Environmentalism, Eco-Terrorism and Endangered Species

by | Jan 25, 1999

An underground environmental group called Earth Liberation Front (ELF) claimed responsibility for incinerating four ski lifts (October 1998) and three buildings worth 12 $million at Vail, Colorado. Vail’s plans to expand its ski area apparently clashed with environmentalists’ plans to re-populate the “endangered” lynx in Colorado. ELF destroyed this property “on behalf of the lynx” […]

An underground environmental group called Earth Liberation Front (ELF) claimed responsibility for incinerating four ski lifts (October 1998) and three buildings worth 12 $million at Vail, Colorado. Vail’s plans to expand its ski area apparently clashed with environmentalists’ plans to re-populate the “endangered” lynx in Colorado. ELF destroyed this property “on behalf of the lynx” and warned skiers to ski elsewhere this winter.

While mainstream environmental groups may try to distance themselves from ELF and its “eco-terrorist” methods, the truth is that ELF did directly what mainstream environmentalists have been doing indirectly for years via the U.S. government’s Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Since becoming law in 1973, the ESA has been used in countless ways to inflict harm on people in the name of protecting endangered species and their habitats. The Northern Spotted Owl became famous when timber production was virtually halted in the Pacific Northwest to protect the species.

In Oregon in 1992, the water regularly supplied to several Oregon farmers from the Klamath Irrigation Project near the Oregon-California border was cut off by government to protect the shortnose sucker and the Lost River sucker, causing severe damages to crops and livestock.

In California, construction was halted on the San Bernardino Medical Center and, later, on a neighboring subdivision to protect the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. Near Bakersfield, Calif., a farmer was arrested in 1994 by Fish and Wildlife officers for inadvertently killing five Tipton kangaroo rats while plowing his own soil. His tractor and plow were seized as “murder weapons.” Under the ESA he faced heavy fines and three years in prison.

What motivates environmentalists to protect endangered species with so much zeal that they are oblivious to the harm inflicted on people?

Some environmentalists assert that “species diversity” is beneficial to humans. Yet, environmentalists are among the staunchest opponents of genetic engineering, which has vast potential for creating new species. Some assert that an endangered species could hold beneficial medical secrets. But in 1991 when Taxol — processed from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree — was discovered to be highly effective in treating certain forms of cancer, environmentalists blocked people from harvesting the tree. It seems that whenever human needs conflict with the “protection” of nature, environmentalists invariably put nature first.

The real motive behind environmentalism is stated by David Graber (a biologist with the U.S. National Park Service): “We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have intrinsic value ….”

This “intrinsic value” philosophy means that man must value nature — not for any benefit to man, but because nature is somehow a value in and of itself. Hence, nature must be kept pristine despite any harm caused to humans. We must halt activities beneficial to us, such as farming, forestry, cancer treatment, in order to safeguard fish, birds, trees, and rats.

Throughout history, people were told that they must sacrifice their lives to God, the king, the proletariat, the nation, or the Fuhrer — all with deadly consequences. And environmental legislation, such as the ESA, provides government with massive powers to enforce such sacrifices. What disasters could such power lead to?

It’s difficult to predict but certain environmentalists have expressed their preference. “Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature,” writes biologist Graber, “some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” City University of New York philosophy Professor Paul Taylor adds: “[T]he ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty ‘Good Riddance.'”

While extreme, these anti-human sentiments are logically consistent with environmentalism’s “intrinsic value” philosophy: Since man survives only by conquering nature, man is an inherent threat to the “intrinsic value” of nature and must therefore be eliminated. Environmentalism makes man the endangered species.

The only antidote to these anti-human types is to reject their anti-human philosophy and uphold man’s right to pursue his own life and happiness as his nature demands — by improving his environment via technology, production and development.

Because governments are supposed to protect individual rights, not violate them, we should stop handing government the power to sacrifice people to nature, and demand that it relinquish any such power it currently wields. (This is especially urgent given that Canada’s Environment Minister Christine Stewart — facing intense lobbying from environmentalists — recently announced plans to introduce endangered species legislation next spring.)

As for the eco-terrorists who destroy property and (in the case of the Unabomber) even harm or kill people, they would not be so brazen in committing terrorism were in not for the moral sanction they currently derive from the anti-human philosophy underlying environmentalism. Furthermore, governments stripped of its power to sacrifice people to nature would have more resources and resolve to track these criminals down and bring them to justice.

Glenn Woiceshyn is a freelance writer, residing in Canada.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Have a comment?

Post your response in our Capitalism Community on X.

Related articles

The Real Meaning of Earth Hour

The Real Meaning of Earth Hour

The lights of our cities and monuments are a symbol of human achievement, of what mankind has accomplished in rising from the cave to the skyscraper. Earth Hour presents the disturbing spectacle of people celebrating those lights being extinguished. Earth Hour symbolizes the renunciation of industrial civilization.

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest