If a Tree Falls

PBS Premiere: Sept. 13, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

Links & Books


If A Tree Falls: Filmmaker Website
The filmmakers' website for If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front features information about the film, a list of national screenings, and press clips.

Marshall Curry Productions
Marshall Curry, the director of If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, features information about his films Street Fight (POV 2005), If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (POV 2011) and Racing Dreams (POV, Spring 2012) on his production website.

Earth First!
Earth First! gave rise to the Earth Liberation Front. This group's website includes news on current environmental issues, events and actions, as well as an extensive set of links to other environmental organizations.

Native Forest Council
In the film, this organization is mentioned by activist Bill Barton. Its website features articles and other resources related to the protection and preservation of public lands in the United States.

Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
The Earth Liberation Front website describes the group's actions and philosophy.

The New York Times. "Activist or Terrorist, Rendered in Red, White and Green." (June 8, 2011)
John Anderson reviews If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, citing the multiple questions and debates the filmmakers hoped to present to viewers.

Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Movement Under Siege. (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2011)
Will Potter reflects on the FBI's response to radical environmentalism with an emphasis on the questionable use of the term "eco-terrorism."

Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010)
Paul Wapner argues that environmentalists need to shift their focus from wilderness preservation to the encouragement of nature in urban and agricultural spaces.

Eco-warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement . (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Books, 2005, first published October 1990)
Professor Rik Scarce chronicles the splintering of the radical environmental movement in the 1970s and '80s, and provides a new chapter on the ELF in this updated version.


The Debate Around "Eco-terrorism"

BlueRibbon Magazine. "Ecoterrorism: A Darker Shade of Green - What Happens When a Commitment to Save Nature Results in Crime?" (March 1998)
Credited with coining the term "eco-terror," Ron Arnold examines why crimes committed by radical environmental groups are seldom investigated thoroughly, in this 1998 article. He encourages people to post more information about the crimes online, thereby making "eco-terror" a more pressing concern for the public.

The Seattle Times. "Is Ecosabotage Terrorism?" (May 16, 2006)
Hal Bernton jumps in on the debate around labeling ecosabotage as acts of terrorism. He outlines the reasons that the FBI classifies these acts as terrorism and investigates them as such, but also challenges these arguments citing that attacks on abortion clinics, some of which have included deaths, are not given the same terrorist label.

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
A search for the term "eco-terrorist" yields a list of links to news releases, reports and proceedings related to the FBI's pursuit of environmental "extremists."

FoxNews.com. "FBI: Eco-Terrorism Remains No. 1 Domestic Terror Threat." (March 31, 2008)
This article featured on FoxNews.com features the FBI definition of "eco-terrorism," as well as information about FBI informant operations in efforts to catch ELF members.

The Christian Science Monitor. "'Ecoterrorism' Case Stirs Debate in US." (May 18, 2007)
This article details the ecoterrorism case against ten environmental radicals known as The Family. When they pleaded guilty to crimes of arson prosecturers pushed to add "terrorism enhancements" to their sentencing, sparking debate between animal rights activists and the government.

Alternet. "Why Does the Govt. Treat Peaceful Enviro Activists More Harshly Than Extremists Who Aim to Kill?" (May 13, 2011)
Brittney Shoot offers us a Q & A with Will Potter, author of the book "Green is the New Red" about at-risk activists and his qualms with the misuse of the term "terrorism" within the context of non-violent demonstrations.

Lewis & Clark Law School's Environmental Law Online. "'Ecoterrorism'? A Critical Analysis of the Vilification of Radical Environmental Activists as Terrorists." (Law 38, no. 2.)
Enviornmentalist Rebecca K. Smith examines the ways in which the term "ecoterrorism" has wrongfully become synonmyous with radical environmenalists, being embraced by both lawmakers and mainstream media alike.

U.S. Government Printing Office. "Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act." (November 27, 2006)
This link provides the full-text of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which extended the range of legal prosecution of activists, making it a criminal offense to interfere with not only "animal enterprises" but with any property of a person or entity having a connection to, relationship with or transactions with an animal enterprise.
View the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act on DocumentCloud »

Domestic Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "USA PATRIOT Act."

The USA Patriot Act, passed in 2001, is intended to punish terrorists acts at home and abroad while enhancing law enforcement's investigative powers to prevent such acts.
View the USA PATRIOT Act on DocumentCloud »

American Civil Liberties Union. "How the USA PATRIOT Act Redefines 'Domestic Terrorism.'"
The ACLU informs us how the USA Patriot Act expands the broad definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, allotting the government greater investigative powers.

Harper's Magazine. "To Catch A Terrorist." (August 2011)
Petra Bartosiewicz's article depicts the government's search for hypothetical terrorists, often employing invasive surveillance procedures and conducting secret arrests. It details the vast array of FBI investigations into Arab-Americans and the bureau's preventeive measures to stop the next terrorist attack.

The Washington Post. "Monitoring America." (December 20, 2010)
This 2010 feature by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin details the growth of surveillance, intelligence, and counterterrorism efforts in the United States in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The article notes that extensive resources are now used to monitor U.S.-born citizens who could potentially carry out a devestating attack.

The White House. "National Security Strategy, May 2010."
This PDF file outlines National Security measures The White House is currently employing and plans to implement in order to better protect American citizens.

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
The FBI website features a number of articles and publications in reference to current counterterrorism efforts. Notable reports include "Domestic Terrorism in the Post 9-11 Era," "A New Era of National Security, 2001-2008," "Protecting America from Terrorist Attack: Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces," and "FBI Law Enforcement Bullitan 76, no.12" which outlines terrorist activities, identifies how terrorist cells operate, and supplies a flow chart on the radicalization process.

Civil Rights Organizations

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
A search for "eco-terrorism" on the American Civil Liberties Union website produces links to articles concerned with the labeling of political dissent and conservation groups as having ties to "eco-terrorists."

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
In 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) initiated a lawsuit challenging the existence of and conditions in so-called "Communications Management Units," the types of restricted spaces within prisons where McGowan has been serving his sentence since 2008. Citing alleged violations of due process rights and claims of retaliation against prisoners by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, CCR has argued that these special prisons unfairly monitor, punish and discourage political speech.

The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch
This project of the Center for Media and Democracy tracks and reports on corporate public relations efforts to influence public perception and policy debates. Search for the term "environment" to find specific reports related to environmental issues.

Civil Liberties Defense Center
The Civil Liberties Defense Center is a nonprofit organization focused on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, legal support and assistance. Lauren Regan, the group's executive director, is interviewed in the film and provided legal council to McGowan and other defendants in the case.