The Tributaries of Radical Environmentalism by ProQuest


Although I have not fully conveyed the diverse ideas and subcultures upon which radical environmentalism drew, I have labored to illuminate little-understood and neglected dynamics that have inspired and animated radical environmentalists. Deep ecology philosophy, the emergence of monkeywrenching, and conservation biology have clearly played key roles. But so have the other streams of thought I have described, especially those promoting or reinforcing perceptions of the sacredness of life, which animates most radical environmentalists. This sensibility not only provides a life purpose, it also drives their activist passions. This is the main stream coursing through the watershed of radical environmentalism.

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									The Tributaries of Radical
    ■ Bron Taylor, University of Florida

        adical environmentalism most commonly brings to mind the actions
        of those who break laws in dramatic displays of “direct action” in
         defense of nature. Such action—which may involve civil disobedience
and sabotage—has led to charges that these activists are terrorists and fears
that they may harbor or hope to develop weapons of mass death.1 The focus
on their tactics, real and imagined, often obscures their religious motivations
as well as their ecological, political, and moral claims, which I have analyzed
in a series of articles published since the early 1990s.2 Here, after providing a
primer on the beliefs and motivations that undergird radical environmental
action, I examine the tributaries to such movements, primarily focusing on
the period before they came into public view in 1980 after the formation of
Earth First!.3
   Contrary to a declaration in the movement’s first official newslet
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