What is radical environmentalism?

It is not a very well known term and yet we have all known about it in some way. The radical environmentalism is a nonconformist movement what does he postulate ecocentrism as a way of life on the planet. It has been associated with the term ecology, but although they are related, they differ in their principles.

It has also been antagonistically associated with the productivism and the technological development, since its purposes are totally opposites. Apply ways of living responsible with the environmentBut its position can be so radical that it has come to be called “ecoterrorism.” There is a great controversy around radical environmentalism, which can only be resolved if we know it a little more.

Bases of radical environmentalism

Radical environmentalism has associated with ecology and, although it can be said that it is based on the ecological balance concept, its principles are different.

First, the ecology is a “Science that studies living beings as inhabitants of an environment »(DRAE online, see ecology). The definition is completed with the annotation that it also includes “the relations that they maintain with each other and with their own environment. For his part, environmentalism is defined as “Socio-political movement that advocates the defense of nature and the preservation of the environment ”(DRAE online, see environmentalism).

Goals of radical environmentalism

Radical environmentalism is considered a ‘green’ movement. His followers are called “ecologists” or “environmentalists.” Looking for raise awareness about balance that must exist between human needs and the needs of natural ecosystems. They are based on the fact that human beings are part of natural ecosystems and the relationships that are established in them. Its ultimate goal is to achieve Sustainable human “civilization” in the natural environment in which it exists.

What characterizes radical environmentalism

First of all, it is a nonconformist movement. Reject the status quo consumer societies and advocates a greater awareness of the value of nature. To do this, they are organized into grassroots groups to bring about direct actions in favor of preservation of ecosystems.

Two proposals in this sense are the ecovillages and the ecological economy. The first ones are self-sustaining communities both energetically and nourishingly, which carry a life in balance with the environment.

The second is related to alternative economic models that take into account environmental and social variables. Some groups support the sustainable development as a conservation measure, while others advocate the decrease and the reduction of expendable human needs.

Forms of radical environmentalism

  • Naturalistic environmentalism: you can say that it is the most “ecocentric”, since it leaves aside human interests and focuses on the importance of animal species, especially in the fight against their extinction.
  • Environmentalism liberal: his vision of the conservation of the planet is related to the production of wealth. To do this, search alternatives to resource scarcity, but without questioning the orientation or the aims of the exploitation.
  • Technicist environmentalism– Bases your actions on concrete data on pollution and statistics on world population growth. Based on them, they propose Technical advances that allow the use of alternative energies to reduce pollution levels.
  • Environmentalism sociological-political: addresses issues related to human being as animal speciessuch as overpopulation, hunger and depletion of natural resources. However, it leaves out fundamental questions of human dignity.
  • Humanistic environmentalism: It can be said that it is the opposite vision to sociological-political environmentalism, since it defends the solidarity side of the human being with the environment. Is the way less accepted environmentalism, without political weight or strength against economic power.
  • Spiritual environmentalism: is based on the human being, but how be spiritual. Seeks enhance respect for the environment, emotional protection and spiritual wealth in line with nature.
  • Comprehensive environmentalism: with his holistic view of nature, tackles the destruction of the environment from all possible points of view.

Some radical environmental organizations

  • Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Founded in 1977 by Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace, this organization fights against Whale’s hunt in Japan, from seals in Canada and sharks financed by China and Japan, in addition to fighting for preservation of the Galapagos Islands.
  • People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. Organization based in the United States, fights to preserve the rights of animals by promoting the vegetarianism and rejecting the speciesism.
  • Animal Liberation Front. Its members are organized in cells that carry out violent actions for the liberation of animals. Its purpose is to avoid the economic profit of animal exploiters. It is considered as ecoterrorist organization.
  • Earth Liberation Front. Similar in its way of acting to the ALF, this organization fights in against industrialization and for the defense of the environment and the Earth.

The dark side of radical environmentalism


More than 5,000 criminal actions all over the world in defense of animalism, including assassinations, assaults with weapons, attacks, explosions and attacks on facilities. Is the darker and extreme face radical environmentalism, which has been described as ecoterrorism.

Its highest incidence has been in the United States, but it is beginning to be a global reality. In Spain, attacks on hunting posts have proliferated, attacks have been perpetrated against public institutions, such as the Barcelona city hall or the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and violent protests have been made against animal abuse.

Political manipulation of the term

Many political groups have used the sentiment generated by the defense of animals and the environment to use the environmentalism as a political slogan.

Many do so as faithful believers in the principles of this naturalistic movement. However, others do it to offer an attractive face without actually having ecological goals. Left-wing groups are often associated with radical environmentalism, but often as a simple pose.

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