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Amanda Hooper


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Do extremist tactics push environmentalism forwards or backwards?

Burning down buildings, spiking trees, bombing whaling ships, and poisoning fruit juice. These are examples of protest by groups known as eco-extremist or eco-terrorism groups. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) describes 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.” Simply, ecoterrorism can be thought of as acts of violence in support of environmentalism.

The documentary-style reality show “Whale Wars” follows an extremist group that throws bombs at whaling ships to discourage them from whaling. Instead of convincing them to stop, the bombs anger the whalers. Groups like Greenpeace have been working peacefully to negotiate the termination of whaling, and they have been successful. For example, in 2010 Greenpeace Japan activists worked with retailers to significantly cut the demand for whale meat, which in turn decreased the number of whales hunted. Also through campaigning, Greenpeace has helped the people of Japan become aware of corruption in the Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ) and the whaling industry. The FAJ has since acknowledge this corruption and started to right the wrongs of the Japanese whaling industry, resulting in a reported 30% drop in whale meat sales as of January 2011.

Can extreme tactics ever result in forward progress similar to the progress Greenpeace has made in Japan?


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    May 31 2012: Hi Amanda,
    This is a very good topic , as you rightly pointed out , protests has to be done in a peaceful manner . Awareness , spreads like a wild fire among people. The more people are aware of the current environmental situations,more environmental concerns get addressed in a very quick way .

    So obviously ,extremist tactics push environmentalism backwards.

    • May 31 2012: I agree that extremists push environmentalism backwards for the most part. In a way voices need to be heard (at times extremists are the only ones to step up to the plate). However, it is apparent that most people are turned off by the extremists fighting the battle than jump on board to share the battle.
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        May 31 2012: Hi Molly,
        Like I mentioned , we must use peaceful means first to resolve an issue. If that doesn't work , then we must protest peacefully again and again till the solution is resolved.

        Through Peaceful protest,we gain respect from the opposition and it ll really make them think about the issue at hand.

        Whereas .Extremist behaviour leads to hostility among parties and it will spoil relationships between or among the concerned parties.

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        May 31 2012: Hey Molly,

        Do you think that extremist are the only ones stepping up to the plate, or are their actions the only ones that are widely publicized due to the outcomes of their actions? Is there a way for both voices to be heard as well as encourage others to join the fight using less extreme tactics?

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