A Theoretical Case for Reasonableness

Solutions for Radical and Mainstream Environmentalists
  • Nicholas P. Guehlstorf
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 4)


Radical American environmental groups like EARTH FIRST!, Greenpeace, and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) have claimed responsibility for a list of arsons, defacements, and property damages aimed at the producers, researchers, and proponents of food biotechnology.20 Since 2000, fervent green activists have executed passive, but illegal, street theatre demonstrations such as those at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Boston, staged highly aggressive demonstrations as seen at the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, and conducted violent riots at shareholder meetings for the grocery chain Safeway (Martineau, 2001). Whether they are burning crop experiments in research fields at land grant universities in the Midwest or stealing shipments of produce at food markets on the East Coast, their acts of defiance are indicative of the deep ecological concerns some American environmentalists have with genetically modified food (Martineau, 2001; Teitel, Wilson, & Nader, 1999). More important, when Greenpeace activists dumped tons of genetically engineered soy meal onto an American flag outside the biotechnology conference in France or when eco-terrorists destroyed a University of Washington horticultural lab, they were dismissed as ecological anarchists and not environmental freedom fighters by members of the same political movement (Malkin, 2001). That is, most acts by radical ecologists are rejected by mainstream environmental groups because these groups condemn all demonstrations that destroy intellectual capital and improperly characterize the environmental movement as revolutionary.


Environmental Justice Radical Environmentalist Civil Disobedience Environmental Movement American Environmentalism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas P. Guehlstorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Illinois UniversityEdwardsvilleUSA

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