Read more about the fire on CNN and a great article on Seattle's King 5.
Although it has not yet been proven whether the fires were caused by the ELF, it is definite that they are the work of ecoterrorism: signs reading "Built green? Nope black!", using references such as "McMansion," and bearing the letters ELF, most likely the initials of the Earth Liberation Front, were found at the site, and suspicious explosive devices were found inside and near the homes.
So, now I'm going to rant about ecoterrrorism. If you are too quote unquote green to see beyond the end of your nose and lighter, then you may not want to read on, because I am about to insult you. Although you should read on, because I am about to make you smarter.
I have had enough of hippies with fucking lighters and the idea that massive air pollution and endangering lives is the way to get your green message across. I am all for being green, don't get me wrong; I do all kinds of educational things to teach others the green way, and I am careful to implement them in my own home, office, work space, business practices, and daily life.
But what does burning accomplish? First of all, the owners will rebuild the homes. The arsonists have only destroyed a physical thing that can and will be rebuilt. This means TWICE the usage of trees and materials, destruction of forests and resources...because of the arsonists, not helped by the arsonists. This means TWICE as much gas, fuel, power, energy, emissions used by machinery to rebuild. And let's not forget the machinery that first has to FURTHER DESTROY what you have destroyed, which will equal almost FOUR, FIVE, SIX TIMES the gas, fuel, power, energy, emissions to flatten the homes down to foundations, remove the debris, and start the rebuilding process again.
Second of all, these fires were supposedly in retaliation to claims that the houses were built green, something the ecoterrorists apparently didn't believe, based on the sign found at the scene. My question is: Why are you retaliating against someone who is trying to take steps to be greener? Okay, maybe the houses aren't perfectly green, but one of the people involved in the 2007 Street of Dreams said the homes used "Built Green" standards such as water-pervious sidewalks, super-insulated walls and windows, and products made with recycled materials, such as carpet pads. Advertising for last summer's Street of Dreams focused on the environmentally friendly aspects of the homes, which were smaller than some of the huge houses featured in years past.
"The environmental part of the house was a passion of mine," said Grey Lundberg, a builder of one of the houses. "We've put a lot into this house." Lundberg said he cannot understand why an environmental group would strike the home he built. It incorporated the latest in eco-friendly standards and even won environmental awards.
So maybe the homes aren't 100% everything green we could ever want, but I don't have water-pervious sidewalks or super-insulated walls and windows to conserve energy in my house... so small steps are better than none at all. Why are these the people a group would want to retaliate against, while there are so many worse things going on in the world? Not to mention the fact that the Street of Dreams supports two awesome charities: the Children's Home Society of Washington and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Northwest.
And what about when you're wrong? At the same time these fires were going on, a federal jury in Tacoma, Washington, was deliberating in the case of another accused ELF activist, Briana Waters, who could face at least 35 years if convicted of helping to firebomb the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001, which caused $7 million in damage. The horticulture center was targeted because the ELF activists MISTAKENLY believed researchers there were genetically engineering trees. Think about this: a supposed eco group BOMBED a HORTICULTURE center! What are they thinking? I seriously hope she spends those 35 years so she can think about the stupidity of this action, which takes me to my final and, in my opinion, most important, statement:
When you burn something, do you have ANY IDEA how much carbon you are releasing into the air? Here are a few stats for you: A wildfire can release enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it can match an entire state's ANNUAL vehicle emissions in a few weeks [citation]. Every year, fires burn 3 million to 4 million square kilometers of Earth’s land surface area, and release more than a billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide [citation]. These ecoterrorists, and no, I don't mind using that term at all, are causing at least equal to, if not more than, the amount of damage caused from just building the house in the first place. These carbon emissions pollute the air, destroy foliage and fresh water, and damage our lungs, livers, and brains. So what's the use in trading in one evil for another? What does that prove? What does that teach people? That you are an asshole? That you can cause a little stir for a little while that doesn't really solve anything or get any actions or solutions implemented, other than your jail time? That causing your own environmental damage, possible injuries to firefighters and bystanders, and pollution to the air and earth is okay if YOU do it, but not if someone else does it? You can't cherrypick environmental damage; you are either defending it peacefully, or you are just as much a part of the problem.
And last, but not least, my final rant: hypocrisy. It is the one thing I cannot ignore in people who talk louder than they should. So the ELF News website has ads for Prescription Free Viagra, the Florida Swinger's Convention, and Download Shield to allow you to download copyrighted software from the Internet. My favorite part is where they talk about not having to deal with all that Corporate bullshit (brought to you by the Internet Pharmacy). In the words of one of my favorite columnist /bloggers /ranters, Marni Soupcoff on Full Comment: "[If] environmentalists are going to go around risking lives and trampling on property rights in the name of Mother Earth, then the least they could do is shell out a couple of dollars to protect their own domain name and make a bit of an effort to get their message across." [Check out Marni's take on this subject, too; she rocks.]
That is all I have to say about this. I could rant forever, but I am too angry to do so, and I couldn't change any more minds if they are already set on the irony of destruction of the Earth in an "effort" to preserve it.
The Building Industry Association of Washington and the FBI are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime. Anyone who has knowledge of these fires is asked to call the Arson Hotline (800-55-ARSON) or contact authorities. Callers may remain anonymous.