The Writings of Jim Britell

The Wilderness Papers

Forever Wild in the 21st Century—essays on grassroots wilderness political organizing

These essays explore wilderness or “preservation” side of grassroots political organizing. They suggest new tactics, strategies and technologies. Old campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful are revisited to find useful lessons and review long lost organizing techniques.

Today the American public is all green all the time, everyone’s an environmentalist now. But the Environmental “Preservation” agenda, as compared to the “conservation” agenda, is disappearing from the public debate. Preservation includes new federal wilderness preserves, opposing sprawl, overdevelopment, clearcutting, overfishing, CAFOs and welfare ranching. It opposes motors, ATV’s, snowmobiles, roads in wilderness, and industrial recreation. Today these issues have moved off the back burner and on to the back porch. These essays discuss:

  • The Zone Defense method of grassroots organizing.
  • A wildly successful campaign from the 1950’s that could revolutionize today’s campaigns.
  • Principles or rule sets from successful and unsuccessful wilderness campaigns

8/08 The Plover Campaign - Zone Defense (ZD)
How twenty national, state and local groups in rural Oregon pooled members and resources to create a new organization to thwart an ATV threat in 2002

10/08 The Golden Age of Grassroots Wilderness Political Organizing
A Wilderness campaign that took ten years, stopped 38 dams, and educated all the voters in New York State about Wilderness values. America’s finest wilderness organizing.

11/08 Wilderness Rules: A Rule Set for Grassroots Wilderness campaigns
Today's wilderness activists are the fifth generation working to keep wild roadless places in their natural state. This essay abstracts the rules and lessons from successful and unsuccessful wilderness campaigns of the past.

08/10 What Would Alinsky Do? (WWAD)
His last interview explained how NOT to run a grassroots campaign. Campaigns today often fail because they abandon approaches of past masters, embrace strategies we were warned against, and replicate failed campaigns.

  • All materials, copyright © 2008-09 Jim Britell.
  • OK to forward/re-post, as long as the entire article is kept intact along with this notice.
  • No commercial use or editing without permission.

Home | Consulting Services | Biography | Index of Writings | jim@britell.com