What is Ecofeminism Anyway?
Community Forums
Grassroots Activism
Ecofeminist Perspectives
Links to Allies
Ecofeminist Resources
Back to Eve Online

Judi Bari Dies

Judi Bari, 47, died of breast cancer at her cabin home in Willits, California on March 2, 1997.

Judi was a charismatic, outspoken Earth First! activist whose organizational leadership to stop the destruction of old-growth redwood forests was unparalleled. Echoing the civil rights protests of the 60s, in 1990 she helped create Redwood Summer by calling on students nationwide to come to Northern California to protest the corporate loggings of irretrievable ancient trees.

Tactically brilliant, Judi brought together working class loggers (labor) with environmental activists, stressing their common enemy: the profit-obsessed transnational corporations.

Her ability to forge crucial alliances came with a price. In 1990, at the height of her power, a bomb exploded under her car seat leaving her permanently disabled. The FBI agent in charge of the operation investigating the bombing, Richard Held, was the same man in charge of Leonard Peltier's arrest, the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, and the FBI's COINTELPRO program which targeted political activists. Judi and her political comrade, Darryl Cherney, who was also in the car, regarded the bombing as a political assassination attempt.

Judi's law suit against the Government for civil rights violations was in progress at the time of her death. The legal action continues on behalf of her estate and her two young daughters.

Judi was also instrumental in helping take back Earth First! Based in Montana at the the time, the organization was sliding toward a more macho posture. She helped to relocate it to its current home in Oregon where it has assumed a somewhat more ecofeminist sensibility.

Judi was a natural orator. Her passionate defense of the earth coupled with an evolved political consciousness and keen grasp of the issues made her in demand for speaking engagements.

Judi had an outrageous sense of humor. Her story of how Earth First! activists (mostly women) wrapped yarn around trees to thwart loggers' chainsaws is hilarious and has been captured for posterity in Greta Gaard's video "Ecofeminism Now!"

Judi's obituary in The New York Times revealed an interesting, little-known fact. Her sister is Gina Kolata, a frequent Times reporter on health and science issues. How ironic, since it was theTimes—the "paper of record"—that contributed so consistently to the dissemination of negative and false information about the bombing, Judi Bari, and Earth First! activities in general.