Protester on upturned vehicle. Photo by Orin Langelle, photojournalist, environmentalist and a graduate of Webster University 1978.
By Don Corrigan
Trees have never been so important as now. Stands of trees can help counteract harmful climate change. That’s, in part, why a national and local fight continues to halt destruction of old growth forests.
Residents interested in the fight for trees may want to attend the film, “Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing.” The documentary will show at 7 p.m., Feb. 18, at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University.
It documents a past battle in the 1980s and 1990s, when a dedicated group of activists fought on the ground and in the courts to stop clear-cutting, oil and gas drilling, and ATV use in the Shawnee National Forest located in Southern Illinois.
Jan Wilder, Rene Cook and unidentified child. Photo by Orin Langelle.
The activists were successful for a time, but the battle begins anew because the prohibition on many such activities in the Shawnee National Forest was lifted several years ago. That gives the film particular relevance.
Karla Armbruster, an English and Sustainability Studies professor at Webster University, was instrumental in bringing the documentary to campus. She cited some photos in the film that were taken by world-renowned photographer, Orin Langelle, who honed his talents in Webster’s media studies program.
“I associated this kind of protest with the Pacific Northwest and was thrilled to learn that it happened here in the Midwest,” said Armbruster. “It sounds like more activism of this kind is needed now to keep our forests healthy.
“This film offers not only a history lesson but also encouragement that ordinary people, who care, can really come together and make a difference,” she added.