The Stump Makers

1963, 22 min., color, DVD

The Stump Makers: “Cutting the Lungs Out of the Planet” Judy Bari

the stump makersRent or Buy smallIn The Stump Makers, Harvey Richards presents footage of wasteful forest practices and ecological devastation caused by major logging companies’ clear cutting operations in California and Oregon in the early 1960’s. Traveling on logging roads into the coastal mountains of California and Oregon, Richards followed the logging crews into the last great stands of old growth redwoods and documented their complete annihilation under the tracks of bulldozers, chainsaws and giant log loaders.  When the crews finished their work, they left mountain sides denuded, the rich deep soils, built up over millennia, pushed into creeks and scarred with deep gullies.  Corporate policies took no notice and assumed no responsibility for the ecological destruction of the forests. When the profits dried up, the corporations abandoned the mills, the logging towns and the clear cut mountains, leaving the local populations and environments to suffer the consequences.

Judi Bari of Earth First called this process “Cutting the lungs out of the planet.”  Now in light of current global warming and climate change, we can see the truth of her characterization and, in these images, the real meaning of short sighted, destructive corporation control of our natural resources and communities. Corporations, claiming to be entitled to the privileges of personhood under our constitution, and yet devoted to the narrow vision based on profit only, have led the us down a blind alley.  Refusing to take responsibility for the ecological destruction they have caused, while squandering the wealth they helped create, corporations have let society and nature suffer the inevitable decline we are all witnessing today.

Using some of the same footage as Harvey Richards’ film Wasted Woods, The Stumpmakers documents the impact of clear cutting on the environment and logging communities reliant upon the industry.

Topics: redwoods, old growth forests, 1960s.

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