agencies and bureaus, starting with the Glen Canyon Dam project. This began an estrangement with the
leadership in the mainstream environmental organizations that more or less willingly collaborated in this
in it viable. It marked a shift from a rearguard strategy (mainstream) to protect wilderness to an
processes such as the flow of rivers could continue.
The mainstream environmental movement is now perceived by many as out of touch with people’s deep
concern about environmental degradation, has become systematized. The activists use approaches such
as industrial vandalism or “ecotage” to foster dramatic results.
Some other methods employed are tree spiking, tree sitting, road blockading, demonstrations, tree
bridges, power line, etc.)
There may be some complimentary results of the efforts of both mainstream and radical groups. The
large environmental organizations, while denouncing the radical’s confrontational activities, have then
at an end” it means that the civilization complex has lost its reference point by overwhelming the
Toynbee writes that the ecological scarcity of the future will be so severe that the “within each of the
beleaguered ‘developed’ countries there will be a bitter struggle for control of their diminished
“ecological elite’s” where power and status are increasingly measured not merely by economic control,
is competing with ownership of German autos and Swiss watches. It is becoming the main preoccupation
non-genetic engineering, it is often indirectly determining what species will be exterminated to increase
reexamine and reject the accepted values of the civilization complex in its entirety, a unique event is
As stated above by historian Toynbee, a conflict may lead to the imposition of authoritarian regimes.
Political scientist Ophuls offers a similar view, that “in the light of ecological scarcity… the individualistic
maximum freedom of action, and laissez-faire itself all require abandonment if we wish to avoid
inexorable environmental degradation and perhaps extinction as a civilization”. Economist Heilbroner
authoritarian, or possible only a revolutionary,! regime will be capable of mounting the immense task of
social reorganization needed to escape catastrophe”.
similar conclusions about this unproecedented problem, it suggests, at the very least, that the
environmental crisis has made our culture obsolescent in ways we have yet to contemplate, with our
scope of the environmental crisis should make us question our entire history on Earth, back to the
generations who may wonder how these generations could have been caught up in such minor
moderate stance, the estrangement between its professional leadership and grass-roots activists, the
destruction as a result of unfettered industrial development.
The Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups concentrated its efforts on environmental
pristine for the benefit of the nonhuman creatures that dwelt there was considered somewhat ethereal
On the other hand the founders of Earth First! chose big wilderness whose ecological equilibrium was still
undisturbed by industrial society as their central concern – the basic unit of radical environmentalism.
ultimately connected, any particular component, including that relatively expendable part called
humanity, can be secure only if the entire ecosystem remains healthy. Keeping pollution under
The basic tenets of the Earth First! movement:
No compromise in defense of Mother Earth.
There is a need for a radical wing that would make the Sierra Club look moderate. Someone has to say
what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done and take the kinds of strong action to dramatize
Earth First! wants to make the mainstream environmental groups operate more effectively by making
them appear reasonable in comparison. It also strives to be a force in its own right, taking whatever
actions within its means that were necessary to protect the ecology, irrespective of the mainstream
environmental movement’s agenda or the niceties of politics or even the constraints of thelaw. Earth
First! should stand for the radical proposition that the natural world should be preserved for its won
position that in its academic setting was known as biocentrism, or more generally Deep Ecology.
The central idea of Earth First! is “that humans have no divine right to subdue the Earth, that we are
stewardship as that implies dominance. Instead we believe, as did Aldo Leopold, that we should be plain
no use of mechanized equipment or vehicles; no roads; no logging, mining, water diversion, industrial
overflights by aircraft; no priority given to the safety and convenience of human visitors over the
functioning of the ecosystem. Even more visionary than these land community guidelines was the
demand for the restoration of dams, roads, power lines, and the other intrusions of industrial society.
