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RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM Emily Roberts – Myth Debunking/What is Radical Environmentalism? Will Scheffler – Failure of Legislation Anna Schonleber – Effective.

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Presentation on theme: "RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM Emily Roberts – Myth Debunking/What is Radical Environmentalism? Will Scheffler – Failure of Legislation Anna Schonleber – Effective."— Presentation transcript:

1 RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM Emily Roberts – Myth Debunking/What is Radical Environmentalism? Will Scheffler – Failure of Legislation Anna Schonleber – Effective Tactics Heidi Hirsh – Case Study (Sea Shepherd: Reykjavik Raid)


3 EARTH LIFE FORCE 1977  “This was the first eco-guerrilla unit to use direct action and the name ELF. As originally conceived, the ELF would have no central leadership or chain of command. Each cell was intended to be autonomous and an individual could join or drop out at will. Anyone could call him or her self a member of ELF but no one can be an ELF leader.”   “ELF strives to inform and inspire the people” about environmental issues

4 EARTH FIRST! 1979  “Our front-line, direct action approach to protecting wilderness gets results. We have succeeded in cases where other environmental groups had given up, and have drawn public attention to the crises facing the natural world.”

5  “We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience and monkey wrenching.”  “It is not an organization, but a movement. There are no "members" of Earth First!, only Earth First!ers. It is a belief in biocentrism, that life of the Earth comes first, and a practice of putting our beliefs into action.” 

6 EARTH LIBERATION FRONT 1992  “If, as stated, the ELF's mission is to defend and protect the Earth for future generations by means of direct action, then the high moral road must be taken in order to succeed.”


8  Claim: Radical environmentalism is the same as eco-terrorism

9  Eco-terrorism: the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people 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  As defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation  Ecotage: sabotage with an ecological motive  Oxford English Dictionary

10  “A dialogue with other activists led to a consensus that terrorist actions were clearly counter-productive to the environmental movement - regardless of the perceived righteousness of a given cause. The public will always reject violence and destructive actions.” 

11  “Regardless of the frustration we all feel about the enormous perils facing our Mother Earth, engaging the perceived wrong-doers with threats, intimidation and destructive tactics will always fail. Fighting fire with fire will get you burned.” 

12  Claim: Radical environmentalism is violent and puts others in danger

13  The tactics used by radical environmentalists are not meant to harm or kill people, but rather to stop actions that would negatively impact the environment  Monkey wrenching: to sabotage, disrupt, or damage as a form of environmentalist protest  Ecotage: sabotage with an ecological motive  Oxford English Dictionary

14  John Hanna, original ELF founder, was convicted for using explosives on federal property. He no longer advocates for the group but still says:  “ELF took extraordinary measures to avoid loss of life or injury. The devices were designed so only the low-yield detonators would fire. The napalm mix had been allowed to solidify so it could not catch fire. The fuses were set to ignite at 2:00am. I waited nearby until all the detonators exploded. If someone would have happened by, I was prepared to warn him or her off even at the risk of capture.” 

15  Claim: Radical environmentalists are misinformed about the issues and ultimate impacts of their actions

16  Advice on the Earth First! website:  Educate yourself on the ways you can attract attention to environmental concerns and dissuade people and corporations from destroying the Earth.  Learn the law. While getting arrested will often bring increased media attention, weigh all the options. Freedom is an important asset. Avoiding jail is sometimes a better strategy.  Become aware of the risks to which you will be exposed. Activists are often arrested during legal actions by police ignorant of the law.

17 CONCLUSION  The intent is not to harm others, and radical environmentalists take safety measures to try to decrease any possible dangers  Radical environmentalism uses direct action that will draw public attention to an environmentally harmful action  Their focus is on immediately stopping the action before the natural resource is lost due to the ineffectiveness of the slowness of legislation


19 TABLE OF CONTENTS Environmental Legislations: - Outdated - Inherently Full Of Compromises - Full Of Loopholes, Short Sight, and Corruption - Take Too Long To Be Enacted

