Top 4 Environmental Extremist Groups

4. Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
“Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to returnto good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.”

So says the homepage of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT, pronounced vehement).

The basic concept behind VHEMT is the belief that the Earth would be better off without humans, and as such, humans should refuse to breed. However, this does not mean humans should be forced not to breed. The group was founded by Les U. Knight, whose stated life’s work is “to phase out the human race by non-coercive means.”

3. Earth First!
“To put it simply, the Earth must come first.” This sums up the basic ideology of ‘Earth First!ers. Earth First! is a radical environmentalist group that believes anything must be done in order to protect mother earth. Members of the group believe in biocentrism, the belief that every life of every species is equally valuable.

Earth First! is most well known for its alleged attempted bombing in the UK in 1990. In the incident, a bomb placed in activist Judi Bari’s car detonated, injuring her and fellow activist Darryl Cheney.

Earth First! was formed in the spring of 1980 after angry environmentalists decided the environmentalist movement was being ‘sold out’ by mainstream environmentalists working for corporate cronies.

After the Bari bombing incident, EF became primarily associated with non-violent direct action activities.

Earth First! was the first ‘mainstream’ environmental extremist group. In fact, the more well known Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and its sister group, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) evolved from Earth First!

2. Greenpeace
Greenpeace started in 1970, when activists from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament wanted to stop a planned nuclear test in Alaska. The test was not prevented, but it laid the groundwork for the Greenpeace organization.

Though the organization is nonviolent, it has engaged in some radical, though nonviolent, activities. In French Polynesia, Greenpeace engaged in civil disobedience to protest nuclear experiments taking place there.

In 1985, the French blew up the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior to prevent the organizations protest of nuclear testing.

Since then, Greenpeace has only been more radicalized. It has chained itself to coal power plants, and recently made headlines blocking Japanese waling ships from refueling.


The Earth Liberation Front (ELF); the Animal Liberation Front (ALF); the Revolutionary Cells—Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB); the Animal Rights Militia (ARM); the Justice Department (not the government’s). These are all animal and environmental extremist groups. Are they all basically the same movement under different names? Most likely.

Earth Liberation Front (ELF):
ELF was founded in 1992 by members of the Earth First! movement. In 2001, the FBI named ELF the top domestic terrorist threat. ELF has carried out many attacks, mostly arson.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF):
ALF evolved in the UK from a group called the Bands of Mercy, which opposed fox hunting. In the U.S., it appeared in the 1970s. Since then, it has grown internationally. ALF has taken part in many raids to, in their opinion, rescue animals on which tests are being performed, or are kept in zoos, aquariums, etc. One action that was very successful was the movie “Unnecessary Fuss”, which was produced in part with PETA. The 26 minute long video showed researchers laughing and joking as they used a hydraulic device to cause brain damage to baboons.
ALF is officially against violence.

Revolutionary Cells – Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB):
RCALB has been accused of being the ‘terrorist wing of the Animal Liberation Front’. ALF does not support the actions of RCALB. RCALB has taken responsibility for two successful bombings (luckily no one killed) and a third attempted bombing.

Animal Rights Militia (ARM):
ARM has taken responsibility for several mail bombs, and is most famous for a 68 day long hunger strike. ARM has been accused as being another militant wing of ALF.

Justice Department
The Justice Department, also accused of being another militant wing of ALF (also denied), has been accused by The Independent of “the most sustained and sophisticated bombing campaign in mainland Britain since the IRA was at its height.” The organization has attempted to assassinate Prince Charles, and has also attempted the assassination over 80 researchers.

Simmons also blogs at Thoughts on Global Warming

If you want to find out all the latest developments out of the environmental movement, whether extremist or more normal, why not subcribe to our RSS feed? We’ll even give you a free album.