5. The campaign of the Sea Shepherds brought international attention to the problem of unregulated
whaling. Norwegian authorities began an investigation of a bank that had part ownership in the pirate
operation, a Japanese fishing company became the object of an inquiry, and the
South African government began a crackdown on pirate whalers operating out of its country. Over the
years the Sea Shepherds made many campaigns, from stopping seal hunts along the Labrador coast to
destructive drift nets in the North Pacific. The action of most note is the raiding of a Reykjavik whale
processing plant and the harbor and subsequent sinking of whaling ships operating under the guise of
The Sea Shepherd activities not only attracted media; its militant activities also succeeded in influencing
the environmental movement as a whole.
on commercial whaling. The “ecological awakening” felt by the Icelandic people as an direct result of the
raid was proof that radical environmentalism was affecting people in ways the leaders of the mainstream
environmental movement never dreamed of. The ability of the Shepherds to win the support of a
otherwise have been reluctant to endorse ecotage.
6. Though both groups share common feelings about environmentalism, their actions are at opposite
ends of the spectrum. Deep Ecology is basically theologic in its approach, whereas
Ecology represents the Sein Fein faction while Earth First! represent the armed radical faction of an army
of activist environmentalists.
individuals interacting in a variety of ways. It is ecological, recognizing that life depends on life, that
keep to the perception that makes the environmental crisis a subject of discourse: the deep feeling
grief and outrage many people feel at the extirpation of nature is directly addressed by Deep Ecology’s
message that we must unlearn anthropocentrism and develop a less imperial culture that allows for the
continued existence of the natural world. While humanist environmentalism remains in its academic
setting, Deep Ecology has inspired people to begin education t! he culture of extinction about the
necessity of environmental humility. Some have likened the theory and practice of this activism to the
Earth First! represents the “rage” and reaction that radical environmentalists feel toward the destruction
of the natural world. They are not only acting out their rage, on the contrary, the theory and practice of ecotage are as well thought out as the politics of reform. Forman’s notion of monkeywrenching, based
on the belief that if profit brings the resource industry into the wilderness, loss of profit due to
continuing equipment damage, production delays, and increased security will drive it out. “The cost of
repairs, production delays, and increased security will drive it out.” It may be too much for the
bureaucrats and exploiters to accept if there is a widely-dispersed, unorganized, strategic movement of
resistance across the land. Such a movement has developed, though not on the scale radical
environmentalists would wish.
Ecotage probably costs the resource industry and government agencies between $20 and $25 million
annually. One can only speculate as to the ef! fect that has had on decisions made in corporate
boardrooms. Most Earth First!ers do not believe ecotage is a substitute for major social changes; rather,
it is a stopgap measure – “damage control” – to protect as much of the natural world as possible until
such change is brought about, one way or another.
7. It tells us that society values property and the higher standard of living through technology over the
natural world and any rights the natural world may be entitled to even though the majority of society on
exploited groups whose 9th amendments rights can be violated. From the perspective of the radical
environmentalists movement, this state of affairs is exactly the problem.
any claim to the protection of the law. We now find this position both repugnant and ridiculous. In the
extend legal and ethical standing to the “deer people” and the “tree people”.
Radical environmentalism is best understood as an attempt to enlarge the circle of legal and ethical
standing (9th amendment rights) to include other species and even entire ecosystems. Using this theory
when society as whole, i.e. in large numbers, gets behind the biocentric movement to the magnitude it
got behind the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60’s and 70’s.8. Much of the breakdown of
civilization is that we seem to rely on a totalization of values, values represented as universal,
applicable to everyone, at all times. Through totalized values, organized societies have at their
command a medium through which to dictate the kind of human behavior that enhances the power of
those in control. Whether those values result in people plowing a field, working in a factory, or dropping
quotidian acts of civilization’s citizens.’ Industrial man and the industrial society may be the most
deleterious and unsustainable economic system the world has ever seen, since it constantly eats into
the ecological systems on which it depends.
We are beginning to realize just how costly a system it is as the health and cleanup bills from years of
environmental abuse come due. Not surprisingly, those who benefited most from the extravagant rise of
the industrial economy have done their best to pass the burden on to others: the poor, the unwary, or
The role that industrial man must take for the ultimate survival of the natural world is that he must take
people can live in dignity on this planet; to quibble over whether that line has yet been crossed is to
invite a game of ecological brinkmanship that there is no need to play. And if human population has not
effect present population levels have on the nonhuman world.