The destruction, or the threat of destruction, of the environment in order to intimidate or coerce governments. The term has also been applied to crimes committed against companies or government agencies in order to prevent or interfere with activities allegedly harmful to the environment. Ecoterrorism includes threats to contaminate water supplies or to destroy or disable energy utilities, for example, and practices such as the deployment of anthrax. Another form of ecoterrorism, often referred to as environmental warfare, consists of the deliberate and illegal destruction, exploitation, or modification of the environment as a strategy of war or in times of armed conflict. Examples include the U.S. military's use of the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and the destruction of Kuwaiti oil wells by retreating Iraqi military forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The activities of some environmental activists also have been described as ecoterrorism. These activities include criminal trespass on the property of logging companies and other firms and obstruction of their operations through sabotage as well as the environmentally harmless modification of natural resources in order to make them unsuitable for commercial use (a practice known as “monkeywrenching”).


ecoterrorism or ecological terrorism or environmental terrorism

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on ecoterrorism, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up ecoterrorism? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.