Eco-terrorism, also called ecoterrorism or green terrorism, does not exist because the people labelled eco-terrorists are not engaged in behaviors intended to terrorize individuals. While defintions of terrorism vary, nearly all include the intention of perpetrators to elicit feelings of terror. Those who are labeled as eco-terrorists are typically engaged in acts of property destruction or freeing animal captives to educate society by drawing attention to evils. Such acts are violent protests that may be illegal acts but they are not terroristic. Mostly all environmentalist are put in this category.

Eco-terrorism is defined by the FBI as "the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature." [1] This characterization of property destruction as "violence against property" rather than as vandalism is highly contentious. Within this article, however, acts labeled eco-terrorism by law enforcement are considered, whether or not they involve violence against persons or living things.

The FBI has credited to eco-terrorism 200 million dollars in property damage from 2003 and 2008, and a majority of states within the USA have introduced laws aimed at eco-terrorism.[2]

Application of the term Edit

The acts described by law enforcement organizations as eco-terrorism vary widely. Many involve sabotage of equipment and unmanned facilities using arson. Tree spiking, the embedding of metal spikes in trees, is sometimes described as eco-terrorism. In the case of Peter Daniel Young, the release of minks was called "animal enterprise terrorism."

Unsurprisingly, acts of civil disobedience has been labeled eco-terrorism. For example , in 2003, a Big Business lobby, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), proposed the "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act" which defined an "animal rights or ecological terrorist organization" as "two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in an activity involving animals or an activity involving natural resources."[3] The legislation has not been enacted.

Eco-terrorism has also been used, rhetorically, to describe ecological destruction. Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has presented his own definition: "an act that terrorizes other species and threatens the ecological systems of the planet".[4] Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki described the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, as an "eco-terrorist" for failing to abide by the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.[5] Environmentalists have accused corporations ranging from ExxonMobil [6] and General Electric to McDonalds[7][8] of eco-terrorism. Paul Watson accused Japanese Whalers of eco-terrorism, saying "They are the real eco-terrorists. They terrorise the environment."[9][10]

Groups accused of ecoterrorismEdit


Organizations that have been labeled as "eco-terrorists" in the United States include the Animal Liberation Front (ALF),[12] and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF),[12]. The FBI in 2001 named the ELF as "one of the most active extremist elements in the United States", and a "terrorist threat,"[12] although they publicly disavow harm to humans or animals.[13][14]

Ecoterrorism in fictionEdit

See alsoEdit

Ideologies Edit

Individuals Edit

Except otherwise noted, these individuals have been convicted under terrorism laws for eco-terrorism.



cs:Ekoterorismus de:Ökoterrorismus es:Ecoterrorismo fr:Éco-terrorisme it:Ecoterrorismo he:טרור אקולוגי ja:エコテロリズム pt:Ecoterrorismo ru:Экологический терроризм sr:Екотероризам zh:生态恐怖主义

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