Earth First! Rendezvous!

Is winter in your bioregion a time of rest; a lull of activity in acceptance of nature’s cycles? Maybe February is the peak of a long and frigid season that has you curious about what your bare-skin looks like or what it was like to have full sensation in your fingers and toes…

Down here in the swamps and beaches of the tropics/sub-tropics of south Florida things are a little different: The ocean is perfect swimming temperature; the community gardens are in their full glory; with the mosquitoes at bay, it’s perfect weather for hikes through the pine flatwoods, cypress swamps and dwindling scrub lands; what’s left of local citrus trees offer a fresh-squeezed daily immune-system boost; and our season of kicking ass against developers and venture capitalists who are trying to turn this amazing bioregion into a sprawling concrete playground for the global elite is just about to reach climax.

Come out of hibernation and back out onto the frontlines! It’s that time of the year again, when the Earth First! network gathers up to hash out crucial movement decisions & direction, party their brains into mush and then invigorate the hosting bioregion with some badass action(s). So, start making your travel plans & affinity group schemes, it’s time for the Earth First! Organizers’ Conference/Winter Rendezvous: Feb. 15th – 20th 2006 Palm Beach County, South Florida. The meetings will be the 15th-17th at the Everglades Youth Camp inside the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, which has full facilities (including cabin options, a swimming hole and, uh… alligators). Friday night will be the annual ‘Night To Howl!’ gathering of the Warrior Poets Society, so bring poems, songs and stories to share. The weekend will continue on a primitive campsite as the winter rendezvous and fiesta. Bring your workshops, music, and hiking gear and plan on sticking around, potentially, for a following week of actions.

The conference will include reports; evaluating strategy, tools & tactics; examining our visions & aspirations; where we’ve been, where we’re going; state repression review; anti-oppression check-in; and bioregional round-ups. We also hope to offer some extra attention this year to the question of solidarity beyond borders (national and cultural), and perhaps strategize a bit on an international level. We are issuing an invitation to activists outside the USA and are seeking translation assistance as part of this effort.

After the conference, protests are planned. In the wake of a monumental court victory against the Army Corps of Engineers, the battle against Scripps Florida Biotech Research Park is heating up to be one of the largest, broadest and most successful campaigns in this region’s eco-activist history. Massive land scandals, corporate biotech nightmare, bio-hazardous waste issues, bio-prospecting in the majority world, brutal animal research and an active construction site (still in operation as of this email, despite illegal permitting and more pending lawsuits) are all within a mile of our lovely camp in the swamp.

$25-50 donation requested. Bring basic camping gear, including your own kitchen utensils. Please notify the planning committee if you will be needing childcare or have any other special needs.

EF!OC 2006 committee: PO Box 961, Lake Worth, FL 33460 (561) 547-6686

Conflict Resolution Techniques

  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Show the person/people respect
  • Ask them to show you respect
  • Tell them your first name, ask for theirs and use it often
  • Use a low, calm tone of voice
  • Use non-inflammatory language
  • Use a non-threatening body posture (sit down, give them space)
  • Don’t make sudden movements
  • Keep people from crowding around and talking over one another
  • If you’re already sitting down and you want to get up, do so slowly
  • Look them in the eye, but let them avoid eye contact if they want
  • Avoid using substances that interfere with clear thinking
  • Be honest and sincere
  • Ask them what it is they want and how you can help
  • Listen intently, and don’t talk until they’re through venting
  • Without necessarily agreeing, let them know you understand their position
  • Tell them what you think they are trying to tell you
  • Tell them what you like about their position
  • Validate and show an understanding of their situation
  • Don’t debate the issue or confront their complaint directly, instead calmly communicate your reasons for your actions
  • If you feel frustrated or you’re not getting anywhere, step back and let another person take over
  • Clarify any possible misunderstandings
  • Clearly tell them what you want
  • Assure them that you want them to be treated fairly
  • If the person is out of control, shift their attention away from sources of anger
  • Find a common ground to build trust on
  • Agree to disagree
  • Be aware of other people’s boundaries
  • State the obvious (I don’t want to fight)
  • Leave them an honorable way out
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Get advice from someone you trust
  • Walk away

from The Earth First! Direct Action Manual