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If a Tree Falls (2011)If a Tree Falls (2011)

           Daniel McGowan (b. 1974) seemed like a normal guy after graduating from college. Some time after college, though, he connected with the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group made infamous by its economic sabotage through property damage. The ELF believes that working through conventional channels for change is fruitless, and so they've resorted to "ecotage", claiming responsibility for hundreds of acts of arson. They've burned down timber companies, wild horse corrals, meat packing plants, and even a university building. This film was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary for its portrayal of the ELF in general and the case of Daniel McGowan in particular. What's especially disheartening is not only the damage to the environment, but chronic corporate malfeasance, police violence against non-violent protest, and, in a bitter twist for the defendants, being legally declared a "terrorist" and so subjected to enhanced sentencing. McGowan faced life in prison plus 335 years, but took a plea bargain for seven years in prison… in a terrorist prison set up by the Bush administration. I watched this film on Netflix streaming.

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