Ball, Betty — History of the Mendocino Environmental Center

The history of the Mendocino Environmental Center, as told by its co-founder Betty Ball, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. Betty and her late husband Gary Ball, founded the Mendocino Environmental Center, based in Ukiah, California in early 1987, which soon became a central organizing hub for several environmental movements in Northern California.

The issues in those years included protection of the Northern California coast from off shore oil drilling, an effort which has remained successful; the Forests Forever initiate campaign in behalf of the Heritage Tree Preservation Act, which narrowly lost a state-wide California election in 2002; and Redwood Summer, a non violent civil disobedience effort to protect old growth redwood trees in northern California from being logged, modeled after the Mississippi Summer civil rights projects in 1964. Shortly before the planned beginning of Redwood Summer in June 2000, Judi Bari, a Redwood Summer organizer was severely injured in a car bomb explosion in Oakland, California. In a subsequent civil jury trial the F.B.I. and the Oakland Police Department were found liable for certain matters related to the bombing, and ordered to pay over $4,000,000.00 compensation. The bombers still remain at large.

These and other issues are discussed in this interview with Betty Ball, which was recorded for video and audio broadcast on November 7, 2011, at the studios of Mendocino Access Television in Ukiah, California. We began when I asked Betty Ball what drew her and her late husband, Gary Ball into the environmental movement.

The books that Betty Ball recommends are any written by Arundhati Roy, Derrick Jensen or Chris Hedges.

This interview with Betty Ball was recorded for radio and television broadcast with the generous cooperation of Mendocino Access Television in Ukiah, California, and the engineering assistance of Mikah Mate.

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