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ABOUT US

WHO ARE ECO ADVOCATES NW?

Shannon Wilson (tsuga [at] efn.org) lives his life based on the premise and ethos that the pinnacle of consciousness is striving for symbiosis with the natural world and all native species within. 
He grew up in southwest Oregon's Siskiyou mountains, one of the nation's most biodiverse ecosystems. 
As an introvert child with 4 unweildy brothers whose nearest friends lived 6 miles away, he wandered the thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management wild lands behind his house during sunny days and learned the local bird species, the nearly 2 dozen local conifer species, and much of the world renowned geology of the Klamath Siskiyou Mountains. In the heart of summer drought he rescued baby landlocked coho salmon and steelhead in his local Draper creek without fear of any wild predator as long as he had his trusted dog or two near. 
While attending Selma Elementary and Lorna Byrne Middle School he learned of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the dangers of nuclear fission, clearcut logging, herbicide spraying and about the millions of acres of Klamath Siskiyou wild lands that surrounded his home 5 - 100 miles in all directions. At the age of 13 and 14 he wrote letters to the US Forest Service and Carter Administration to advocate for wilderness protection of 100s of thousands of acres of unprotected Kalmiopsis wild lands just a few miles from his home. At age 15,  he joined a group of local citizens in opposition to a proposed nickel strip mine on the prominent (and loved) 4,000 feet high pyramid shaped Eight Dollar Mountain.
After dropping out of college in 1984 for lack of financial resources to pay rent, food and utilities as well as disgust over the second installment of Ronald Reagan and the subsequent war against the natural world declared by that Administration he returned to his hometown of Selma to find another way to protect the natural world. In the late 1980's he worked in the local Rough & Ready mill and did wildland firefighting in the Siskiyou Mountains.  While working at the local mill he was struck in the back of the head by the tip of 12 foot 2x6 shot out of the feeder at high velocity, which resulted in a very large gash which required more than a dozen stitches.  After this incident he quickly realized that mill work could easily maim or kill and decided to go back to college. 
From 1988 - 1990 he attended Rogue Community College and earned an Associate of Science Degree in Forestry. Phil Wickham, a former disgruntled and discharged Forest Service District Ranger, was our instructor. He was very diligent about not portraying any specific bias for or against any specific agency agenda but he was an excellent instructor who cared deeply for the stewardship of National Forests and for some of us this stuck. However, in 1990 the Department of Forestry at Oregon State University orchestrated the dismantling of all 2 year forestry degree programs at community colleges across Oregon. 
In 1991, after working for the Umpqua National Forest as a Northern spotted owl surveyor for two seasons Shannon refused subsequent employment because of illegal deeds perpetrated by the District Ranger. In the fall of 1991 he moved to Eugene, Oregon because he learned that a large contingent of forest protection activists operated there. 
Starting in the spring of 1992 he performed surveys for the threatened marbled murrelet for the Eugene BLM which lasted through 1994.  In 1995 Shannon again refused gainful employment with another federal lands management agency, this time the BLM, because of unethical and possibly illegal practices occurring there. 
From 1991- 1995 Shannon worked with Earth First!, Public Forestry Foundation, Native Forest Council and Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild). 
From 1993-1995 Shannon attended Lane Community College and attained a Associate of Science in Energy Conservation and Management. However, before he could get started in his new "Energy Management" career President Bill Clinton signed and enacted the "Salvage Rider" (Logging Without Laws Rider) in 1995.  Just days after Clinton enacted the "logging rider" Shannon quickly resigned his position with Americorps "Green Lights Program" in protest of this action by President Clinton as well as to join organized resistance to the "Logging Without Laws Rider". From 1995 through 2003 he worked as a pivotal full time grassroots organizer (forest defender) and was arrested 3 times for civil disobedience in efforts to stop hundreds of ancient forest timber sales throughout Oregon. During that time Shannon became a pivotal part of successful campaigns that literally saved thousands, if not tens of thousands of acres of ancient forest from being clearcut. 
In 1998 he co-founded the Northwest Trails Project which later evolved into Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates (CEA) in 2001. In 2011 CEA became Ecosystem Advocates NW.  From 1995 to 2010 he served as a Executive Committee Board Member for the Many Rivers Group Sierra Club as well as a Federal Forests Issues Chair for the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club. Shannon was ousted from his Many Rivers Group Chairman position by national Serra Club leadership in 2010 for publicly criticizing destructive policies proposed and enacted by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Peter DeFazio as well as other Democratic Party politicians. He continues to work unpaid as Director of Eco Advocates NW and as the Secretary of the League of Wilderness Defenders.
 
Currently Shannon lives on 2/3 of an acre urban edible landscape crammed full of apple, Italian plum, filbert, and walnut trees, as well as grape vines among gardens just outside Eugene city limits with his partner Lisa. He owns and has driven 2 waste vegetable oil powered automobiles since 2002 saving at least 5,000 gallons of fossil fuels from being burned. He gathers, stores and processes all his own vegi fuel. He also owns 3 bicycles, two of which are vintage 1980's Miyata. He has likely ridden his bicycles in excess of 20,000 miles over the last 25 years mostly to and from meetings. He refuses to use airline travel even though he has been invited to stay with one of his brothers in Hawaii numerous times over the last 10 years. He strives to diminish his impact on the natural world and believes if one represents one self as an ecosystem advocate that one's lifestyle and actions must be congruent.   

Some of Shannon's favorite quotes from some of his heroes and others:

"We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation." - Martin Luther King Jr. April 4 1967

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."  George Bernard Shaw

"From nowhere we come, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is a flash of firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ― Chief Crowfoot 

"The antidote to despair is action."  - Edward Abbey

“Wisdom comes from wrestling with despair but not allowing despair to have the last word.” - Cornel West

"You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  George Bernard Shaw 

"For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal." - John F Kennedy June 1963

"Never doubt that a few thoughtful and dedicated people who commit acts of civil disobedient direct action can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Shannon Wilson 



 

Past Co-Directors:

Josh Schlossberg, Biomass Accountability Project
Email: biomass.greenwash@gmail.com
Samantha Chirillo see  www.forestryrestoration.org
 

 

Eco Advocates NW - tsuga(at)efn.org

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