20 LAWS ARE OUTDATED  National Environmental Protection Act: 1970  Clean Air Act: 1970, Amended 1990  Clean Water Act: 1972  Ocean Dumping Act: 1972  Endangered Species Act: 1973  Safe Drinking Water Act: 1974


22 LOOPHOLES Loopholes in current laws: - RCRA allows “scrap” hazardous e-waste to be shipped to other nations Energy Policy Act of 2005 = “Halliburton Loophole”

23 SHORT SIGHT  EPA failed to publicize information about common weed-killer in drinking water.

24 CORRUPTION Breakup of MMS over Deepwater Horizon Blowout.

25 LENGTH OF TIME IT TAKES TO DRAW UP NEW REGULATIONS The adopting of environmental legislation and the enacting of regulations take extremely long just like any piece of government legislation, if not longer due to its highly controversial nature.

26 WORKS CITED   owiecki owiecki  



29 COMBATING OVER FISHING  Operation Blue Rage 2011  Trying to lower the quota for Bluefin tuna  Sea Shepherd holds the position that the quota should be set at zero  Each Year Sea Shepherd sends out ships to search for illegal fishing operations

30 OPERATION BLUE RAGE 2011 “We would be happy to remove ourselves from what should be the business of the ICCAT and the EU, if only they were actually doing the job.” (

31 JULIA “BUTTERFLY” HILL Goal: To prevent the clear cutting of of the giant redwood forest by Pacific Lumber Co. Live 180ft in “Luna” a redwood tree Live on two 6ft by 6ft platforms for 738 days

32 RESOLUTION  Decision reached in 1999  Pacific Lumber Co. agreed to preserve Luna and all trees with in a 200ft buffer zone  Hill agreed to vacate Luna  $50,000 was given to the logging company which was then donated to Humboldt State University to go toward research into sustainable forestry

33 THE COVE  Movie reveals massive dolphin slaughtering in Taiji, Japan  Called attention to high mercury levels in dolphin meat that was getting sold as part of a government sponsored school lunch program  IWC (International Whaling Commission)  Dolphins aren’t regulated by the IWC 


35 SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY  “We don’t protest whaling – we oppose illegal whaling activities. Our opposition are criminals engaged in illegal behavior.” (

36 FAILURE OF LAW  1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling  Purpose:  Give the world’s dwindling population of whales a chance to recover.  Allow time to develop a satisfactory data base for determining a sustainable hunting quota for any future whaling.  Icelandic government announced plans for a four-year study of whale populations.  “analysis” would require killing several thousand fin, sei, and minke whales  Japan and Norway followed suit


38 TACTICS  Mainstream environmental groups failed  Attempted to bring about the declaration of a boycott on Icelandic fish products  American secretary of commerce, Malcolm Baldridge  Two Sea Shepherds succeeded  Destroyed the refrigeration system at Whales Limited  Dismantled diesel engines  Demolished the laboratory  Poured acid on computer files  Sank two ships of the four-vessel whaling fleet $4.8 million worth of damage

39 REPERCUSSIONS -  Two scuttled ships were raised but no longer seaworthy for further “research”  Persuaded Icelanders to change their views on whaling  Questioning of the formulation of environmental policy  Rise of Iceland’s first activist environmental group  Hvalvinurfelag (“Friends of the Whale”) Ecological Awakening eatures/iceland-whaling-makes-no-sense-030209/

40  Capt. Paul Watson flew to Iceland in 1988 and turned himself in to the authorities in accordance with the Sea Shepherd guideline of accepting moral and legal consequences for one’s actions.  His presence was embarrassing for the Icelandic government  He was held without charge for 24 hours then expelled without cause

41 CASE STUDY REFERENCES  Manes, Christopher. Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990.  Watson, Paul. "The Big Green Do Nothing: Fundraising Machine Condemns Activism." Sea Shepherd. 10 Nov. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2011. commentary-and-editorials/2011/11/10/the-big-green-do-nothing-fundraising- machine-condemns-activism-492  Sahagun, Louis. "Whaling Clash Highlights Two Hollywood Donors." The Los Angeles Times. LA Times, 07 Jan. 2010. Web. 06 Dec. 2011.. 


