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The knack How to be an eco-warrior

"If your local environment is under threat, try the normal channels first. Call a meeting and get as many useful names and phone numbers as you can. Find out who has access to fax machines, the Internet and photocopiers, and get them to contact the local newspapers to complain about the proposed scheme. Ask local groups for support; try writing to anyone in authority who may be able to halt the `development'. Look for irregularities in the planning applications. Cross-reference company names, building contractors, names of directors and major shareholders against the council and look for links: for example, wife works in planning department, husband has building company.

If conventional means aren't enough, take non-violent direct action, such as placing yourself in a tree to prevent it from being destroyed. Secure the site at risk by defining the area you wish to take, by tape or rope, and also on an ordnance survey map. Take a copy of this to the nearest police station and also pin a copy onto the rope along with copies of Section 6 and 12 of the Land and Countryside Act, which offers protection for buildings and land. Use the media to get your point across. Keep your spokespersons as locally led as possible and remember that in an average TV or radio interview you'll only have one to two minutes, so learn your soundbites in advance." Interview by Fiona McClymont

Jeremy Middleton is a member of the E-Team, a mobile organisation which provides information, training and support to people living in areas at risk of ecological destruction (tel: 07970 392904, e-mail: eteam@cableinet.co.uk)