A  web·guide to sustainable development, conservation & the glocal environment




Definitions of ecoterrorism

FBI’s “Threat of Eco-Terrorism”

     · Develops comprehensive background of United States ecoterrorism as well as providing the

     following definition: “The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a

     criminal nature against innocent victims 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.”

Harvard’s “What is Called Ecoterrorism”

     · Delves into the stigmatization and development of the term ecoterrorism

ACJS’s “Environmental Extremists and the Eco-Terrorism Movement”

General information & history

History of Ecoterrorism

     · Comprehensive explanation of the history of ecoterrorism and individual groups.

Historical Analysis

     · Subjective history of ecoterrorism from its origins into today     

Historical Trends of Bioterrorism

Historical Perspective of Agro-terrorism

Context of Eco-Terrorism

     · Provides historical background of term, including criticism of the term. Then provides a history,

       structural breakdown, and critical look at the organization ELF

Source list on motive behind arson and terrorist acts  

Focal organizations

Deep Green Resistance

Earth First!

Earth Liberation Front (ELF)


Animal Liberation Front (ALF)


Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)


     FBI report

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

     "A Terrorist Threat”

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS)



Comprehensive list of events 1984-2002

     · “drawn from ALF/ELF communiqués, media reports, law enforcement officials and publications of the movement”

List of animal rights and eco-activist acts since 1983

“Operation Backfire”

     · ELF arson in 2001



1982 Rocket attack Superphénix     

     · Attack made on nuclear power site Superphenix by Swiss Green Party leader Chaim Nissim


     Chaim Nissim


US Department of Homeland Security

     · Report using the case study of “Operation Backfire”

Indo-American Approach to Law and Policy

FBI on Eco-Terror Arson Case

The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act (AETA)

Notable individuals

Nissim, Chaïm

Rodgers, William C.  



     The Vale Arson

Select readings

Andrews, Candice Gaukel. 2016. “Eco-Avengers: Just Monkeywrenching or Ecoterrorism?”

Daniels, Phillip. 2012. “Understanding Eco-Terrorism - The controversial & criminal, mislabeled & misunderstood, tactless & tortuous concept that might actually benefit sustainability at both the micro and macro levels – but at what cost?”

Dickson, Russell W.2011. “U.S. Gov. Thinks Eco-terrorism is as bad as Islamic Terrorisim.

Dunlap, Riley E. Deep Ecology and Radical Environmentalism.

Glick, Daniel. Powder Burn: Arson, Money, and Mystery on Vail Mountain

Hirsch-Hoefler, Sivan  and Cas Mudde. Ecoterrorism: threat or political ploy? December 19, 2014

Komp, Catherine. Vilified as 'Terrorist', Eco-activists Face New Offensive by Business.

Leader, Stefan H and Peter Probst. The Earth Liberation Front and Environmental Terrorism

Monbiot, George. 2011. “Eco-terrorism: the non-existent threat we spend millions policing.”

Better Active Than Radioactive!: Anti-nuclear Protest in 1970s France and West Germany

Orlans, F. Barbara, In the Name of Science: Issues in Responsible Animal Experimentation.

Vanderheiden, Steve. 2005. Eco-terrorism or Justified Resistance? Radical Environmentalism and the “War on Terror”

NATO opinion  paper

     · President of International Environmental Security responds to recent attacks


Arada (2017)

The East (2013)

Add: Night Moves (2013)

Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist (2010)

If a Tree Falls: A Story of Earth Liberation Front (2011)

Anke Larsen-Yskamp of Brandeis University developed this page in 2018.

· The term “ecoterrorism” does not always accurately portray the acts done by purported “eco-terrorists”

     and is rather controversial in its usage. Some argue that because these acts protest environmental

     injustice, they are justified, while others argue that these actions are inexcusable and malicious.

     The key readings provide some insight into both sides of this debate.

Contents of this page:

     · Definitions of ecoterrorism

      · General information & history  

        · Focal organizations

          · Incidents

            · Responses

              · Notable individuals

                · Select readings

                  · Films