43  There is too much time between realizing that there is an environmental problem to getting legislation passed to fix the problem  It also takes time for the legislation to kick in and have any sort of effect on the problem

44  Chart from a PBS article on the Clean Water Act

45  The chart continues to present times to show that there are still environmental problems that the act is not able to fix but that people may assume are covered by it.  This creates the need for further action to draw public attention to the existing problem

46 REBUTTAL  Sea Shepherd believes they act under the World Charter for Nature of the United Nations which allows NGOs to help enforce environmental laws (within the boundaries of law) when authorities fail to effectively do so.

47 OBJECTIVE  Radical environmentalism looks to bring media attention to bigger issues though tackling smaller issues themselves

48 SEA SHEPHERD GUIDELINES  Sea Shepherd crew members cannot use weapons.  They cannot use explosives.  They cannot undertake any action that could result in a physical injury to humans.  They must take responsibility for their actions.  They must accept moral and legal consequences for their actions.

49 INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT  English schoolchildren raised $25,000 in a save-the-whale walkathon in  Warner Brothers – Sea Shepherd II  Hollywood Donors  Ady Gil  Bob Barker  Animal Planet - Whale Wars  Hayden Panettiere

50 VERSUS GREENPEACE  The Accusation (from John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace) “…we feel that we are winning the battle against whaling by talking to the Japanese themselves. Sea Shepherd are confronting Japanese people aggressively and it is exacerbating nationalism, and actually making it more difficult.“  Defense (Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd) “Let me see John…Greenpeace builds a 33 million Euro ship to conduct fundraising tours while we intervene directly against illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. While you guys sent origami whales to President Obama to protest Japanese whaling, we sent the Japanese fleet home with only 17% of their kill quota. Sea Shepherd has prevented the slaughter of nearly 3,000 whales while Greenpeacers were sitting and eating whale meat with the Japanese to demonstrate so-called sensitivity to Japanese culture. Greenpeace street solicitors tell the public that they send ships to the Southern Ocean, although they have not done so since 2006. They blatantly lie to raise funds.”

51 CRITICS  The critics of Deep Ecology and radical environmentalism have been anything but restrained. Accused radical ecologists of… “being fascists and Marxists, terrorists and mystics, people with axes to grind and hucksters in pursuit of wine, women, and song, destroyers of local economies, purveyors of distrust, obscurantists, atheists, misogynists and misanthropes.” (Green Rage, p. 151)  “if any insult has been left out of the list, apologies are in order.” –Edward Abbey

52  “Radical environmentalism is best understood as an attempt to enlarge the circle of legal and ethical standing to include other species and even entire ecosystems. In this interpretation, radical environmentalism is anything but revolutionary and extremist; it borders on patriotic.”  “If conservation is defined ethically, it fits quite squarely into the most traditional of all American ideals: the defense of minority rights and the liberation of exploited groups.”  GOALS:  Affect the public  Influence legislation  Express personal moral opposition to environmental destruction

53 PEACEFUL DIRECT ACTION CODE 1. Our attitude is one of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all beings we encounter. 2. We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any being. 3. We will not damage any property and will discourage others from doing so. 4. We will not run. 5. We will carry no weapons.  Civil Disobedience: a form of bearing witness to injustice, a way of highlighting the violence of environmental exploitation by standing up peaceably in opposition to it.  “Direct action in the ecology movement is one way to generate tension, to expose myths and assumption of the dominant mindset, to create a situation in which corporations, developers and government agents are willing to negotiate.” – Bill Devall  Force industrial society to explain itself, to justify its actions.

54  Bear witness to injustice  Highlight environmental opposition by standing up peaceably in opposition to it.

55 URGENCY  Extreme urgency of the environmental crisis  No second chance  Once an old-growth forest is cut, it will not grow back for hundreds of years, if ever.  Once a species becomes extinct the battle is lost.  The purpose of ecological civil disobedience is not to make farreaching changes in society’s views of the environment, but merely to buy time for legal redress or for the emergence of public pressure.  Ex: Little Granite Creek  “I’m happy to be here facing harassment by the FBI. I think I’m here because I’ve been effective in bring attention to the crisis on the planet.” – Dave Foreman

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