“Al Qaeda gunmen kill French EU worker in Yemen, officials say.” “Gaza's Hamas executes 2 alleged spies for Israel.” “13 killed in Afghanistan bombing; Taliban claims responsibility.” “Lebanese MPs fail to elect president on second try as Hezbollah-led alliance boycotts vote.” These headlines have appeared on news sources such as Fox News and CNN just within the last week. It is hard for the American people to forget what happened on 9/11 and for that, the American media, political climate, and population in general are all focused on terrorism abroad. According to Tim Lister, a correspondent for CNN, the world’s 10 most dangerous terrorists all reside either in the Middle East or North Africa; none from within the United States.1 Almost every ‘most dangerous terrorist organizations’ list on the internet is absent of any domestic group. If they do have one, then it is the Ku Klux Klan.
Even within the United States, people only know the extreme right-wing group such as the Ku Klux Klan, Army of God, and the Sovereign Citizens. However, there is a rise in left-wing groups in America. Eco-terrorism is gaining popularity in the United States as issues including fracking, oil, and the claim of global warming are becoming more common at the dinner table and water cooler. Specially, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is at the forefront of American environmental terrorism. Many new sources and experts in the field have urged politicians and the American people to take ELF seriously as they are dedicated to their mission and are willing to go to great lengths for their cause.
ECO-TERRORISM AS A WHOLE
Though environmental terrorism and eco-terrorism seem similar on the surface, there is a stark difference between the two forms of terrorism. Elizabeth L. Chalecki defines environmental terrorism 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.”2 She later on describes eco-terrorism as “the violent destruction of property perpetrated by the radical fringes of environmental groups in the name of saving the environment from further human encroachment and destruction.”3 While the former targets natural resources the latter targets objects or infrastructure that exploit the environment.
Radical environmentalists believe that it is the human race’s job to ensure the preservation of the Earth and its resources. Currently, we are exploiting Earth’s resources with deforestation, massive mining operations, and massive amounts of oil and coal consumption. Their foundational philosophy is that humans are just like any other living organism on Earth and that every organism is equal. Because everything is equal, animals and the environment should have legislative protection and basic rights. Eco-terrorists end goal is to restore that environment to the natural state as if humans never existed and human society would live in a pre-industrial state. 4