A Heartwarming Environmental Story That Will Make You Smile; It’s One of My Favorites, Maybe It Will Be Yours Too!
Pick Axe, though filmed in 1999, is a heartening film that documents the work of environmental activists taking a stand to protect an old growth forest from logging at Warner Creek in the Willamette National Forest of Oregon. While old growth forests are technically considered protected land, after a forest fire (possibly the result of arsen in this case), it was opened up to logging as “salvage” wood. Now forest fires are a natural part of a forest’s life cycle and given time to recover, they will actualy strengthen a forest and its ecosystems. This of course can’t happen if those trees are cut in the meantime. The community of activists that came to be known as “Cascadia Free State” protected this chunk of forest by occupying and blockading the logging road for many months keeping out loggers and police alike.
There are two things that made me fall in love with this film. The first is the incredible community that was formed. The film is crafted by the activists themselves and gives a very true picture of what their time on that logging road was like. The second is that there is a happy ending (who doesn’t like those?). In the end, Warner Creek was saved and the activists who were arrested (toward the end of the film) were set free.
I watch this film every time I start to feel disheartened or frustrated about the effectiveness of working for change. It is hard not feel disempowered when you are up against people with so much money and power. But the fact is, people have brought about change in the past, and that knowledge should empower us to bring about change in the present and the future. You may not be able to save the entire planet, but you can work to better your corner of it and when we all put our efforts together, who knows what we have yet to achieve!
Below is the film in its entirety. Enjoy!