The Stump Makers

1963, 22 min., color, DVD

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

Rent 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.

About the Harvey Richards Media Archive: The Harvey Richards Media Archive contains a treasure of images of the political and social justice upheavals of the 1960s on the west coast and of the devastating impact of capitalist resource exploitation in western forests, and mines among other subjects.  All of his 22 films are available for streaming, downloading and as DVDs. The interest and demand for his images has continued to grow along with the interest in the legacy of the 1960’s political and cultural upsurge. Estuary Press is the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive video and photo image collections.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way by Nina Serrano and Heart Suite, a trilogy of three books of poetry by Nina Serrano. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of the social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, or visit for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577;

Topics: redwoods, old growth forests, 1960s.

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