Environmental terrorism is an unlawful action or set of actions leading to short or long-term harm/destruction of environmental resources and property to deprive others of its use.  The term also refers to the unnecessary destruction of the environment for personal gain.
There are academic and semantic difficulties in defining “terrorism” and specifically “environmental terrorism.” But discussions of environmental terrorism are growing, with a focus on identifying possible risks to natural resources or environmental features. Some, including in the military  argue that attacks on natural resources can now cause more deaths, property damage, political chaos, and other adverse effects than in previous years.
Chalecki distinguishes between environmental terrorism and eco-terrorism. She notes that environmental terrorism can be defined “as the unlawful use of force against in situ environmental resources so as to deprive populations of their benefit(s) and/or destroy other property". In contrast, eco-terrorism is the destruction of property in the interest of saving the environment from human encroachment and destruction. More concisely, environmental terrorism involves targeting natural resources. Eco-terrorism involves targeting the built environment such as roads, buildings and trucks, in defense of natural resources. Other analysts may fail to distinguish between these different threats.
The term eco-terrorism has been used in the media to refer to environmental terrorism. Usually however eco-terrorism refers to violence done to persons or property in the name of the environment or environmental causes.
- Alpas, Hami (2011). Environmental Security and Ecoterrorism. Springer. p. 16. ISBN 9789400712379.
- Chalecki, Elizabeth (September 2001). "A New Vigilance: Identifying and Reducing the Risks of Environmental Terrorism" (PDF). Pacific Institute.
- Butts, K.H.; Turner, C. W.; Jasparr, C. (September 2003). "Environmental Security Cooperation". Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
- San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2001, page A10
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- Schwartz, D.M. 1998. “Environmental Terrorism: Analyzing the Concept” Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1998, pp. 483-496.