What Is Ecological Terrorism or Ecoterrorism? Who Are Environmental Terrorists?
What Is the Definition of Terrorism?
There is no single internationally accepted definition of terrorism. Terrorism is the application of violence to motivate someone else for doing something they wouldn’t want to do otherwise. For example, if Alice wants Bob to give her his candy, and she tells him if he doesn’t give her his candy she would break his laptop, then this is terrorism. Because if Bob gives her his candy, it wouldn’t be because he wants to, but because he is worried of having his laptop broken.
Global terrorism by organized groups has become one of the major issues in its scale, unpredictability, and ramifications with which humanity enters the 21st century.
Terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations increasingly threaten the security of many countries and their citizens, entail huge political, economic and moral losses, and exert strong psychological pressure on large masses of people. The goal of violence is to achieve the desired development of events for terrorists – revolution, destabilization of society, unleashing war with a foreign state, independence of a certain territory, fall of the prestige of power, political concessions from the authorities, etc.
What Is Eco-Terrorism?
Despite numerous publications, the modern international scientific community has not yet come to a common understanding of the term “eco-terrorism,” nor has it developed a comprehensive and universally acceptable definition. Environmental terrorist groups have become a feature of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, committing large-scale acts of vandalism against civilians and nature, rather than a struggle for the defense of political ideas.
Because of their horrific consequences, eco-terrorism cases can be described as a major threat to international security.Environmental terrorism requires more attention than it receives today, as it is a real threat not only to a particular region but to the entire world. Eco-terrorism is more dangerous than many other terrorist crimes, since violent actions are applied to citizens and their property indirectly through the environment and the biosphere, the existence of which is subsequently difficult or impossible for all living things.
To define this kind of terrorism, it is necessary, first of all, to make a clear distinction between two concepts: environmental terrorism proper and radical environmentalism, which are often confused.
Accusations of environmental movement activists and radical environmental groups of environmental terrorism are quite common in the media. The very combination of “environmental terrorists” in its semantic meaning cannot be applied to an activist of an environmental movement. Environmental organizations do not destroy anything, so Greenpeace is not a terrorist group. Environmental terrorism is a crime aimed at polluting or destroying the environment, while environmental activism (radicalism) is the activity of people of environmental organizations and movements aimed at protecting the environment. However, some people consider the way of protesting by the eco-radical groups as terrorism. Well, who is right? Let us answer the question of if ecological radicalism is similar to terrorism on the example of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) organization.
Is PETA a Terrorist Group?
PETA fights animal rights abuses in legal ways. They investigate animal cruelty and conduct scientific research that helps mankind replace animal resources with something else. PETA also makes sure that all laws that protect animal rights are upheld. They use celebrities to stage protests. PETA produces provocative videos that are hard for the faint of heart to watch. But they are sure to change minds and attitudes to animal problems. “Free the Animals” sung by singer Sia is the main theme of a new public service announcement. The action takes place at a fashion show, where animals parade around in clothes made of human skin. The video also shows a workshop where people are killed for the sake of fashionable clothes. Sia was happy to share her song for the PETA social project. She noted that the popularity of materials not obtained in a cruel way shows that people care about this problem.
Except that the organization is constantly criticized in the media. The FBI website even published a dossier on PETA and their animal and ecological terrorism acts. The FBI posted letters that contained threats to various corporations. It listed PETA as an environmental terrorist organization. Other evidence of wrongdoing was also published there. But the biggest scandal was the fact that members of the organization advocated the killing of homeless animals. PETA killed 1,647 animals in 2012 who could not find owners. The pro-ecological community considered this as a PETA terrorist act and many people left the organization. As we can see such organizations use different tools for achieving their goals and for some, such actions may be seen as terrorism.
To sum up, eco-terrorism in the history of the 21st century has become one of the prominent challenges to public and international security. It is multifaceted in its pursued goals and types of manifestations, and has been able to use the achievements of modern science and technology to its advantage. In some cases it acquired the status of state terrorism and has been transformed into super terrorism. Environmental terrorism turned out to be directly related to the problem of the survival of mankind, ensuring the national security of states.