job was completed.
Some of the ways we worked to stop the logging were dangerous. Early every morning we would sit on the logging road using our bodies to stop the logging trucks from going in. By doing this we prevented further advancement for an hour or two until the police arrived and then we would run into the forest to keep from being arrested. This cost the companies time and money and let them know that they were watched. One of my friends would climb into the larger trees on the path of the encroaching new road and secure woven rope platforms to prevent those trees from being cut, then he would stay up in the trees to protect them. I often would bring him food and water to help support him.
On one occasion I climbed ropes 80 feet up into a large tree platform and stayed the night, this is one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.
Another one of my friends even chained herself to a tree and was arrested; this made the news which helped bring publicity.
Even though in the end much of the forest and some of the larger trees were cut down, we successfully prevented logging in the river valley that would have caused erosion, landslides, flooding and decimated the fish population.
I have learned from experience that there is much that we each can do to contribute. The first step is consumer awareness, with which we can educate ourselves.
Another way is to join activist organizations and volunteer some of our time. We can also write to our State Governor, Senators and Representatives. Another good idea is to devise a petition and collect signatures on an issue of concern. We need to become informed about upcoming bills and elections and get out and vote!
Finally on a larger scale we can organize or be a part of public demonstrations which exercise our fist amendment right, which gives us the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.