A few days ago, in North Arlington, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the D.C. suburbs out in northern Virginia, people awoke to an unexpected scene of destruction. The tires of several SUVs had been slashed, and in the window of each affected vehicle was plastered an identical note. The manifesto read, in part:
We have deflated one or several tyres [sic] of your SUV. Don’t take it personally. […]
Scientists are entirely sure that we are very close to pushing climate change over a threshold, into a phase where it will be totally out of control and cause irreversible damage. […]
This does not have to happen if we impose a radical cut on carbon emissions. Now. Not tomorrow. That’s why we have disarmed your SUV by deflating the tires. Since you live in a city with a functioning and accessible public transportation system you will have no problem going where you want without your SUV.
—Climate Liberation Front
@FrontClimate on Twitter
The Twitter account that the wannabe ecoterrorist group created has as its tagline: “We must rise up to fight the impending climate disaster that capitalism has brought upon us.” So far, the account has just a single tweet, which warns, “This is only the beginning.” The tweet was sent by an iPhone.
The irony of iPhone-wielding anti-capitalists LARPing a green revolution is palpable, but their actions are representative of a broader trend. Many environmentalists have abandoned promoting meaningful environmental stewardship in favor of a willingness to destroy property, to punish “climate sinners,” and to control the lives of others, rather than promoting meaningful environmental stewardship. But the only real effect of the Climate Liberation Front will be the slight increase in CO2 emissions of buying replacement tires.
Legally, any “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State” that attempt to change government policy can be considered terrorism. So slashing the tires of an SUV could certainly qualify.
But outright ecoterrorism isn’t just limited to iPhone activists slashing tires.
An especially topical example of crime-in-the-name-of-saving-the-planet comes from Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who participated in ecoterrorism. If confirmed as Biden’s BLM director, Stone-Manning would oversee 12 percent of the U.S. landmass, or 245 million acres of public lands.
Stone-Manning admitted to a local news outlet in 1993 that she would have faced conspiracy charges had she not struck an immunity deal with a federal prosecutor in return for her testimony, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Stone-Manning testified in federal court in 1993 that she sent a threatening letter to the Forest Service warning that a local forest had been sabotaged with potentially deadly tree spikes to prevent logging. In other words, Stone-Manning aided ecoterrorists hiding metal spikes in trees intended to shatter loggers’ chain saws on impact.
Tree-spiking causes serious injuries for loggers, with one 23-year-old mill worker in California having his jaw cut in half when his saw exploded upon striking a concealed tree spike, according to the Washington Post.
Perhaps the farthest-reaching example of violence perpetrated in the name of the environment is the Chinese Communist Party’s failed experiment in coercive population control. For decades, China limited couples to one child in the name of resource conservation, later raising the cap to two and then three children. (The CCP is now considering removing all limits by 2025.) Those limits have led to incalculable suffering, including over 100 million sterilizations and over 300 million abortions, many of them forced.
Stone-Manning is guilty of embracing the exact same anti-human strain of environmentalism, advocating for population control in her 1992 graduate thesis that called babies an “environmental hazard.”
Stone-Manning is hardly alone in that view. Former president Barack Obama’s science czar John Holdren once stated that he wants to see a “decline in fertility to well below replacement” in the United States, because “280 million [Americans] in 2040 is likely to be much too many.” As of 2021, there are more than 331 million Americans; census projections estimate there will be 373.5 million Americans by 2040. Naturally, Holdren doesn’t mention what he thinks should happen to the 93 million “excess” Americans.
Biden himself even expressed acceptance of China’s regime of coerced sterilizations and forced abortions. He told a Chinese audience during his tenure as vice president, when the one-child policy was still in full swing, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.” (He later claimed to believe the policy was repugnant — but not enough, apparently, to want to condemn it in the presence of the people who were responsible for it.)
The human-rights abuses that have resulted from China’s family-size limits could be classified as state-sponsored ecoterrorism. Most ecoterrorism occurs on a much smaller scale than that totalitarian nightmare, of course, and is limited to property damage. Protesters affiliated with Greenpeace previously destroyed trials of genetically modified wheat operated by Australia’s national science agency.
“For an organization that claims to be dedicated to the protection of the environment, this is an unconscionable act,” Suzanne Cory, president of the Australian Academy of Sciences, told the science magazine Nature at the time. The wheat had been engineered to increase its nutritional value and to improve the health of those consuming it.
In 2013, Greenpeace protesters destroyed a genetically modified crop of Golden Rice in the Philippines because of alleged health concerns. The rice is modified to prevent Vitamin A deficiency, which causes blindness and malnutrition, and was to be given to impoverished children. Vitamin A deficiency kills 1.15 million children each year, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. A study by Cambridge University estimates that Greenpeace’s delaying of Golden Rice has cost 1,424,000 life-years since 2002 in India alone.
Other Greenpeace activists irreparably damaged the Nazca Lines, a 1,500-year-old World Heritage Site in Peru, for a publicity stunt in 2014. The Peruvian government filed criminal charges against the activists.
“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred,” said Peru’s deputy culture minister Luis Jaime Castillo.
Environmental stewardship may be a laudable goal. But when extremists try to use it to justify terrorism, destruction, and a blatant disregard for human welfare, a line has been crossed. And the people crossing that line are sadly not just attention-seeking petty criminals like the tire-slashing Climate Liberation Front. Such radical views have found a home in prominent environmental organizations — and they may even find one in the Biden White House.