Tom Foreman's Interview with Leslie James Pickering

Back in April, National Geographic ran an interview with former Earth Liberation Front spokesperson Leslie James Pickering that featured some interesting exchanges with National Geographic’s Tom Foreman.

Foreman does a nice job of bringing out what the Earth Liberation Front is ultimately opposed to,

Pickering: . . . We’re not gonna stop at what the system tells us to stop at, because it’s the system that’s causing the problems that we’re fighting against.

Foreman: What is the system?

Pickering: The system is the status quo, you know, the American lifestyle . . .

Foreman: . . . everything that’s not you?

Pickering: (laughs) The establishment is the American dream, this capitalist society that we’re living in, this imperialist society that we’re living in, the way of life that we’re taught to appreciate and aspire to. We (ELF) don’t value property, and profits and economic gain over health or over the natural environment or over the natural world.

Foreman also catches Pickering in an obviously hypocritical position,

Foreman: So as a tactic, this idea of burning buildings is a great idea?

Pickering: Oh, it’s excellent.

Foreman: Does it ever occur to you that you’re at an age in your life when many people wouldn’t trust you to manage the Wal-Mart — let alone decide the fate of the world? Do you ever say to yourself, “Maybe 15 years from now I’m gonna see this differently?”

Pickering: Of course, of course, and that’s just it, I’m not deciding the fate of the world at all.

Foreman: But you’re deciding the fate of people when you burn their places down?

Pickering: What I’m saying is that I am not letting you or anyone you represent decide the fate of my world.

At this point, Foreman should have asked Pickering if the latter believe that anyone with strong-felt political positions has the right to go out and burn down the homes of their opponents. Unfortunately, the interview ends there.


Q&A: Extreme Environmentalist on “Radical Change”. Tom Foreman, National Geographic, April 22, 2003.

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