Environmental terrorism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Environmental terrorism is the unlawful destruction of resources in order to deprive others of its use. The term also refers to the unnessesary destruction of the environment for personal gain.


Defining environmental terrorism

There are academic and semantic difficulties in defining “terrorism” and specifically “environmental terrorism.” But discussions of environmental terrorism are growing, with a focus on identifying possible risks to natural resource or environmental features. Some,[1] including in the military [2] argue that attacks on natural resources can now cause more deaths, property damage, political chaos, and other adverse effects than in previous years.

Chalecki distinguishes between environmental terrorism and eco-terrorism. She notes that environmental terrorism can be defined “as the unlawful use of force against in situ environmental resources so as to deprive populations of their benefit(s) and/or destroy other property". In contrast, eco-terrorism is the violent destruction of property in the interest of saving the environment from human encroachment and destruction.[3] More concisely, environmental terrorism involves targeting natural resources. Eco-terrorism involves targeting the built environment such as roads, buildings and trucks, ostensibly in defense of natural resources. Other analysts may fail to distinguish between these different threats.[4]



The term eco-terroism has been used in the media to refer to environmental terrorism. Usually however Eco-terrorism refers to violence done to persons or property in the name of the environment or environmental causes.

Economic Sabotage

The term economic sabotage was previously used by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and some members of the UK Parliament to describe the physical and emotional intimidation that anti-vivisectionists (violence-inclined animal rights activists) had unleashed during 2002-2004 on pharmaceutical and chemicals companies and animal testing laboratories, along with their employees, suppliers, financial backers, investors and customers. In response,Mr. Blair proposed the enactment of criminal legislation to address such illegal acts.[5] Mr. Blair had been inspired by a then recent Danish anti-terror law which had been used by a Copenhagen court to fine the Environmentalist group Greenpeace 30,000 kroner (4,900 dollars, 4,000 euros) following a protest in October 2003 against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Scandinavian country's then robust pork industry. "The terror legislation allows the courts to hold organizations responsible for the actions of their individual members."[6] Apparently, Danish pig farmers had then been experiencing what maize, oilseed rape, sugar and/or fodder beet farmers in the UK had previously fallen victim to in connection with GMO crops. Indeed, during the late 1990's and early 2000's, economic sabotage had been used by environmentalists to threaten such UK farmers who had then been participating in GMO crop trials approved by the UK government.[7] Ironically, the goal of the trials had been to ensure that the first generation of GMO seeds did not endanger human health or the environment.[8] These continuing incidents of economic sabotage apparently had alarmed the UK government, which had been desperately trying to keep life science and biotechnology company jobs and investments in the UK.[9] Unfortunately, such criminal acts have continued in the UK, [10] where the courts persist in sanctioning them,[11] by finding the perpetrators (e.g., Greenpeace) not guilty.[12] And in the U.S., they now encompass various forms of 'civil disobedience' encouraged by high profile American politicians like former Vice President, Al Gore [13] and federal agency officials like NASA’s James Hansen[14] in opposition to fossil fuel-based energy sources (i.e., in connection with the global warming[15] and climate change debate).[16]

In the prior Lord Melchett GMO crop destruction trial, a British Court had found Greenpeace UK executive director, Peter Melchett and 27 other members of Greenpeace not guilty of trespassing, vandalizing and attempting to remove six acres of a GM maize crop on account of the "Tommy Archer defense”, which"relied on the jury accepting that the defendant genuinely believed that the action would prevent greater damage being done". Similarly, the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal charges for causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station owned and operated by the energy giant E.ON. The jury based its verdict on the same justification - "Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a 'lawful excuse' to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage".[17]

See also


  1. ^ Chalecki, Elizabeth (September 2001). "A New Vigilance: Identifying and Reducing the Risks of Environmental Terrorism" (PDF). Pacific Institute. http://www.pacinst.org/reports/environment_and_terrorism/environmental_terrorism_final.pdf.  
  2. ^ Butts, K.H., C.W. Turner, and C. Jasparr (September 2003). "Environmental Security Cooperation". Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usacsl/Publications/CSL%20Issue%20Paper%2007-03.pdf.  
  3. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2001, page A10
  4. ^ "Environmental terrorism - definition". http://law.jrank.org/pages/11976/Terrorism-Environmental-terrorism.html.  
  5. '^ Eaglesham, Jean and David Firn (Nov. 18, 2004). "Animal rights extremists to face 'economic sabotage". Financial Times. http://www.ethicdiscussion.com/discuss/index.php?s=990ebaac82bda9b7072eb613a4fea575&showtopic=8516&mode=threaded.  
  6. ^ "Greenpeace Fined 4,000 Euros Under New Danish Terror Law". Agence France Presse (AFP). June 10, 2005. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmafp/is_200506/ai_n14755215/.  
  7. ^ Kogan,, Lawrence A. (June 28, 2005). "Economic Sabotage: A Form of Free Speech?". New Zealand Rural News. http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/ukshowlib.phtml?uid=9099.  
  8. ^ "In the UK 'Economic Sabotage' is Still a Form of Free Speech". Institute for Trade, Standards and Sustainable Development. June 2005. http://www.itssd.org/Publications/AgBioViewArchivesJune15-EconomicSabotage%5B2%5D.pdf.  
  9. ^ "PM speech on DTI five-year plan". Nov. 17, 2004. http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page6596.  
  10. ^ Edwards,, Richard (August 5, 2009). "Animal rights militants target Novartis pharmaceutical boss Daniel Vasella". Telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5977454/Animal-rights-militants-target-Novartis-pharmaceutical-boss-Daniel-Vasella.html.  
  11. ^ Gray, Louise (Sept. 10, 2008). "Protesters cleared of damaging power station". Telegraph.co.uk.. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3351380/Protesters-cleared-of-damaging-power-station.html.  
  12. ^ O'Carroll, Eoin (Sept. 11, 2008). "Greenpeace activists cleared of damaging UK power plant". Christian Science Monitor - Bright Green Blog. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2008/0911/greenpeace-activists-cleared-of-damaging-uk-power-plant.  
  13. ^ Nichols,, Michele (September 24, 2008). "Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants". Green Business. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE48N7AA20080924.  
  14. ^ Nelson,, Tom (Sept. 6, 2008). "Hansen: Coal plant vandals actions ‘justified’ because of ‘emergency situation’". Canada Free Press. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/4864.  
  15. ^ Veazey, Liz (April 1, 2008). "NC Youth Stop Coal Plant Construction: 8 arrested!". Student Environmental Action Coalition. http://www.seac.org/node/89.  
  16. ^ Mufson, Steven (Sept. 4, 2007). "Coal Rush Reverses, Power Firms Follow; Plans for New Plants Stalled by Growing Opposition". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090301119.html.  
  17. ^ McCarthy, Michael (Sept. 11, 2008). "Cleared: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law". UK Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cleared-jury-decides-that-threat-of-global-warming-justifies-breaking-the-law-925561.html.  


  • Baechler, G. 1999. “Environmental Degradation and Violent Conflict: Hypotheses, Research Agendas, and Theory-building.” In Ecology, politics, and violent conflict, edited by Mohamed Suliman, 76-112. London: Zed Books.
  • The Gilmore Commission. 2000. “Second Annual Report to the President and the Congress of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. II. Toward a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism.” Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 15 December 2000.
  • Gleick, P.H. 1993. "Water and conflict." International Security Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 79-112 (Summer 1993).
  • Gleick, P.H. 1998. The World’s Water 1998-1999: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Covelo, CA: Island Press.
  • Lietzmann, K.M. and G.D. Vest. 1999. Environment & Security in an International Context. Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society - Final Report, March 1999. Report No. 232. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. 174 pp.
  • Schwartz, D.M. 1998. “Environmental Terrorism: Analyzing the Concept” Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1998, pp. 483-496.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address